Cinque Terre.


Train views.


A train from Rome to Florence was easy. For our next destination, we had to take two trains. It wasn’t too difficult, we were already getting used to the time change so we were more awake on our train rides. It took us about three hours to get to La Spezia from Florence. We had to transfer trains once. We really wanted to visit the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera, but a stay in any of the towns was very expensive. Instead, we stayed in a cheap hotel in La Spezia, a nearby town.


La Spezia had orange trees on the streets.


Tip: Train rides can be easy or difficult depending on where you’re going and where you’re coming from. Sophia and I aimed for less expensive and for us to be able to make it to check-in times or else we would be charged late fees. Keep in mind your stay situation when deciding which and how many trains you will take.


Man fishing in the Riviera.


After an experience in La Spezia, I recommend staying in the Cinque Terre or staying in another town nearby. It wasn’t awful, but for two young ladies traveling alone and staying in a place that wasn’t as populated as the other places we had visited, it wasn’t too exciting. Their transportation sucks. When we got to the station, we couldn’t figure out when and where we could take the bus to a stop by us. We couldn’t get wifi anywhere. It was a rough first hour. Finally, we managed to catch a bus and got to our hotel. The hotel was located in a not too busy area and just a 20-minute walking distance from the main town. We checked in and I didn’t feel all too safe with leaving our bags in our room, so I used my handy-dandy locks on my luggage. Just a precaution. We decided to walk to town to eat because yet again, we were starving. It was about 5 p.m. and the town was filled with shopping stores and ice cream shops. There weren’t affordable restaurants nearby. We risked a bar that served food for some Pesto, but lo and behold it sucked. Sophia saw them unfreeze our meal. We also had people approach us like we were in the mall. “Hello, sign and say no to drugs!” “Do you want to change your life?” On top of that, we seriously felt like we were transported into the Jersey Shore circa 2011 with a bunch of guidos everywhere. We did end up having good gelato and Sophia met a Cristiano Ronaldo look alike. We got wifi from a cafe, which was great because our hotel didn’t have it. We walked back to our hotel and nighttime La Spezia was very creepy. We realized we wanted to just have a wine night and walked back to the town to get some and the weirdest thing: There was no one in town. Shops were closed and it was 8 p.m. WHAT KIND OF TOWN IS THIS? We were able to get Prosecco and had a good time talking and reminiscing about our adventures that night.

Next day:





Boat rides.


We had a full 9-hour sleep. Talk about being well rested. We managed to catch a boat ride to the Cinque Terre around the afternoon. It was cheaper for a train ride into the towns, but we really wanted some scenic views. After all, we traveled all the way here! Best $25 one-way boat ride I spent. Below are some views.


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“Cinque” is Italian for five. “Terre” is Italian for lands. There were five towns in this part of the Italian Riviera and all were colorful and beautiful. Since we really just had one day, we decided to go big and explore the furthest town, Monterosso al Mare. The boat ride was great! I made sure we sat on the second level to get nice views. It was a hot day, but the boat ride made it feel so cold from the wind. It was worth it though. When we finally got to Monterosso (2 hours later, because of the stops we did), I was in Italian heaven. The whole town was just as I imagined it to be. Colorful and so Italian. Narrow streets were all over and you saw shutters everywhere you looked. Everyone, there was doing something whether it was eating at a restaurant, at the beach, having ice cream, painting outside, etc. We realized that this town was known for their lemons, which by the way were huge! We had some delicious pesto pasta and limoncello.


Transportation Tip: Since this was our first time here and with our weird curfew experience in La Spezia, I suggested to get our train tickets in advance. Once we got off the boat we looked for the train station, got our tickets and made sure we knew where we had to enter to get on the train. We didn’t want to end up on the wrong side of the tracks. Make sure you know where your train station is and that you get your tickets beforehand in case the place you need to get them from closes at a certain time.

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Pesto Pasta
Local markets

We ventured off to the beach for about an hour and a half. Fair warning: it is very rocky. In other words, the sand is basically rocks, so be prepared for some pain. Either way, the beach views were amazing! The water was crystal blue! I was in pure bliss. The Italy of my dreams became a reality.

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We later ventured off to some gelato and small tourist shopping. Afterwards, we went to catch our train back to La Spezia. We had to be careful. There were signs everywhere saying to be aware of pickpocketers. It’s a shame that this still happens but one must be wary of anything. When we got back to the station we again couldn’t find a bus. We tried getting one by a bodega looking shop. It was getting dark and no bus or taxi was in sight. The owner of the shop let us use his phone to figure out a walking map to our place. I guess he realized we looked a little nervous and it was dark. We thanked him and walked through the town back to our place it took us about 30 minutes.  Shout out to the dude that helped us out! We got to our room and rested for another day of traveling.

Some Limencello before we go back
Happy with our day in Monterosso



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