Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Cinque Terre, Italy- Exploring the Five Lands

For a few years now, I have been wanting to plan a road trip through Italy as it always appeared as a magical place with some of the best views, food, and culture in the world. But life has been in the way including raising our sweet daughter Emi. The past 2 years, while we have traveled loads with her, most of the trips were "easy" and kid friendly. We finally got the courage to drag her along with us on a 8 night road trip of Italy. Christian, Emi, Elmo and I left way before the sun came up at 6am from Edinburgh heading to Milan. Now that Emi is 2 she had her own seat! She has flown more than 30 times in her short life, but always on my lap. I have to say her having her own allocated seat was what dreams are made of! It was a quick 2 1/2 hour flight from Edinburgh to Milan where we picked up our rental car and headed to our first destination- Cinque Terre, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.




Emi decided half way through the flight she wanted to sleep on the floor and had enough of her seat. 

It was about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Milan to our stop in Vernazza, with the last 30 minutes consisting of winding rural one lane roads up and down the mountain range. Once we arrived it felt like the long day of traveling was so worth it as Vernazza is one of the coolest places I have visited. 

We literally dropped our bags at the flat and headed out to explore the little village.  

 We were so lucky with the weather as we were told by a few Italian friends that the middle of October can be pretty cold. Overall the weather was sunny and hot for 75% of our trip!


 We even caught a beautiful sunset from the harbor near our flat. 
 Once the sun set, we knew it was time to get some grub. We headed to a little place around the corner from our flat and feasted on seafood pasta! It was a great way to start our culinary adventure of the country. 


After dinner we all were so exhausted as we were up at 4am so had an early one. The next morning we were up early which was great as we had a lot planned on our agenda. Within the region of Cinque Terre lies 5 villages which are accessible from a train line. So we set out to visit one of the more famous ones first thing as we wanted to avoid crowds. 

After about a 15-20 minute train ride we arrived in Riomaggiore. Emi absolutely loved all of the train travel we did on the trip and it made for very easy logistics getting around.  


 We arrived in the city around 9am and it was virtually empty. We just let Emi wander the streets and explore at her own pace. As the villages are built into the side of mountains, it means lots of steps. Emi took them like a champ!  




The higher we climbed the more impressive the views as you can see from the pictures. 


  No matter what direction you looked, if back into the village or out into the sea, you were not disappointed. 



   

After about an hour of marching to her own beat, it was time to put Emi in my baby carrier. It came in handy during the trip as we were not sure if we should use our stroller or carrier. We brought both but for this part of the trip the carrier was the right way to go. 



 Later we strolled down to the harbor where we captured some of the most scenic pictures of the village.  



 With a 2 year old, our day is currently split into 2 halves- morning session /nap and then afternoon session. So after exploring all morning we took Emi back for her snooze and then packed up for an afternoon at the beach. The weather was too good not to take advantage of so we headed for the village of Monterosso. It was again about a 10 minute ride on the train and dropped us off beachfront. 


 Emi absolutely loves the beach. She ran around and enjoyed playing at the shoreline.



 We even went for a quick dip in the Mediterranean. 
  


It was great to just relax and recharge from the hectic day of traveling before. After the beach we got cleaned up and headed for the 4th and final village on our stop, Manarola. This was my favorite of the ones we visited. 


 We arrived just as the sun was setting which made for spectacular photos. We also learned about the "blue hour" which occurs after the sun goes down and allows the light to reflect off the water to make for great pics. 












Overall we loved our 2 nights in Cinque Terre. On reflection, and due to the fact the weather was so great, we wished we had 1 more night to enjoy the place. We have much to come on our adventure, and my next post will feature our time in Pisa and Tuscany! 
Until next time, I'll see you on the internet. 

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