Cinque Terre

Our last morning in Florence. We got up to have our morning breakfast, with Jayne and I looking forward to our coffee and Silas to his cold milk. He says his milk is like coffee for us.

We got our things together and went downstairs to check out and put our bags in their storage closet. Check out was at 10:30 and our train wasn’t until 1:53. We decided that as we would be sitting for quite a while on the train that we ought to walk while we could. One of the fun things that Silas likes to do is guess the amount of steps and miles we’ve done every day. Usually quite a lot. So off we went taking turns suggesting which way to go. We ended up by the river, crossing the same bridge as yesterday but coming back over a third one. We like walking through the smaller almost alley like roads as there are fewer people and some interesting shops.

Eventually we made our way to the large San Lorenzo Mercato as Silas said he was getting hungry for lunch. We opted to go up to the second floor, which our guide, Marco, had suggested. Much better! The lower level is full of food market stalls but the second floor has restaurants of every kind. As we were scouting out the place Silas spotted the Nutz sign and began giggling. He informed me (As had my daughter) that was the proper Meme way of spelling it. Who knew? I was thrilled to find a vegan / vegetarian spot where I got the best lunch. Silas was happy to find fried chicken and fries.

After that it was time to head back to the hotel to fetch our bags. Along the way Silas declared that we needed our daily gelato fix. My gelato endeavor is to have a different flavor every day. Today’s was coffee crunch. Yum! But the best thing was Silas’ comment along the way telling me “Grandma, this trip was the best idea you ever had!” How wonderful is that?

We picked up our bags and made our way through the throngs of people to the train station. We knew that Auntie Gulgun had flown in to Florence and was making her way to the station to meet us. Fortunately that happened easily.

It was a much easier access to the trains than in Rome. No scanning of the tickets. This time we only has standard tickets so no pre assigned seats. However, as the train was at the platform early we were able to board, get bags stowed and seats together . We were traveling on a regional train, which meant multiple stops for 2 1/2 hours, with us finally debarking in La Spezia then shifting to another train for a ten minute jaunt to Manarola, the second of the Cinque Terre towns.

We were met by Guilia, a representative of the company from whom I rented an apartment. She guided us from the station up a crazy steep path, as we dragged our suitcases along. Finally we came to a charming apartment where she filled us in on the area, the local buses and trains included in our stay and many other tidbits.

We were happy to find a complimentary bottle of wine greeting us, which of course we made use of while oohing and aahing over the view. It’s extraordinary! When I was planning this trip and asked everyone what the one thing they wanted to be sure to do, coming to Cinque Terre was mine.

After the wine we headed out and up the steep hillside to a restaurant that Jayne thought looked promising. We got there and found there was a bit of a wait, but luckily there were no shows, so in we went. And what a meal! Not only was it delicious but we had a ringside view of the sunset.

We walked all the way down to the harbor afterwards in search of gelato for Gulgun, as having gelato every day was her one thing. As we were so close to the water’s edge Silas stated he wanted to put his feet in. It was cold but he did so.

By then we were all exhausted, especially Gulgun who had just flown in overnight. Somehow we found our way back up multiple staircases to the apartment. Time to sleep!

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