Day 3 saw us waking up BEFORE the crack of dawn to catch our train from Florence to La Spezia. We had a stop in Pisa, but sadly, we couldn't see the tower from the train station. Ah well. From La Spezia we took a tiny local train full of beach-goers to Monterosso al Mare, the Cinque Terre town with the most extensive sand beach (which really isn't saying anything). I didn't quite realize just how tiny the Cinque Terre towns are! You walk for 15 minutes, and you see the whole thing.
For our lodging in Cinque Terre, we went to the local internet cafe and told the owner of the establishment that we wanted an apartment for 3 nights. He called up the landlords (this old couple), the wife gave him the keys by dropping them out of her 2nd story window, and then her husband, who spent all day every day sitting on the same bench underneath the same tree, hobbled over to the apartment to let us in. This entire transaction made me feel like I had gone back in time. How cool to be in a place where all the residents know each other and call to each other on the street! Our apartment was perfect - kitchen with lemon trees right outside (Cinque Terre is known for its lemons), a bedroom that looked over a tiny, historic church, and no internet.
Lemon trees and the lemons Spencer picked (was it legal? we have no idea):
Party in the church's courtyard happening right outside our bedroom window. Sadly, they didn't save us any food.
Our first day was spent exploring Monterosso al Mare and, of course, going to the beach.
New Monterosso al Mare! (We stayed in Old Monterosso al Mare.) Can you believe that water? So stinkin' blue! Turns out all beaches with umbrellas are "private" and cost money; any beach without an umbrella meant it was free. Guess which beach we went to.
Our first full day in Cinque Terre was spent hiking among the villages. Only two of the trails were open, so we didn't hit up the southernmost two villages.
Old Monterosso al Mare - you can see the start of the hiking trail winding around.
From Monterosso we hiked to Vernazza, which is considered to be the most picturesque of the five towns.
Taking a break on the pier was not the worst place to eat a fresh focaccia (another thing Cinque Terre is known for) sandwich for lunch.
From Vernazza, we went to Corgnilia, the only town to not have direct access to the sea...because it's on the top of a cliff!
In Corniglia, we had a lemon granita, which is cold and yummy and absolutely perfect when you are hot, sweaty, and 15 weeks pregnant.
Obviously I was super excited about the granita.
From Corniglia, we hiked back to Vernazza, and then from Vernazza to Monterosso, I insisted that we take the train because again, 15 weeks pregnant and I had been hiking for like 6 hours at that point. At least we got one more sweet photo of Vernazza:
Our last day in Cinque Terre was spent chilling at the (free) beach, reading, and napping.
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