Our last day in Cinque Terre (cue sad face), we are up and packed and down for breakfast with a cranky Italian waiter who Is super pissed at us for coming in for breakfast. I mean, how dare we visit a restaurant and expect service!
Finally our breakfast arrives, a croissant, fruit salad and choc pastry (sticking with my over ordering theme, obvs) and no surprises he had mixed up the orders but I was already on my laptop deep in debrief world from the Celeb Sports Quiz, which is another story entirely.
I finish work, we grab our bags, somehow get them down the three exceptionally steep staircases and drop them at our AirBnB’s husband’s hotel for safe keeping.
We trained to Manarola and it was pretty average (still incredibly breathtaking but visually not stunning or exciting as Riomaggiore or Monterosso…. Until we rounded the corner and found the ocean. Absolutely stunning. We were captivated. We stopped and stared at the ocean for so long. We were able to do part of the walk but the rest to Vernazza was closed off. The ocean is just so clear and blue and turquoise. You can see the fish and there’s the typical fisherman boats everywhere – just like in the pictures.
I love watching the people taking photos and bustling about. There seemed to be an influx of tourists and people were falling over each other. The Asian tourists all create hilarious pictures and funny poses while the Europeans are much more subtle with their photography. Then there’s us!
Notably, there were very few Australians and no Kiwis around. Only a few Americans too. Mainly Europeans and then the big Asian tours.
Having spent a large portion of the afternoon staring at the Oceanside we were ready to hop in ourselves!
We headed to Corniglia but soon realised there were 259 (or something ridiculous) steps to the village and we were all helllll no. Bus was too hard work so we were right back over to Monterosso.
Right by the beach was a restaurant, we waited for a table and got one with the best view. Lucky us! I had been wanting to try anchovies for the whole trip and took my chance. They had been marinated in lemon and weren’t at all what I expected, they were quite delicious! I also had the cured meats plate, two delightful glasses of proseco and a tagliatelle ragu. Gotta keep up the over eating tradition. Remembering of course, every Italian meal is served with bread.
We snuck onto the private beach for a swim but got caught out so it was onto the rocks at the end to ditch our stuff and hop into the clear blue.
Feeling refreshed we trained back to Riomaggoire to grab our luggage then hop back on the train to Milan. We were early and so changed our tickets to get back earlier. Wrong. Bad idea! Should have stuck to the plan. We got to Levante where we were to change… Except all the express trains had left. So our ride went from three hours to five with a change over in Genova and a half hour delay… All up we arrived in Milan two hours late.
Thank god we had bought snacks… In the form of a giant piece of buffalo mozzarella, some strawberries and water. Gotta stay hydrated! I’m so thankful for the Italian’s love of fizzante, or rather, sparkling water. I can’t get enough of the stuff!
So this giant, delicious ball of cheese is served to us in a bag full of fluid to keep it fresh and moist. I happily drain most of it at the station before we leave. Except, I underestimated the amount of liquid the ball held.. And I placed it in a container that had held some very oily artichokes…. So now we have a big wet ball of cheese in a bag covered in oil in a container. Fast forward and we were trying to eat the cheese on the train… Can you imagine the mess we made?! Times that by ten and you’ll have a rough idea. Tasted bloody good though. Sheldon’s brand new pants shall never be the same again.
We took a cab to the hotel even though it was a quick walk, we heard it wasn’t very safe. The hotel itself was amazing! One of the best for communal facilities I have seen. Intimate, cozy and modern spaces (just what you’d expect in the fashion capital) with, wait for it, fashion magazines everywhere. I was most impressed with their business centre which had three plugs for each person in an octagon shape.
It was about 10.30pm when we arrived and we discovered (what we had predicted) that there was an Italian holiday from 14-18th August and hence why everything was shut and Cinque Terre was incredibly packed.
La Gare by Sofitel – highly recommend if you are just stopping over as it is right by Milano Centrale Station. It’s hard to miss with all the beautiful, vibrant multicoloured lit Windows.
I booked for the rooftop which was unfortunately closed due to the holiday. Grrr. Room was stunning though, I have a membership so we were upgraded, given welcome drink tickets and well looked after. I had a beautiful house Italian merlot for my welcome drink, the barman was very generous and explained it was similar to a chianti (my fave) but better – he was right.
We FaceTimed my parents and were in bed about 1am which wasn’t ideal as we had to be up at 6.45am – yuck.