Some of the strangest adventures are the ones you don’t really plan out properly and that’s what I truly love about Europe… travel is just so easy that it makes adventuring and exploring so much fun!
After a pretty night out in Florence, filled with pistachio cannoli’s…
Wanderings through the city and across the Ponte Vecchio…
We somehow ended up in a somewhat strange speakeasy hidden away in the heart of Florence…
I must admit I was alittle taken aback by how hidden the place was and by the mysterious hidden bar located inside a closet… but it’s funny how you never know what you will find on your travels.
We started the next morning with a quick sleepy breakfast before heading out towards the Pisa.
Truth is, as much as I prefer doing the off the beaten path exploring, there are some tourist attractions that you just have to visit.
The leaning tower of Pisa is one of them.
The leaning tower of Pisa is the free standing bell tower of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. The tower is well known for its nearly 4 degree lean that came about as a result of poor planning prior to being built.
More exciting that the Tower itself was all the tourists trying to take pictures of themselves holding the tower. Let’s be honest, if you’re in Italy and driving through Pisa, the cliche travel photo is a must have.
From Pisa we headed on out towards Cinque Terre.
If I’m honest… I had no idea what the Cinque Terre was and what I was heading too. All I knew was I driving to La Spezia. One hour and 14 minutes later and there we were… the little coastal town of La Spezia.
Our hotel was located in the city centre and as with all Italian cities, if you dont have a permit you cant drive in the ZLT zone… so we had to find a public parking spot outside of the city and… oh yes… roll our suitcases into the city center.
So there we were.. two cute (and unimpressed) ladies in some coastal Italian town rolling their luggage into the city centre.
Good thing nobody knew us here…
Then we arrived at our hotel… a somewhat interesting experience to say the least.
The thing with some Italian hotels is… they dont have elevators…
So there we were… exhausted from rolling out suitcases into the city centre and now we had to lug them up an enormous staircase.
And then puzzle with a strange lock to open the door…
Oh Cinque Terre… you had better be worth all this trouble.
The inside of our hotel was gorgeous despite the strange sounds we heard from the street below. It was a little (no… alot) scary to say the least.
After a quick refresher, we headed on out to catch the first train out of La Spezia and towards the Cinque Terre!
The Cinque Terre roughly translates to five villages located on the rugged Italian Riveria. The villages are known for their colorful houses, vineyards, fishing boats and of course… pesto!
The Cinque Terre comprise of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore – all of which form part of the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Our first stop: Manarola!
Manarola is built on a high rock situated about 70 meters above sea level and is known for its charming and romantic seaside villages.
We walked along the trails… took in the beautiful ocean views…
And somehow found ourselves at a tiny restaurant somewhere at the top at sunset.
Wine and focaccia it is!
Maybe a little more wine….
After long conversations of how we’ve been, how far we’ve come (literally and figuratively) and all the dreams and goals that have since become a reality since finishing our post graduate studies… we realised that sun had set and a beautiful evening sky had set in.
It was time to find some dinner and after wandering the fairy lit streets alittle more…
It was now time for these two ladies to head back to the hotel for a hot shower and some much needed R&R.