Day 12 - Thursday, April 18, 2019 – Take Train to La Spezia, Italy; Explore La Spezia; Continue to Riomaggiore; Lunch in Riomaggiore; Ride Train to Monterosso al Mare
After breakfast at the hotel we backtracked to the Cinque Terre trailhead to look for Vic’s Garmin GPS that disappeared on our trek yesterday. Hence, you might have noticed there was no Google map to track our travels yesterday. The clerk suggested we check in Vernazza to see if anyone turned it in.
On the way to the train station, we walked through the local street market that was held on Thursdays in Monterosso al Mare. Locals were buying fresh flowers, fruits and veggies, cheese, meats, eggs, and even household items.
The market vendors rotate through these small villages of Cinque Terre, as there was limited access to fresh produce for people who actually live in these small communities.
At the Cinque Terre National Park ticket office we purchased a day pass costing 13 Euros each for the five villages on the local train line. Just by chance Gennie asked if anyone had turned in a Garmin and the clerk beside us went behind the counter and pulled up our GPS!
Someone had found it on the trail and took the time to bring it to the Ticket Office. We were ecstatic to have the device back, and even more thrilled to know that someone recognized its value and was honest enough to return it.
We boarded the train and rode all the way to the end of the line to the large city of La Spezia. While riding the train, we could see nothing. The only time we were not in a tunnel was at the individual stations along the route.
The railroad station in La Spezia was huge as is the case in most large cities. Trains were coming and going from all over Europe. We were feeling a bit more comfortable with the schedules, platforms, and who to ask for information.
Exploring La Spezia was interesting and we found ourselves walking to the top of a residential area for a view of the port. The fragrance of the newly blossoming orange trees was delightful.
We climbed to the summit of the city and an overlook of the port at Polo Universitario G. Marconi. We had panoramic views of the city below, the port, and the mountains to the west.
At noon we walked back to the train station and boarded the Cinque Terre line to the small village of Riomaggiore. Another of the jewels on the Ligurian Sea, the village was glued onto a vertical rock formation with brightly colored homes climbing the hillsides.
Getting into the actual town was tricky; we had to walk through a tunnel to arrive at the city center and then walk under another underpass to arrive at the tiny pier. The village was already busy with day-trippers and visitors like us who came in on the ferry or the train.
As it was getting to be 1:00, we took time for a delicious lunch at a seafood take away called, MIXVA. We ordered a Fish Cone, a local specialty. This was a paper cone filled with fried fish and mixed vegetables; it was incredible!
We sat on a bench on the busy street and enjoyed the fried tempura vegetables, calamari, and large fresh anchovies. Yummy - we will definitely look for this meal again during our time in Cinque Terre.
As it was time to return to Monterosso al Mare, we boarded the train in Riomaggiore and were back at the hotel by 3:30. We stopped at the information desk to ask how to take the train to Portofino, as this was another spot on Hillman’s List and a place we have wanted to visit.
Walking back to the hotel we saw many tourists. We spent time catching up on our mail in the lobby where the Internet reception was stronger. Then we finalized our photos and the journal for the day.
At 6:00 we went out for a simple dinner and found a Fish Cone take away right by the train station. After a stroll on the boardwalk we bought a gelato and a few post cards and called it a day.
Accommodations: Margherita Hotel - - - Meal: B, L, D
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The photo of Riomaggiore (spelled right?) is so charming but people have to climb a lot of steps to get home. Glad you got your Garmin GPS back, there are honest folks in the world.
That is the strangest looking town! I can't imagine living there.
I have found what my problem is with not getting the post to work. I was using my iPad or Phone, and it only works with my laptop. I was getting hungry talking about those fish cones - sounds delicious, followed with gelato. How many languages do y'all speak to be able to travel to so many places and get around. The pic of the hillside was very colorful!!!!! What interesting places you have been. I am amazed with all the tunnels!! Stay safe and may God bless
Yes those fish cones sound wonderful as does everything else. You are having quite a trip, things seem to be working out well and you have seen so much.
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All so lovely! What beautiful flowers and the fish cones sound amazing. What a great trip you are having. Love.