For the love of Cinque Terre

We are saying goodbye to Venezia today, all 118 of it’s tiny islands divided by canals and connected by bridges. Again we’re sad to leave another gorgeous Italian city.

Despite it being an expensive place (particularly when you can eat as much as we can) it’s a place that is definitely worth the extra dollars. The city of love represents beauty and architecture and mandates couples engross in massive displays of public affection.

The friendly, elegant and quiet atmosphere of our hotel will be missed, especially the typical eighteenth century Venetian style furnishings. It was such a pleasurable stay here.

It’s a walk with our bags back to the San Marco car park. We make our way back with minimal disruption, better navigators today than we were yesterday trying to join the walking tour but hey we wouldn’t have come across the world’s best nougat if we didn’t get lost.

Lucky the hotel concierge gave us a tip that we should only pay 55€ for our car park not 85€. Anton brought this up with the car park attendant and we eventually got a refund, him speaking the language definitely saved us here. If you ever leave your car at one of the Venice car parks, be careful not to get ripped off.

Time to get comfortable in the car for the drive ahead to the Cinque Terre, the portion of the Italian Riviera that is World Heritage Listed. Cars are not permitted beyond the village of Monterosso, the first of the five villages and the one we are staying at. Really looking forward to the slow pace and a bit of relaxation by the beach – good weather will be a bonus too.

Driving through many more tolls along the way, the Italians aren’t going to let us get off lightly in this regard. We eventually got off the motorway and hit the extremely narrow roads that travel town the mountains into the village of Monterosso. Reminds me somewhat of my dad’s village – Kampos in Cyprus, barely enough room to fit a motorbike, let alone two way traffic.

A wrong turn almost ended in disaster as we nearly slid down the side of this mountain.

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Lucky there was a gardener to give us directions as the GPS decided to have a mind of her own. We parked our car by the beach in the paid car park; this is where it will stay until we move on for Pisa.

It’s not possible to drive cars through the villages, the old and the new town of Monterosso are only a short walk apart and no space for tourist vehicles, just the couple of taxis the town has and the little mini trucks (aka L’Ape) the Italian men drive around. Gee these trucks are seriously cute, I just want to pick one up and put it in my pocket – would fit too.

We checked in at Albergo Degli Amici hotel, middle range and very conveniently located – it was ok for a last minute booking. Decided to take a walk around the old town. It’s very small and it’s rugged beauty is beyond imagineable.

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Monterosso is the fifth and the largest of the five so you can imagine how little the other towns are, given I thought this one was tiny. The Cinque Terre, like many small villages, is heavily reliant on tourism to keep it going.

We head for dinner close by the hotel, it’s very cheap here compared to Venice, just 55€ for a huge meal – inclusive of wine, pasta, pizza, salad and limoncello creme and natural – Can’t even explain how delicious the Limoncello is here, authenticity at it’s finest!! To top it off we had a home made dessert – Nutella cake!!

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There is an old pide French bulldog that just hung in the laneways greeting anyone that would give her attention. You can imagine, I almost ate her for dinner. Chubby old thing she is.

The elections are on for the local Mayor today; votes are minimal compared to the election results we would see in Melbourne. The election after party is on and the screams of celebration come from the town hall. It appears as though the whole village is at the party – all 300 of them.

We do a lap of the old town, which took no time at all and made our way back to the hotel. Our plans are to check out the first village of the Cinque Terre tomorrow, Riomargiore… x

Anna Owens is the founder of ownsit! A mama working in Community Development and Partnerships Education. Anna is a colour crazy, creativity enthusiast who loves to design, collect shoes, eat & travel.. x

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