I know, I know…it’s been a long time. And I have absolutely no excuses, I’m just lazy! I apologize for leaving you hanging! I still have the rest of our honeymoon and my vendor reviews for you so I promise I will try to be better about blogging!!
Anywho, after we spent the day in Rome, we headed to Pisa by way of Cinque Terre. We had to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And yes, I took that picture and made Mr. P do the same!!
I also had the best cappuccino of my life here!! I don’t remember the name of the place, but if you are walking from the train station, you can’t miss it. It’s a little pricey, but it was well worth it!
It was so exciting to be in Italy and to actually be going to the Leaning Tower. I’ve dreamed of visiting such a place and I couldn’t believe I was finally there. I still look at pictures and think “wow…I was there!” That’s really the only thing we did in Pisa…then we finished our journey to Cinque Terre!!
If you aren’t familiar with The Cinque Terre, pick up a book. This place is absolutely beautiful!! The Cinque Terre, “the five lands” is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park. Over centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible “modern” development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach it from the outside. We only saw a handful of cars actually…since the town is so small, most people walk or ride bikes.
When we arrived, it was around 80 degrees out and Mr. P and I had our 50 pound bags (not fun). If you are familiar with Cinque Terre, you’re familiar with all of the steps and hills in the towns. We stayed in Monterosso…known as the beach town. It took my breath away…literally. Our hotel, Hotel Villa Steno, was at the top of a hill…a very steep hill! By the time we made it to the top, we were drenched in sweat!! Why didn’t we take a cab you ask? Well, because there weren’t any in sight (see my note about no cars) and it’s only about a 10 to 15 minute walk to reach the other side of town, where our hotel was.
After we settled, we called our family and I started posting pictures of our trip on my Facebook page. I know, I”m addicted but I wanted our family and friends to be able to see where we were. Then we roamed around the town, picked up or Cinque Terre cards for hiking and the train, and had some gelato!
The Cinque Terre card allows you to hike the trails. There are also other options that allow you to ride the ferry and the train, unlimited for however many days your purchase it for. There are many different options, but we chose the 2 day train card. The weather was nice so far, so we wanted to spend as much time outside as we could. And throw in a beach day too.
Unfortunately, the next two days rained…I was so bummed!! We were able to do part of the hike, but not the whole thing! We bought umbrellas and visited each town, and let me tell you, Cinque Terre has the most amazing pesto I’ve ever tasted in my life! We bought some so we could take it home. Oh, and their limoncello is supposedly great too. I’m not a fan but I brought a bottle home for my mom and she LOVED it! Anchovies are also a known specialty of the region and focaccia is a particularly common locally baked bread product. The focaccia pizza there was to die for! The seafood in Italy is delicious too. I had seafood for my first four dinners!! Sea bass three times, and I tried mussels for the first time…and I loved them! Writing about it is making my mouth salivate! It’s tough to find good seafood in Chicago.
About Hotel Villa Steno…it’s a great hotel to stay at. We received the Rick Steves’ Italy book for Christmas, and he recommended this hotel. It isn’t on the beach, but it only takes a few minutes to get there. It’s very clean and the owners are so nice. The only thing I didn’t like was that only CNN and BBC came in on our TV. Not that I needed to be watching TV on my honeymoon, but when it’s raining there’s only so much you can do. You also get a continental breakfast and with the Rick Steves’ book, we got a little bit of a discount. The breakfast was pretty simple…Italians don’t do breakfast like Americans do. I mostly had nutella and toast, a cappuccino and sometimes eggs. Or I’d switch it up and have a pastry instead of my toast and nutella…but that was rare. I love me some nutella!! And as I stated earlier, our dinners and lunches were delicious and the ingredients were so fresh.
My favorite town was Monterosso. Maybe because that’s where we stayed and we became familiar with it, but it is the largest of the villages. I do wish we could’ve taken a ferry to Vernazza and eaten dinner there. But with the choppy sea, the ferry’s weren’t running. Plus there were so many restaurants in Monterosso, we decided to explore the crap out of it!
Our honeymoon was off to a great start…I couldn’t wait to make are next stop in Tuscany!
Here are some of my favorite pictures we took in Cinque Terre…these are mainly in Vernazza and Monterosso…