Italy

Cinque Terre – Here We Come!

Getting from Alberobello to Cinque Terre literally took almost a day but both places definitely worth the effort getting there. We took the early train at 6 am from Alberobello back to Bari Center (the train ride was much easier as there are only two directions and the last stop was Bari Center – can’t miss that).

Alberobello train station early in the morning – the sun just raised!

Our train tickets:

The train was nearly empty!

We arrived Bari Center and waited for the airport bus outside of the station…the next bus was another 30 minutes away! Our flight from Bari to Genoa via Rome was at 12:10 pm so we had plenty of time making to the airport…we got there before 10 am. Check in counters of course not open yet so we bought a croissant at the airport cafe and sat there. Strangely, Bari airport does not have any sitting benches outside the gates! We were supposed to land at Genoa at 3:25 PM but as expected flight delay; we didn’t get there until 4 PM! Genoa airport….another interesting point….there were signs outside the airport with the taxi cost to the railroad stations (we were heading to Brignole Railway Station) at private taxi rate and shared taxi rate. But when we walked over to ask the taxi driver, his rate was a lot higher! I said but the sign said xx Euros per person (I forgot to take a pic of the sign), his response was “that sign was old”. We hated to get “ripped off” so we decided to wait for the next bus! Another interesting point (well in a bad way, I am not sure if I should called it interesting), the ticket machine only accepts coins…..the bill feeder was broken!!! Each person cost 6 euros, two of us total 12 euros….I dig my purse almost inside out and luckily we just got enough coins!!! People behind us were all digging their bags and some people unfortunately did not have coins..no idea what they do. The bus driver came out and opened the bus doors, the baggage compartment under the bus got full quickly! Some couldn’t fit so they had to wait for the next bus. Seriously, I think they should operate more frequent buses as it was clearly not enough capacity to fulfill the needs! The ride to Genoa Brignole Railway Station was great – we saw many unique architectures along the way, Genoa is a beautiful city, now we wished we could stay a night or two in Genoa!

Some of the buildings we saw on the bus taken with my iPhone….my camera was hard to take out with my packed purse!

A pink water fountain!

The station:

Once we walked into the station, I looked for an automated ticket machine to purchase our train tickets to Manarola, Cinque Terre….it required a change in La Spezia and cost only 26 euros for two of us. We finally made it to Manarola at around 7:30 pm…..after more than 13 hours of travel!

At Manarola railroad station, we followed the crowd and walked through a long tunnel to the town…we weren’t sure of the direction and asked friendly Italians who pointed us to the right direction…very precise too: turn left, up and then down the stairs, straight down heading to the harbor, first sign Marina Piccola on the right is the hotel, second sign is the restaurant. Rolling my luggage up the steep “hill” and then down was quite a challenge for me…it was a lot of hard work keeping my luggage from rolling down, it was that steep! Check in was fast and easy and our room was located at the very top floor – no escalator! The check in person, a friendly old man, helped carry my luggage while hubby carrying his…all the way up to I think it was the 6th floor! Our room – OMG it was very modern and comfortable!

Our sea view studio…the half stairs up to the closest and the fridge is inside that brown cabinet.

Our comfortable bed!

Our living room with a sofa bed so our room could accommodate up to 4 people!

Spacious and clean bathroom..I miss the spacious bathroom!

 

Sea view from our room….the building blocking the full view is the hotel restaurant:

View of the town from our balcony:

We were so hungry…we walked to the hotel restaurant (we didn’t realized that hotel guess receive 10% off the bill by showing the room key until after the meal sigh). It was packed but we were so lucky to have a table without waiting!

We placed the order and while waiting for the food, I walked up the way next to the restaurant (on the right side from the picture above) to check it out…not the best because of the cable but still spectacular….I couldn’t believe my eyes – this is Manarola – Cinque Terre!!!

Then, I walked down and took the left side road of the restaurant….ahhh this is THE SPOT!

The sun setting turned Manarola into golden color woah! It was so pretty, I heard a Cantonese lady said to her boyfriend: “it is so romantic, if someone propose to me, I’ll immediately accept the proposal!” but her boyfriend didn’t take any action…missed the chance 😛

I ran back to the restaurant…yay food!

Steamed mussels as starter – it was not perfectly cooked – around 20% were overcooked (my hubby is really picky when it comes to steamed mussels haha)!

My mussel spaghetti…it was delicious!

Hubby ordered a seafood soup, it was really good! We heard that seafood in Cinque Terre is the best in Italy – yes, we believed that!

Our main – grilled shrimps….my favorite Mediterranean shrimps!

They are huge….see compared to my head? LOL

Our meal was great and cost 60 euros, not too bad for a seafood meal!

We walked back to our room, just across the street, but 6 flights of stairs…to get our tripod and headed out again for the blue hour!

It was a very easy walk to the prime spot! There were many photographers and tripods set up already, we got a spot! The postcard perfect view…..beautiful Manarola!

Continued to the path, it is a cafe up there with great view of sunset (already set):

The light area over there is Monterosso I think 🙂

Back to the prime spot for more photos!

The town atmosphere was lively at night!

We walked up to the steep “hill” to have the view of the town:

Before we headed back to our hotel, we got gelato..how can we miss that in Italy?

We discovered a new favorite flavor – melon…so refreshing! The gelato cafe across the street from our hotel was very good and very reasonable price – it was like 1.2 euros for 1 scope and only 2.7 euros for 3 scopes! We went back to our lovely studio and enjoyed the gelato!

My first impression of Cinque Terre – beautiful, colorful, and definitely need to stay over night there because after all the day trippers left, the town is very home-local and relaxing feel! It was very safe to stroll around the streets at night, very friendly locals hanging out to chit-chat and enjoy the day. No rush, no need to catch the train, just whenever we feel like walking here and there! Can’t wait to explore more of the charming towns!

16 thoughts on “Cinque Terre – Here We Come!

  1. Most definitely agree on the seafood. Hopefully you both had annopportunity to try a pesto dish while there. My and I enjoyed nights the best. Locals always made us feel like we belonged.

    1. We are really not fans of pesto so didn’t try but every dish we had were good if not great in Cinque Terre! Yes, we enjoyed the nights the best too after all the day trippers are gone, we felt like we lived there in the villages 🙂

      1. LOL! Your husband looks Chinese that why I thought maybe you are half Chinese. My friend and I were wondering the same thing (We are both Chinese). I asked her to read your blog because of you have great posts on Spain and we are both planning trips there later this year (separately though).

  2. Hi – thanks for the report. We are visiting Cinque T coming Easter, but haven’t decided whether to stay in CT or Florence and make a day trip there. You made me think that perhaps we should spend a night or two at CT instead! Where is your hotel? We will be at Italy for 5d/4n. Our flights arrive at Florence at 1pm, is it easy to get to CT by train? thanks

    1. Definitely stay at least a night in CT, it’ll be too rush to see all 5 villages in one day plus you’ll miss the peaceful and beautiful side of it at night! I highly recommend Hotel Marina Piccola in Manarola, it’s very clean, modern, comfortable, and easy to find in Manarola. I booked via booking.com: http://www.booking.com/hotel/it/marina-piccola.html?label=gen173nr-15CAEoggJCAlhYSDNiBW5vcmVmcgV1c19tYYgBAZgBMbgBBMgBBNgBA-gBAfgBAg;sid=0fb89efc567e9864d44e0fa67e8d1bc6;dcid=4;dist=0;group_adults=2;room1=A%2CA;sb_price_type=total;srfid=9d1143fb382cd8d56bb9a858cc8a80c78af62bf6X1;type=total;ucfs=1&

      You need to book the room early, Easter will be busy! If you can’t find any then try in Vernazza, my favorite village of the 5.

      You can search the train from Florence to Manarola here: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en, search from Firenze S. M. Novella to Manarola, the schedule for April might not be publish yet but you can search earlier months to give you an idea. I searched a date on Nov. it takes about 3 hours to get there with a change in La Spezia Centrale.

      1. many thanks! 🙂 you gave me a lot of useful ideas! I just checked on the hotel you suggested, it has been sold out (or maybe it is just too early to book?!!!) so I’ll have to find somewhere instead. 🙁
        I hope you don’t mind me coming back if I have a question or two! 🙂
        thanks again and have a nice week.

        1. When are you going? I booked almost one year before, keep checking people might cancel but make sure you have something else booked as backup plan. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have now or later 🙂

          1. Oh I see. We are going for the Easter break 2016, then off to another city (possibly Florence or Milan). I’m looking at others as it does look it’s getting full now!

  3. oh meant to ask – you mentioned in your TA report that you bought a weekly pass, did you say it covers boat trips as well? i.e. trains between villages and boat rides? thanks 🙂

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