As nobody probably noticed, we missed one day. This was not a coincidence, we did it quite intentionally. Yesterday, or according to the watch, 2 days ago, we didn’t do any touristy stuff and instead focused on family and friends, and what better way than food to do it. The day started with a very big breakfast consisting of half a square meter of Tiramisu’ left from the previous days. Then we went to an amazing fish restaurant on Corso Trieste and had a sort of family lunch with multiple starters (something like 10) a risotto and a dessert, with some Sorbetto and Limoncello. After the lunch we took care of the few shopping we had to do and then waited until our friends Fede and Ila met with us to go to another as good but completely different place to have dinner: ‘da Bobbo‘ in Albano. Here they serve pasta in pizza dishes so we took just a starter to share and a Carbonara that was probably something like 300grams of pasta. The quality was very good and the price very low, a very nice combination for those who want to taste the real roman kitchen and don’t have a fortune to spend. After the dinner we knew we had to get ready for tonight (now yesterday) and so we just headed back home…
We woke up the day after in a rush, because we were late to go meeting Ila first and then Fede for our trip. After a fast breakfast and after having packed, we went taking the car and discovered a long scratch made with a key along all the right side, which surprised and pissed both of us, but didn’t slow us down much. After having loaded our friends we pointed the navigator to La Spezia, where our apartment from AirBnB was waiting for us. It took us something like 4h30 to reach there, while we listened to music from Spotify (premium) 🙂 . Once we arrived near the apartment, we had to first fight with the ticket machine for the parking and then to find something to eat. In La Spezia apparently most of the restaurants close around 14.30, and we got admitted by chance in a pizzeria downstairs the apartment, that was basically going to close as soon as we finished. The pizza was not great, as we said ‘pizza for abroad’, nothing really special and considered that is supposed to be a ‘Naple-inspired’ place, it had nothing to do with Naples pizza. At least it was cheap and we got some directions from the owner to where to park, so after the lunch we took again the car and parked it where we have left it for the night also. We walked to the station and took the first of 4 trains for 4 euro each. Apparently independently from where you want to go or the distance, the train has a fixed price, even if sometimes the ride is 2 minutes. At this point we didn’t know this yet, and we took a ticket for Riomaggiore, the first of the Cinque Terre. The small points where the train doesn’t pass in a gallery in the mountain and you can see the sea, the view is very very nice, probably even nicer from what you can see from the city itself. In fact, despite the picturesque city, the main attraction, the panoramic road that should link all the Cinque Terre together was closed. This was not a matter of bad luck, apparently this road is not maintained anymore and the same happened in all the other cities we have been. Maybe this is to encourage the use of these 4 euros trains, maybe it is hard to maintain those paths, but in the end, we have all been quite disappointed to notice that the only place from which we could capture the view of these cities arising just from the sea was always unaccessible. After some stairs and a short walk in Riomaggiore we took the train for something like 40 seconds to Manarola, the second of the Cinque Terre, where we also found the path closed from some point and so Ira, Fede and Ila decided to swim in what looks like a very popular place despite there is absolutely no beach and just some rocks to access the sea. At this point, with still a bit of disappointment we decided to head to the last of the Cinque Terre, Monterosso, to find a place to eat. Arrived here we found the biggest city and also some real beaches with also the possibility to rent umbrella etc.. We started hurrying up in the alleys of this small city because apparently the restaurant at night close at 22 (just unbelievable for Italy) or maximum at 23. We wanted a dish of fried Calamari so we went around looking for a place that didn’t look complete tourist trap and offered also the fried Calamari. We decided to enter in one place, but this had the kitchen closed from 21(!) and so we entered in another, called Piccolo Diavolo. We had our slightly overpriced fried Calamari, nice but nothing you would expect being 100m from the sea, and paid our bill while trying to figure out how much the table near us, of 20 and more people will pay for their dinner. We had limited possibility for the train on the way back, and we decided to simply take the 22.20 one, so we headed to the station to do the tickets. Apparently 20 minutes are not enough to make few tickets, because there is only 1 machine working and a lot of queue for it, and this one also works so slowly that it takes something like 3 or 4 minutes to have one ticket. After some swearings, we managed to jump on the train that luckily was few minutes late, and we headed back home where we started writing this diary, without the strength to finish it so we just fell asleep.
The general impression of the Cinque Terre is that the place is nice, but has become or maybe it has always been so greedy, that is completely focused on squeezing money from people, mostly tourists, than actually preserving the beauty they have. The fact that the walking link between the city is unavailable in 3 of the 5 cities we tried, and probably in all of them, is unacceptable from a touristic perspective, since if you want to visit the city and admire the landscapes, that is the best way to do it and it has nothing to do compared with taking a train that takes you from city to city. This is a very big pity because it feels like a lot of the potential that this land has to offer is buried under the economic interest of building services just for tourists who mostly go there just to have some sea holiday.
With a bit of bitter taste and a slight disappointment, we will leave Italy today with direction France, Antibes, where we will meet Ira’s friends 🙂
I hope we will see again tomorrow from France and we wish you a good day!