Today, Carly and I braved the Italian transit system yet again in an attempt to get from Florence to Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is a grouping of 5 coastal Italian cities. We got round trip tickets for 28 euro, which isn’t horrible. While in the bus station, I met a student athlete from the University of Alabama. Of course after she walks off, I realize I’m wearing my “Beat Bama” shirt. Carly and I laughed for a while about that “coincidence”. We took about a 3 hour train to Riomaggiore. It was gorgeous. We explored the streets for a while and then continued on to Monterosso, the northern most city. From Monterosso we trekked to Vernazza, the next city over. It was extremely hot and there were lots of stairs, but the views were breathtakingly gorgeous. It was the most fulfilling hike I have ever completed. We spend about 1 hour and 45 mins on the trail, but spent about 30+ mins simply stopping to enjoy the views and take pictures. Once in Vernazza, we finally found our first Italian water fountain, and I felt like we had discovered the fountain of youth. Water is a precious and scarce commodity here. I also had the most AMAZING pesto pizza from a street vendor. Side note: the stores in Cinque Terre only take cash. Carly and I definitely did not come prepared for this issue, and the ATM refused to give us cash (for unknown reasons) so we ended up pooling our change and buying gelato for “dinner” until we could find a place that accepted debit/credit cards (which ended up being McDonalds….).
Once we finally got dinner, we were waiting for our train back to Florence, and I noticed a few people running towards a train. Turns out it was the train to Florence that Carly and I were supposed to be taking. We took off in a dead sprint and probably one minute after we boarded the train, it started rolling, beginning the nightly transit struggle in Italy. After 3+ hours on a train back to Florence, we realize neither of us have cash to buy bus tickets back to the apartment. Carly attempts to buy a granola bar and get cash back, which the Italians do not allow apparently. I stood in line at McDonalds for 10 mins trying to do the same thing. All the ATMs are “closed” or turned off or just simply MIA. There’s this weird door with an ATM behind it, but you have to insert your credit card to open the door. Carly finally sneaks in behind a guy, because our cards wouldn’t unlock the door, and is finally allowed to use an ATM after over 30 plus mins trying to get 2 euros for a bus pass home.
Long story short, today was one of the most amazing days of my life, and not even the Italian transportation system can get us down! I’ll let the pictures and views speak for themselves.