On the road again. A train along the western coast of Italy. Following the water north past Siena, Florence, and even Pisa, until the beautiful five cities or Cinque Terre.
This was a sudden trip, planned about 5 hours before the train...I had no hostel and no plans, just an idea. But thats the wonderful part of Italy, things like this can work for a weekend or more. I packed a bag and popped the ipod in, put on some andrea bocelli and looked out the window onto the countryside of Italy as it sped by. I always feel more comfortable on the move, going somewhere, doing something. I feel more accomplished, and more relaxed. Anyhow, after 5 hours traveling north we pulled into the city of La Spezia where we found a bus to take us to a little city out of La Spezia called Biassa. Biassa was nestled on top of a beautiful hill overlooking the ocean. It was incredibly high and my ears popped everytime going up or down. We arrived at the hostel and I asked if there was room for me...he said no. Although it was not the answer I wanted, I didnt panic, but tried to look around for another hostel...nope, not in this town of 300 people. The guy then stopped me and said he could fit me into the hostel. I was very grateful and...hungry. I wasnt the only one hungry, the others in my group were as well! So, stanging outside in the little town in the sun on top of a hill we pondered at where to eat...everything seemed closed. Suddenly we see a kid biking down the street right in front of us and seeing this as the only opportunity for help I shouted, "Ciao ragazzo, scusa!!" He screeched to a stop and I asked where we could get some grub. He then spoke in the coolest accent I have heard in Italy. I was so fascinated I didnt even know what he said, but evidently he was goign to come back after getting us a reservation somewhere...I took this as, "ya, im not coming back because you guys are odd...". I was wrong though, because 10 minutes later he runs up the hill with a skateboard now and shouts to us to follow him. We do and he asks the usual questions...where are we from, what are we doing etc. I tell him and he tells me I have a southern italian accent, haha, I tell him I live in Rome and he then understands why. Anyway so Davide brings us to this awesome restaurant and then says goodbye after we thank him.
After lunch, we start walking to Cinque Terre...this took us way longer than anticipated and by the time we arrived at the first city it was already 5 o'clock. On the bright side though, it was an absolutely gorgeous day. The first city held breathtaking views of the water and coastline of the Italian Riviera. The cool blue water lapped upon the jutting rocks. The sound was so calming and rythmic. Looking back on the towns as we passed from one to the other we beheld the magnificent colors of the buildings in the bright sun, and the vibrant fishing boats in the water bobbing up and down following the orders of the sea. The temperature was perfection and everything was working out.
Arriving at our last city for the day we watched the sun set between two cliffs filled with tiny squat italian houses. Then, we ate seafood with the local wine overlooking the coast. Now after dinner we left for the hostel in Biassa which was about an hour away. By the time we got there it was 10 at night. On the way to the door I hear my name, "Hey Biaggio!", I turned around and it was Davide! Him and a bunch of friends were just roaming around and they asked us if we wanted to join. The girls of the group said absolutely because they saw the guys all had motocicleta helmets with them. So after some wandering of this town about 5 feet wide by 10 feet the girls asked me to ask them if they could ride a moped. The italians eagerly obliged and one said in italian, "wait here while I go get the bigger one". 10 minutes later we hear a growl of an engine as this crotchrocket bike races down the hill. He asks the girls which one wants to go first and he gives them a helmet and dashes away. After them he turns to me and asks if I've ever ridden and I said no. He then gives me the helmet and says hop on and hold tight. I get on the bike only to be brought speeding away down the hill at breakneck speed! We arrive at a tunnel about a mile and a half long, he shouts back for me to duck and hold on, then he races through the tunnel at about 150-160 km/hr!!! It was AWESOME! I couldnt believe how fun it was! We got back to the group and hung out for a little more until we had to get back to the hostel. What an experience! At times like these, I appreciate so much that I can speka the language, because so many more things can happen! I love being able to participate in a culture so entirely!
We woke up the next morning bright and early so we could get a head start on the hiking. It was a good idea because the weather was suppose to fall through in the afternoon. We took the train to the last city and began our hike backwards to the rest. Yet, the hike from the 5th to the 4th was a major one. It reminded me of boy scouts. I loved it. The rest of the group did not however and there was a lot of "come on, only a little more, you can do it". Then, one of the girls said, "god, how could this get any worse..." I laughed...because it started raining. We continued on however, and made it to the fourth city for a lunch break. It was my favorite city because it looked like Venice. The food was great and the view as well. The italian riviera is phenomenal.
It was at this point that we decided to head back to home...Rome. BUT, since there was a layover in Pisa I told everyone we HAD to go see the tower. So, in 40 minutes we got a taxi sped over to the tower, looked at it, took pictures, held it up, got a cafe, sat ont he lawn in the sun, and went back to the station...basically you can do Pisa in 40 minutes. No but really, Pisa was a very beatiful city and had great architecture along the river. I was super stoked we stopped there though and can now check it off my list!!! The train the brought us home and we sat down after visiting 10 cities in 48 hours. Rome, Civitavecchia(layover), La Spezia, Biassa, Cinque Terre(5), and Pisa. Wow.
I have to say that the first chance I get, I will go back to the italian riviera and stay for a bit more in better weather. But for now, there are other parts of Europe that need exploring! Ciao!