We walked up the hill towards the Casino, and through the tunnel below the Fairmont hotel. My personal passion for fast cars had me in heaven as we saw super car after super car drive through the tunnel trying to make as much noise as possible. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Mazarati. The throaty bellowing of a Lamborghini Mercialago just about made my day. Continue reading
Category Archives: Europe
So back on the Busabout bus we made our way from La Spezia to another country and that meant another language. From Bonjourno to Bonjour, Grazie to Merci, it was just a good thing that most people in both places spoke english. While on the bus we had an impromptu language lesson, the basic terms that would help us along were covered. You would think that I had it nailed. Not so much. Continue reading
The last stop in Italy on my tour was Cinque Terre, La Spezia. As you may have already deduced, Cinque Terre translates to Five Lands. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. Probably best known for its National Park and also being home to one of the best walking trails in the world, the Sentiero Azzurro.
The Sentiero Azzuro connects the five towns. Through Busabout, I booked a room in Riomaggiore, the south most town in Cinque Terre, also the closest of the five to La Spezia. Riomaggiore is, like all of the towns, built on a steep hillside. If you need to go anywhere, be prepared for stairs. Luckily the budget accommodation I was staying in was at the bottom of the hill and close to the access tunnel for the railway and the Sentiero Azzurro.
I look back on my trip there and wish I had spent more time there. The vivid colour and the unique atmosphere really made for an amazing location. It was reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast, well without the road running through its heart.
Of the three sections of the coastal walk, the first section northbound from Riomaggiore is The Lovers Path. It is an easy 30 minute walk along a paved coastal pathway. This is by far the easiest walk you will do. In fact, you may exert more energy going from your accommodation to the walk, yes it’s that easy.
The second section was closed so I caught a train from Manarola to Corniglia. It was from this point on that the walk got serious. I am not going to go into details about the walk but it was equally challenging and rewarding. The views are spectacular. Make sure you have plenty of water and fill up as often as you can.
Sadly in October last year Cinque Terre was all but wiped out by flooding. Torrential rain battered the coast that lead to a terrible disaster. I am thankful that I got to see this beautiful area before it was struck by such tragedy. Telegraph Report by Nick Squires
The good news is that many restaurants and business will be open this coming summer in Vernazza and Monterosso. Perhaps now is a great time to get discounted travel to this absolute gem of a location. I know it will certainly help the local economy and family owned establishments bounce back.
Today was all about going to the Michelangelo Square. This meant crossing the famous Ponte’ Vecchio. Before any of that though, a thorough breakfast would be essential!
I was told by one of the other travelers about a small cafe that did a decent breakfast. overlooking the Piazza Dell’Indepenzia, on the corner of Via 27 Aprile, is Cafe Delixee’. They certainly did a decent bacon and eggs and didn’t mind me swapping the toast for pancakes and maple syrup. Continue reading
The first morning I decided to check out the Statue of David. check out the leather markets and the Statue of David. I was absolutely gob smacked to see so many stalls all selling similar items. Well everything leather at least. The streets were lined as far as the eye could see with leather stalls. Long coats, jackets, vests, pants, underwear, wallets, purses, handbags, man-bags, laptop bags, jewelery boxes, belts, straps and just about everything else your leather imagination will allow you to dream up. Continue reading
Arriving at the Plus Hostel Florence for the first time initially gave me the same feeling I had in Prague. The tall gates that were opened for the bus to drive through was intimidating. The buildings cubist appearance was not exactly welcoming and seeing the Top Deck bus in the lot once we were in made me feel as though this was going to be another ordinary hostel experience. Gladly, I was very mistaken. Continue reading
On the way to Florence, we stopped at a small town in Italy called Orvieto. This quaint town with tight cobble stoned alley ways dates back to the Etruscan era. It’s prominently perched upon a piece of volcanic rock and visitors access the town with via the funicular, a cable train that runs strait up the hill.