13.04.2016 - 13.04.2016
Wednesday April 13th, today is my last full day in Lucca and before I got here I booked a trip through viator.com to go to Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is a national park made up of five villages, most people know these villages by the look of them but not by name. These are some of the rainbow colored villages on the cliffs on the coast of Italy. Most people have seen post cards of these Villages, at some point. Before I start telling you about my day let me just tell you it's gorgeous and if you have a chance to go you should.
The tour offers hotel pickup but because I was staying at a house and not a hotel I declined, therefore the default place for your private driver to pick you up from is in front of the tourist information center in Lucca. I rode the bike along the wall and the visitor center is right there next to one of the walls gates, making it super easy to find. My private driver took me to a gas station Cafe out on the highway so it would be easier for the big bus to just pull in and pick me up and keep going.
Once I was on the bus I started talking to the couple who sat behind me they said that the rest of the people on the bus started off in Florence except one couple that they stopped to get somewhere between Florence and me. On our drive up to the Cinqua Terre area our driver gave us a bunch of information on the area. We passed the marble mines on the side of the mountains where White marble has been mined for hundreds of years and still is. In fact that area is where the marble used to make the famous statue of David came from.
Our first stop was the second of the five villages called Manarolo. The bus dropped us off and we walked down the hillside. We had about half an hour to spend here and then we all took the train up to Village number four Vernazza.
In Vernazza we had again about 30 maybe 45 minutes before we were to meet at the end of the dock so as to take the ferry from here to Village number five Monterosso.
Monterosso is the biggest and most famous of the five villages so we had two or so hours to spend here. During that time those who had paid for lunch went to get lunch first then had a free limoncino tasting. The rest of us had the Limoncino tasting first and then we could get lunch, walk around, shop, or go to the beach, or do anything else we wanted. All throughout the day I kept talking to the couple who sits on the bus behind me, G & M, on the ferry from Vernazza to Monterosso the husband asked me where I was from. I told him I'm from California. He told me that they are also from California, but that I probably don't know where Vacaville is. This is hilarious because Vacaville is exactly where I am from. Although we consider it a small town, we have a hundred thousand people and yes we consider that a small town in California, I have never met someone from Vacaville traveling around America let alone all the way in Italy. Yet here's this couple who works and lives in the same town I do who I have never met before, all they way over her in Italy on a tour of 40 people with me. It is occasionally an extremely small world that we live in. We had lunch together, and went shopping, and kept talking about how small the world is and what a coincidence that we ran into each other so far from home. It turns out that M actually works with two of my friends back home!
When time was up we all got back on the train and took it all the way down to village number one Riomaggiore. Here we had about 30 minutes to see the village and do any last shopping we wanted to do it. This is one of the smaller villages so 30 minutes was enough time. However M and myself had seen a couple things back in Monterosso that we wanted to buy but didn't want to carry around, then ran out of time to go back and buy. That means we were on a mission to find those items here before we had to get back on the train. We found everything we were looking for and still had time to stop and grab a soda and take some photos before we had to meet at the train station to leave.
From here we all took the train 2 stops out of the city where we met the bus Which took us back to our designated pick-up/drop-off spots. My driver was waiting at the same gas station that he dropped me off at to pick me up and took me back to the tourist information center. I got back on my bike and rode it the opposite way around the wall to get back to the house, because as I've mentioned before Lucca's just such a pretty city I wanted the extra time riding up on the wall to look at everything before going inside for the night.