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Cinque Terre

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.

Posted by Bonnie7825 04:05 Archived in Italy Tagged italy traveling au_pair travel_europe_cheap Comments (0)

Getting to Milano

Part 1 of my whirlwind week traveling Northern Italy!

Part of the time that I was away from this blog I was busy speeding around as much of Northern Italy, seeing as much as I possibly could! I asked my family for one week off so that I could see more of Italy then just Torino. They said of course being proud Italians I need to see more Italy. I was given the week of April 11th through the 15th off to go see whatever I wanted. Well I spent at least two weeks before that planning what to see, where to go, and how to see as much as possible while trying to not blow through ALL of my savings. Traveling is cheaper here then it is in America but it still cost money and I'm not making much, but thankfully did think to save some money before I left home so as to have a little money specifically for traveling while here.
Anyways I managed to see a LOT in those nine days! Because I saw so much and did so much I am going to break it all down by day.

Saturday April 9th I left the house at the ungodly hour of 5:20 am so I could catch the 5:30 am bus out of Rivalta. Thankfully getting out of Rivalta is the easy part. There is literally only one bus that comes here to take to Torino. Bus #43 is your only choice. Once I got to the parking lot where normally I would hop onto the #4 tram and zip on into Torino proper. This time I needed to find the Flixbus location and for that I had to take bus #91 for half an hour and then walk about six blocks. It was fairly easy. (Flixbus.com also has an app for Iphone & Androids. If traveling in Europe I highly recommend them. The buses are clean, some have wifi, the ones I was on had outlets to charge your phone, yes you can eat on them, and they are bright green so easy to find.) I was catching the 7am bus to Milano! While on the bus they said use their wifi and app to book your next trip and save big. I had my travels all booked except how to go from Lucca back to Torino so I got onto the wifi and looked to see how much it would cost. Most trips for 2-7hours where ranging €7-€15, I had in fact paid €7.50 for that bus ticket from Torino to Milano. There was one bus at 1:30pm leaving Lucca for Torino and it would only cost me €1. I pulled out my debit card and booked the ticket right away because there was NO way I was finding a deal better then that! I was hoping for €7.50 because Megabus, the train, and every other route I'd looked at was €12 or more. I was very happy.
The bus finally arrived in Milano and to my surprise because I have no clue where bus stops are it drops me off at the far outside edge of Milano. Thankfully it's right in front of the last Metro station for the red line. I bought a ticket for the Metro didn't have to worry about which way to take it since this was the end of the line and went into the city proper. I used my Google Maps app which has been a huge life saver while over here to figure out when to get off the metro and how to find my hotel. Once I got off the Metro I had a thirteen minute walk and voila I was at my hotel. The Hotel Cavour is a very nice hotel, if I ever get the chance to stay there again I shall. It had a good location, next to the hop off hop on bus which if you want to see museums and the typical tourist/visitor locations I always find to be useful. Even though it was only 10am I went inside and asked at the desk clerk if I can leave my bag there while I go out to see the city, and then check in later since I know check in is not until 3pm I just do not wish to haul it all around the city with me. The gentleman behind the counter was very nice and helpful and offered to see if a room of the type I'd booked was ready and if so would I like to check in now? Um Yes please that would be wonderful. Sure enough a room was ready and he got me all checked in, gave me the key to room #421, and asked if I wanted a map of the city. I took the map and asked if he happened to know if the hop on hop off bus came anywhere near the hotel and to my luck it stops on that street just a few blocks down! After thanking him for his help I went upstairs with my bag. I left my bag in my room and immediately went back out into the city to start exploring since this was my only day in Milano to actually see Milano.

I continued typing this post for almost three more hours filling in all the things I did. Thanks to a computer glitch the drafts for it all some how did not save and when I hit preview it all disappeared. So for tonight this is what you get. I know it's not much but tomorrow I will redo everything that was lost and get it posted in separate posts for each day I guess in case the site glitches again. Thank you to everyone who read this because I just saw the numbers and I am honestly blown away I really only expected two or three people at most to read this.

Posted by Bonnie7825 11:53 Archived in Italy Tagged italy traveling au_pair travel_europe_cheap Comments (0)

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