The five lands

Trip Start Sep 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 19, 2008

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Flag of Italy  , Italian Riviera,
Saturday, September 20, 2008

We went back to the Pisa train station this morning to book our tickets to La Spezia to get a connecting train to Cinque Terre. We again found the Eurail ticket office closed even though we were there during the so called office hours. We managed to finally book some tickets at another ticket office in the station, only for our train to be delayed by 40 mins. In the end we made it to Cinque Terre via La Spezia.

Cinque Terre is a group of five terraced villages cut into the cliff face along the Ligurian coastline (north west Italy). The villages are small and totally unique, although they are quite overrun by tourists. We started with the southern most village (closest to La Spezia) - Riomaggiore. Then walked along the beautiful coastline high up in the cliff face towards Manarola - about a 20 miinute walk. You can actually walk between all of the villages, however the next three are spread quite far apart and you would need at least a good three days to explore all of them probably. As we were only there for a few hours, we decided to have a good look around Manarola only. There was a lot of up and down walking through the village and we were lucky that the weather was calm and sunny. I would not want to walk between the villages on a wild wet and windy day!

While we were in Manarola, we popped into a souvenir shop which was owned by an Australian woman and her Italian husband. Naturally, as we were from down under we struck up a conversation with them. We said to the Aussie woman that it must be nice working in Cinque Terre and she pointed out that like anywhere work is still work, and as she has lived here (in a village not far from Cinque Terre) for quite some time this sort of life was normality for her. The Italian husband was familiar with NZ (including Rangiora!) as he had been on holiday there many years ago and said that he once dated a Kiwi news journalist.

We wish we had more time to explore the other villages, hopefully one day we can go back to Cinque Terre if it hasn't been completely taken over by tourists.

In our train compartment going from La Spezia back to Pisa, was an Italian football referee. Andrew noticed because he saw on the Italian man's sports bag the words "Federazione d'Italiano Calcio Arbitri" which means Italian Football Referees Association. Andrew was very excited by this and immediately struck up a conversation with the Italian in bits of broken Italian and English. I sat there not understanding a thing (I usually don't anyway even when Andrew is talking football in English!), just quietly observing the good looking Italian!
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