Day 3: Continued… The beautiful views of Italy start to transform once you hit, Genoa where you can see these large rectangle like buildings built on the mountainside that eventually takes you to the Italian Rivera coastline known as Cinque Terre. It is composed of 5 villages; Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Since 1926, the Cinque Terre towns have been part of the province of La Spezia. The train takes you right into the heart of Monterosso, allowing you to walk everywhere in the little town. It reminded us of Catalina, Island off the coast of California.
We walked to Hotel Souvenir which is tucked alway on the hillside of these narrow streets to crash for the night.
Day 4: We spent the day relaxing, playing and swimming at the beach. The girls learned how to say, “ciao”, meaning, “hi” and “bye” in Italian. One San Franciscan asked Brooke “what kind of girl she wants to be; an American girl, English girl, or Euro girl (one who travels around Europe on Daddy’s dime picking up all sorts of culture)”. She had no answer. Haha
We wanted to watch the sunset so we decided to try and eat dinner along the boardwalk.
When going out to a restaurant be prepared to pay for extra services they add to your bill. You might see a charge for Coperto and/or Servizio. It can vary from 2-6 euro/pp in Milan and Cinque Terre (It varies in different parts of Italy). Coperto is a charge to cover just to occupy the establishments territory for a bit. It’s not a service charge that goes to the wait staff, there is a separate “servizio” for that, nor the price of bread, water, or any other amenity (in case you think you can avoid the charge by refusing those items), the coperto is simply a different way of pricing menu items. Not all restaurants charge for both but just be prepared before going out to eat. Happy Eating!
Day 5: We took the boat around to the different villages. When we embarked in the village of Manarola we took a steep trailhead towards Corniglia. The only way you can get to Corniglia is on foot however, we did not make it all the way to Corniglia. We just hiked enough to the top of the mountain to overlook the town of Manarola and the water. It was very majestic. If you visit without kids, I would add the hiking trails to the top of your list.
We ran into lots of American tourist in Cinque. It started to become very crowded during the afternoons and you have to make sure you line up 15-20 minutes early to get back on the boat.
We would give Ristorante la Lampara Ciak five stars. Brooke got to see the chefs in their element while waiting for our food. They open the windows to allow airflow while they cook the food. We ordered Gnocchi al Pesto and Spaghetti alla Bolognese with this bold Italian wine. It was fantastic.
Day 6: Last day on the coast. We spent the day back at the beach. Girls loved the Gelato on the beach! Then hit a restaurant that overlooks the water but still tucked back in the cove. This is where I ate mussels and Brian had to order the handmade Gnocchi al Pesto again which was not as good as Ciak but still tasty.
Day 7: Catch the 5:17am train back to Milan so we can fly back to London. Brooke and Dad get to sit in as pilots back to London where we had the scariest landing of all time.