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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My Last 8 Days in Italy

Italy has been quite the experience. Every town that we went to was completely different from the other. Florence for example was lush, vineyards surrounding the area, Tuscany was amazing, and the shopping is every woman's dream; Gucci, Versace, and Prada for example, lined the streets of Florence city centre. I really loved Florence and hope to come back one day.


Florence 

When we arrived in Venice, and it's just like in the movies; gondolas everywhere and the men wearing their hats and striped shirts paddling around in the canal. The architecture was a sight to see as soon as you step foot near the grand canal. Quite remarkable really.

The Grand Canal in Venice


At night, Venice is very pretty and romantic, but what I didn't expect is how fucking creepy Venice is at night!

People, you don't understand how creepy Venice really is. You actually have to be there to experience it. It's haunting. Plus to make my imagination run more wild, I had to read up about Venice and all the creepiness that it's known for. The city is magical in a ghostly way, and didn't help that I thought the townhouse that we rented was haunted....

St. Marks basilica 

Venice had some great food, and I enjoyed walking around seeing the sights. Overall It was pretty amazing.

Our next stop was Monterosso, Cinque Terre! After 3 long train rides, some carriage and ticket confusions, we finally made it! I was so excited to be in the Italian riviera, and Monterosso didn't disappoint me. Of the 5 towns that make up Cinque Terre, Monterosso was the biggest, even though it still had a small town feel. The streets lined up of restaurants overlooking the beaches and the ocean. My favourite place in Italy so far!
We had some amazing dinner in Monterosso, probably the best on my trip so far. We ate at the same place 2 nights in a row because I didn't want to be disappointed with the food(because that happened
 a lot), and I sure wasn't. We went to a restaurant called Da Eradla, which consisted of 7 tables and you need to make a reservation or you won't be getting in. The food is all local and fresh, and made to order. The chef is this woman that is so passionate about her food, and boasted how the recipes where passed on from generation to generation. The waiter is a family friend and they run the place together. Both nights the meals were excellent!

Our 3rd night in Monterosso, we went to a restaurant recommended by the famous Rick Steves, called Mikey's, and it was amazing! Fresh grilled octopus, house made bread, house made everything. It was great. And again, no reservations, good luck getting in.

Monterosso also had a community feel to it. Every night that we were there, something was going on at the local piazza. All the locals hung out and the children ran freely around without a care in the world. It was cool to see, and it made the experience even better.




I won't forget to talk about the famous Cinque Terre hike! This was one of the highlights of our stay, and everyone that comes here should experience the hike. It is pretty challenging with lots of climbs and stairs, so bring lots of water and for goodness sakes, don't wear flip flops or wedge heels. I actually did see that.


We hiked from Monterosso to Vernazza, which took about an hour, and Vernazza was a great place as well. Lots going on with a cool, laid back vibe. We had a beer and some focaccia by the water, toured around and went back on the trail for an hour to the next town called Cornillia. Cornillia was one of the smaller towns, very pretty and quiet. I'm thinking there's not much to do there except chill and have wine overlooking the ocean, which sounds pretty good.

We took a train back to Monterosso because we really didn't feel like hiking back another 2 hours. I think 2 hours of continuous stairs was enough for one day!

I was feeling sad to leave Monterosso, but we made it to the next town, Santa Margherita. Now this was a cool place! Bigger than I expected, it was a great place to be. There is a boardwalk around all the docks, and during the day, it's lined up with local vendors and tourists. We rented beach chairs for a day, which was nice to do because I was feeling pretty burnt out from all the moving and packing and traveling. So I decided to work on my tan. Then last minute we decided to take a boat and go see what the fuss about Portofino was all about. This is a very small town catered to the rich and famous. Lots of celebrities come here, and the restaurants are bloody expensive. When you walk off the boat, there is a Louis Vuitton store right in front of your face. Portofino was very pretty, but too expensive for me. It also seemed like there wasn't much going on, so if you are looking for nightlife, Portofino probably isn't the place.



Our last night in Santa Margherita, our dinner was spectacular. Amazing chianti with grilled salmon and tuna. Lots of fresh protein. Every bodybuilders dream.

Now I am on the train heading to Nice, France. On to the French Riviera for the next 3 days with a language that I can actually understand.



-Angelique Kronebusch

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