We docked this morning in La Spezia, Italy and most of the passengers were headed to Florence or Pisa but we hoped to tackle the Cinque Terre if the weather was nice. We woke up to a wonderful sunny day so off we went. The Cinque Terre is a set of 5 picturesque Italian towns perched on the coastline. You've probably seen pictures of them, they are especiallly popular on jigsaw puzzles.

We exited the ship and walked a good ways to the train station up through the town (like 5,000 steps lol.). We bought a ticket that was good for rides to all the towns plus use of the restrooms in the train stations and use of any shuttle buses in any of the towns. The restroom thing was a big deal as once again unless you sat to eat in a restaurant basically there were no bathrooms.

We decided heading all the way out to the farthest town might be a little ambitious since we had to be back at the ship at a certain time so we rode out to what I'll call town 4-Vernazza. We rode into the town and then walked down to check out the views of the water, the little shops and even a small market. It was very crowded with tourists, but also very beautiful. We could see where people sometimes hike between the towns of the Cinque Terre (sometimes 2-3 hours of hiking between towns, and some of the route were impassable due to landslides.). It was steep terrain.

We found a staircase that lead up to what looked like a little tower or castle so we started climbing, and climbing and climbing. We got to the top and there was an entrance fee. Ha ha ha. We went ahead and paid and went in to take additional pictures. It was fairly hot with little breeze considering we were right on the coast. So we climbed back down into the town and then uphill back to the train station. One town down.

We then took the train to the next town in, Cornigila (pronounced Cornilia.). We got off the train and we could see the town but it was WAY up high. We heard someone say it was 378 steps up to get there-yikes! Luckily we pulled out a trust guidebook and heard there was a shuttle bus-yeah!! So we rode on a little bus into town (the lanes were single and if you met another vehicle they had to back up.). The bus dropped us off and we explored this town. Once again just a picturesque little place perched on the side of a big hill overlooking to ocean. Most of the towns had similar walks, stores, restaurants and you could tell were almost totally tourist based. We made our way through town and back to the shuttle and back to the train. Next stop was Manarola, probably the prettiest one of them all. We could walk from the train station through a long tunnel. This stop probably had to most people as some were doing the towns from farthest to closest like us and some from closest to farthest but since this was almost the middle it was like everyone met there.

We were pretty tired and it was 2:30 so we stopped at a regular sit down restaurant for lunch. (Where we paid 6 Euro each for two big bottles of water-roll eyes) and had some bread with olive oil. I had steamed mussels, dad had a pizza and mom had a really nice sea bass dish (she scoffed a bit at the price but I mean how often do you get to each fresh bass caught that morning in a town on the Italian Coast?-plus we already spent 12 Euro on water so??)

We enjoyed sitting down in the shade (and the use of the restroom) before deciding that we really didn't think we could explore this town and also get to the next one without possibly missing the ship. So we explored the rest of Manarola, which had a wonderful walkway for amazing photo ops and then made our way back through the long tunnel to the train, back into La Spezia, 5,000 steps back from the train to the ship and then we pretty much just collapsed. It was a Disney walking kind of a day. 22,000 steps.

Back on the ship we all washed up, I had some cocktails and we had a fun and nice dinner together in the main dining room. Our waiter and assistant waiter seem great and we always have fun joking and messsing around at diner each night. I stayed up way too late in the casino and then on the way back to the room I rolled my ankle (I almost never wear heels so I'm guessing that was the culprit) and went down hard stabbing up my knee on the carpet. I took a walk of shame back to the room and went to bed.

Next Up-Nice and Monte Carlo