Cinque Terre – The Start of a Journey through Northern Italy

June 27, 2015

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore

First impressions

Cinque Terre is one of those places that I’ve heard about for years and has long been on my list of places to visit, that is, when I got around to it. For our spin through northern Italy it seemed like the perfect starting point – a few lazy days in the quaint towns that line the rugged coast of Italy’s version of the Riviera. A well-trodden path and frequent train and bus service connect the towns.

Getting to Cinque Terre

Getting to any one of the five towns is relatively easy by train. Even at the height of tourist season we did not have difficulty picking up last minute tickets at the train station in Genova.

Be prepared for the unexpected

When traveling in Italy it helps to be flexible in your attitude and your ability to change your plans. During the trip from Nice to Genova a rock slide stopped my train at a small town about an hour and half  by intercity train outside of  Genova. The train conductor told us of the situation in broken English and Italian, explaining  that there would be a substitute bus (to where I’m still not quite sure), but they were not quite sure when it would arrive either. “One hour, two hours, four hours, no problem,” the conductor kept repeating.

The few taxis at the small train station had been snatched up by quick thinking passengers with deep pockets. It was rumored that the trip to Genova was 200 Euro.

A second agent explained in slow Italian that there was a local bus that departed from the town square, about a five minute walk from the train station. I headed in the direction he pointed and found the bus, meeting up again with some other passengers from the same train. Two local buses, a three-block-sprint across a small town and a slow train later we arrive in Genova three hours late.

While not the ideal travel experience, I met some great people along the way, reminding me once again that travel is not about the destination, but the journey.

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