Guten Tag! Bonjourno! Bonjour! Choose whichever one you like – I hit all three countries this weekend. October 3rd is a german holiday, so we got Sat-Tuesday off this weekend. A couple weeks ago, my friend Peter asked if I wanted to try and do Cinque Terre and then the French Riviera during this time and, of course, I agreed! This is probably the last opportunity to do anything that involves the sun and warm weather before winter hits Europe – so I was up for anything that involved the Mediterranean and me in a bathing suit.
In a word, this weekend was AMAZING. I know i beat that word down to the ground, but it really was. Lets start from the beginning:
Kristi, Peter, Stephen, and Richard and I left Moore Haus around 22:00 pm (trying to get used to military time) to catch the train to La Spezia, Italy at 23:00. We were too late to reserve a couchette sleeper car – and the only seats left were in these glass boxes that fit 6 people…rauchen (or smoking) allowed. Poor Peter and Richard got stuck hot boxing it all the way (with SEVEN people instead of six) to Italy through the night. Kristi, Stephen and I lucked out sitting with a family of three who didn’t smoke. It was an uncomfortable night sleeping in those upright chairs and in such a small space. Kristi and Stephen ended up sleeping on the floor of the room while i was lying across two of the seats, using a backpack as a pillow. (photo below)
We arrived in the first town of Cinque Terre (Monterroso) in the morning and immediately changed because it was so warm! We were expecting rain so this was definitely a pleasent surprise. Cinque Terre has the small-town beachy charm. There’s a lot of fihsing, lots of boats, lots of tourists, and some pretty tough hikes. We decided to the Via Dell’Amore hike – which follows the Mediterranean Coastline and connects all five towns of Cinque Terre. It was a long and uphill climb (so many stairs!) to the second town, Vernazza…but the hike was worth it. It was definitely my favourite town. Richard and I got ahead of the group and immediately jumped into the clean, blue, clear, warm Mediterranean Sea…HEAVEN. they couldn’t get me out! the rest of the day was spend hiking through the rest of the towns and eating gelato – and then it was time to head on over to France.
our trip over to Nice was kind of rough. leave it to the Italians to have a riot – and to have delayed trains. because our train to nice was delayed…we were scheduled to miss a connecting train. thank goodness the nice italian conductor arranged it for us to get a pre-paid taxi ride from the Italian border to Nice (which ended up being worth 94 euro!). The taxi driver didn’t speak any english but ended up being able to speak italian and french…so i got to practice my french (which was definitely a struggle…but fun!)
Long story short, we got to Nice safely…squeezed five people into a two person hotel room for the first night (thanks to our james bond skills!) and then moved to a hostel right on the beach in Nice. we spend the days on the beach…studying for german…walking the Promenade Anglais…eating crepes…eating gelato…and soaking up the sun for two days! i’m definitely a fan of the french riviera. that’s all i have to say! it’s a bit expensive…but worth it.
Monaco, on the other hand, was way too chere for us – we spent the evening in the casino town and left after a really unsatisfying, yet expensive, dinner, some postcards and some good pictures. it was good to return to nice, where could actually afford the food!