Last night we decided that we loooooved Siena. So much so that we decided to try and squeeze a few extra hours out of the city. Instead of taking the 9 o’clock train out, we decided to sleep in a little, get some (free) breakfast from our B&B, and catch a later train to our next destination. (Just incase anyone is looking for a decent B&B inside Siena, we stayed at the Palazzo Bruchi – which I would recommend.)
We had a ten to fifteen-ish minute walk to the bus stop, and it probably took us about that long to figure out the Siena bus system, and to discover that “Ferrovia” and “Stazione” both mean train station. After a quick bus trip we were at the train station, and on our way to Monterosso. Todays travel seemed a little intimidating at first, since until this point we hadn’t had to change trains at a station that wasn’t the end of the line. But, in the end it wasn’t too hard to figure out – even if I did run back to check the schedule 5 times at every stop – just incase the printed schedule magically changed since the last time I had checked it….
The whole trip was about 3 hours and 45 minutes, so it was a long travel day, but surprisingly it didn’t seem too bad. We passed by Pisa, but we didn’t get out to check it out. Not that we wouldn’t want to see it, but we have had some pretty packed days, and were on a fairly tight time schedule since we opted to take the later train. We arrived in Monterosso, part of the Cinque Terre, around 3:00 and found our way to our room by about 3:30.
Another quick lesson: The Cinque Terre is made up of five towns along the Italian Riveara. Literally, it means “the five lands”. There is a local train that connects all of the towns, and hiking trails that you can take also. It is also apparently a huge American and German tourist draw. I think that I have heard more American accents here than in any other place we have been so far – and less smoking. As an aside – ALL ITALIANS SMOKE. It is unbelievable. We ran into a group of four older folks, 2 from Bama, 2 from Georgia – who told us that they knew we were American because we weren’t smoking while waiting for the train.
Anyway, we made the trip up to our room. And when I say up, I mean UP. I think we had to climb about 100 stairs, with all of our bags in tow. But, when we finally made it to the top, we were treated to a pretty awesome view.
After getting settled in, we headed out to check out the town, and picked up a few things to take with us on our hike tomorrow. I also continued my Italian-domestic-animal-safari. Taking pictures of random cats and dogs has become my side project while on vacation. This leg was pretty easy to complete – there are cats EVERYWHERE. As I type this, there is actually a one-eyed cat on our terrace, meowing, and trying to make friends with Jason while he is hanging our laundry to dry. He is actually pretty cute, despite his one-eyedness. He is trying to make a break for the open terrace door, not Jason – the one eyed cat. Although neither of us wants to risk petting him – I bet he is scrappy.
Despite the moving around (travel days are always a bit crazy), today was pretty relaxed compared to our previous maniac pace. To me it feels a little weird to slow down so much – but it is a welcome change of pace.
Tomorrow, we hike!