We said goodbye to Rome this morning and headed to the train station where we experienced the language barrier in full form! Our lack of experience with European train travel certainly didn't help. After two long queues, we miraculously made our train for La Spezia.
The cutest older Sicilian couple (from Palermo) were in our compartment. That sweet old gentleman was a talker! And he didn't seem to care that we couldn't understand a lick of what he was saying. It made for a great train ride nonetheless.
We arrived in La Spezia after a scenic view of coastal Italy, only to discover a local train strike. Again the language barrier reared its ugly head. All local trains were canceled, but an express train to Milan was due in 10 minutes from our arrival. We hopped on, with no confirmation or specific ticket, and prayed it would work. The first stop was Monterosso - hooray!
After a very long walk lugging all our bags from the train station, up a long hill and through a tunnel, we discovered our quaint little hotel overlooking the Ligurian Sea (Mediterranean) in the heart of old town.
This afternoon and evening were spent exploring this wonderful seaside village. This region is known for its lemons and pesto; in fact, Rick Steves claims that pesto was invented here. So it was only fitting that, for dinner, we have steamed mussels with fresh lemon and pasta with pesto - delizioso!
Tomorrow we strap on our hiking shoes and begin our walk of the famous Cinque Terre trails that link the five towns. Wish us luck! Ciao!