Saturday, June 21, 2014

April 3, 2014–Venice to Verona to LaSpezia to Riomaggiore

Lizzie wrote the Travelpod on this day. Anything from the blog will be in italics. Any new comments will be in regular text.

Hi there.  Lizzie here again! Today was another fabulously busy day in Italy. I woke up at 6:30 naturally. Doug snoozed for a bit while I packed up all my stuff and got ready. I was ready to go by 7 am so we headed out for our last walk in Venice. IMG_4948

We walked down the Grand Canal and climbed to the top of a bridge and watched the vaparattos, delivery boats and all others floating along. We enjoyed the moment and then headed back to the hotel for breakfast at 7:30 am.

Side Note – Venice only has 4 bridges that cross the Grand Canal. As of last night, we had crossed all four.  Not sure why I was excited about that, but I was. Yay us.
Once we finished our breakfast, we hauled all our stuff downstairs, said goodbye to Francescia and her two dogs, and headed to the car rental shop. Doug had rented a 4 door Fiat and as we walked up we noticed a red Fiat parked in the lot. I hoped it was ours – the red is awesome. 
(Side Note: Hauling luggage around Venice is the pits. Pack as light as you can. )

Once we received the car keys we were told the red Fiat was indeed ours. We took our luggage to the car and piled it in. Sadly, the rental car company did not have a GPS for us to rent, so we bought a map and hoped for the best. Actually, Doug had printed a few route maps so we had those, a country map and our phones for guidance.

Doug hopped in the drivers seat (it is a stick so Doug will be driving and I will be the navigator) and off we went. Our next destination was Verona and it was about 2 hours away. We did not make one wrong turn on our way to Verona. We arrived in Verona and found an underground parking lot that looked like a colorful rave club with florescent lights.


We parked our little Fiat and headed above ground to see what Verona had in store for us. We started at the Roman Arena and pulled out our Rick Steves Italy book to follow his walking tour.


The tour led us from the Roman Areana and the Piaza Bra to the Porta Vorsari (an outer gate of the Roman civilization,


 a side stop at a bakery for snacks where Doug got the Italian Easter Traditional bread, IMG_0617


Devotional Column, Juliet’s house, IMG_0620

Piazza Erbe, IMG_0619

Piazza dei Signori (which is where the Letters to Juliet office lives), IMG_0639

Tombs of the Scaligeri Family (the Verona power family),


and the Church of Saint Anastasia.  IMG_0660IMG_0656

The Roman Arena was quite impressive and I was excited to see Juliet’s house even though I know it is not really her house.  I took the ridiculous traditional photo that is proclaimed to give you luck in love. Doug said he was already lucky enough, but I figured you can never have too much. 

Traditional ridiculous photo:


(Gay, Courts, and QP – note the thousands of locks on the grate over my right shoulder. The tradition of “locking love” is all over Europe)

See behind me Juliet’s balcony and house…(all not really where she lived).


We meandered near the river for a bit (trying to find a specific gelato stand) and finally headed back into the heart of Verona. IMG_0678


After doing Rick’s tour, I was on a mission to find a curling iron so we hunted and hunted….and hunted. It was a said fail, but I will survive.  After we gave up on the curling iron hunt, we headed back to the car and left Verona.

We headed to La Spezia. As it was a 3 hour drive, I took a short 30 minute nap, but was there the rest of the way to help Doug find the city and then parking lot. IMG_0689It took us about 3 hours to get there and we went through serious mountains. A lot of the drive was in and out of tunnels – some long and some short. I think Doug enjoyed driving/giving me stress. :)

-Road construction here is handled very crazy. Wait till I upload a particular video or two on the blog. You will see. Here are said videos:

Italy Construction Video 1

Getting back on the right side of the road.

Watching these videos now it seems MUCH less dangerous. In the car, it was way more intense.

We finally arrived in La Spezia, found the car park and then started to haul our luggage toward the train station. Note again – hauling luggage sucks. We arrived at the train station, fought with the kiosk for tickets, and hopped on a train.

Doug said it was the right train, I was unsure – in the end he was right. When the train finally got moving, we hopped off on the first stop- Riomaggiore (which only took 9 minutes) and were greeted by Margarita (the young lady we rented the apartment from). 

Riomaggiore is one of the 5 cities that makes up “Cinque Terre”. Margarita met us at the train station and brought us to our apartment for the next 3 nights. The apartment was actually where her grandparents lived their entire lives. She told us about her 87 year old grandfather who smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, climbed 96 stairs to his house each day and lived it up. If you could see this apartment you would be impressed that an 87 year old man could handle these steps and intense city. Hell, you should be impressed I can do it, much less him…but I digress.

We settled in the room and enjoyed the view on the balcony…



This was the view from our balcony straight down to the “street” – more like an alley.IMG_0696

Our apartment is split between 3 levels and about 96 stairs. There are two bedrooms each on their own floor and the top floor is a kitchen and terrace that overlooks the ocean and city. It is beautiful and crazy that people live like this. The stairs everywhere are treacherous and the city is built on a 45 degree slope. Seriously intense.  Margarita told us there are 1500 people who live in this city and 1000 of  them are over the age of 60. They must all be in seriously good shape.


We settled in a bit and hit the town for food. There are a few restaurants in the area and we chose one near our apartment. Doug ordered the anchovies for his appetizer and fish soup for dinner. I ordered pesto pasta with potatoes and a cheese plate. The anchovies and pesto pasta were FABULOUS. The Fish Soup was terrifying. I am glad we did not take a photo of it because I might have nightmares and I don’t want to subject you to that kind of torture.IMG_0702After dinner we walked a bit in the city and headed back to the apartmentFrom there we finished settling in and I am now blogging. Doug is snoozing and we are overall awesome. I hope everyone is doing awesome.

Other Side Notes:
-Fitbit updates – so far I have not had a day under 15,000 steps.
-I enjoyed Venice much more than I thought I would. It is such a unique city.
-Doug is awesome. Duh.
-We have no Wifi in this apartment so there will be very little communication over the next few days. No facebook for me.
-The movie “Letters to Juliet” is so full of bull. None of the scenes from the movie look like real Verona. Some are similar, but I feel mislead.
-I still NEED a curling iron.

Love and Hugs, Lizzie

Lizzie Fitbit: 14,488
Doug Fitbit: 15,266

1 comment:

  1. I hope our Paris lock somehow stays on that bridge forever.