Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Adventures In Italy - Day 7

Stop 16 - Riomaggiore: The previous night, Cooley had an ear infection so he was up every half an hour to an hour. Despite our exhaustion, we ventured out to roam the town of Riomaggiore. The weather was overcast so we spent our time wandering along the seaside cliffs letting the kids climb on the rocks and watch the waves crash into the shore.

Stop 17 - Vernazza: Next we jumped on the train to see the town small town of Vernazza. We spent our time eating gelato as we roamed the colorful streets. The town had a small sandy beach where we let the kids play in the sand and throw rocks into the water.

Stop 18 - Monterosso: After Vernazza, we traveled on the train to the town of Monterosso. Monterosso is known for its large beach lining the coast. We unpacked on the beach and let the kids play in the sand. The water was choppy and would splash high into the air when the waves his some large rocks on the beach. Maeli and I went down to the water and enjoyed getting soaked by a few of the large waves. After the beach we walked over to a small playground on the boardwalk. While there, we ran into the local missionaries while on their p-day. They stopped and talked for a while and told us about some of their favorite places and things they've experienced Italy. We let the kids run wild and ended up staying at the playground for several hours. Once the kids were tired, we headed back to Riomaggiore for some pizza and gelato before bed. 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Adventures In Italy - Day 6

Stop 14 - Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre: The next morning we got up early and drove to the town of Riomaggiore. We knew ahead of time that they don't allow cars in the city center but had no idea that the parking lot would be full and that there would be cars lined up on the hill waiting to find a spot to park. Luckily, we told the parking lot attendant that we have 3 young kids and he took pity on us and allowed us to park in the garage. After lugging our suitcases and kids down a steep hill and up hundreds of stairs, we settled in to our not-so-clean apartment for the next two days. 

Stop 15 - Guvano Beach, Corniglia: After getting settled, we ventured out to the town to begin our exploration of Cinque Terre. The weather was overcast but since our time was short in the area, we decided that we would still try to hit up the hidden beach we had read about online. After a quick train ride to the town of Corniglia, we asked a few locals for directions to the "secret" Guvano beach. After receiving vague instructions and having no luck finding it, we finally asked a local bartender who gave us more specific directions in the little bit of English that he knew. Getting to the beach involved taking a short walking path to the side yard of a home, going down a flight of stairs, along a row of homes, cutting back behind the homes, and then walking a 1/2 a mile through a pitch black abandoned train tunnel. After exiting the tunnel, we still had to walk another 1/2 a mile along a cliff, through another small tunnel, and then hike down the cliff side to the beach. Before entering the long train tunnel, we ran into a local who told us to make sure we had flashlights. After entering the tunnel and realizing that we couldn't do it without flashlights, I ran back to the local mans house (who spoke no English) and asked him if we could borrow a light. He understood what I was asking and gave us a couple flashlights for the trek. He told us to just use one at a time so that if one of them ran out we would still have a backup to light the way.

When we finally arrived at the beach the conditions were less than ideal. We hiked most of the way down the cliff to the water but decided to turn back after realizing the danger of the combination of rain, a high tide, and huge waves. We sat on the cliff for a bit watching the waves crash into the shore before turning back and starting our trek home. Once we returned through the tunnel, we stopped at the local mans house to return his flashlights. He was super friendly and offered the kids some gelato for our walk back. We accepted his request and the kids skipped home happily with their ice cream in hand. Once again, our experience with a local Italian left a huge impression on us and became one of the highlights of our trip.  


Monday, August 25, 2014

Adventures In Italy - Day 5

Stop 11 - Milan Cathedral: After exploring Lake Como the day before, we got up in the morning and drove to the city of Milan. We visited the Milan cathedral and let the kids run free chasing pigeons in Piazza del Duomo in front of the cathedral. 

Stop 12 - Trolley ride: After the cathedral we jumped on the trolley and the kids enjoyed their first trolley ride. The kids thought it was fun getting to stand up and hold onto the pole while the trolley would stop and go. After the trolley we checked into our hotel and let the kids play in a park nearby. 

Stop 13 - Bosco Verticale: After the park we ran over to check out the Bosco Verticale building - a building that has over 1,000 plants growing on it. We finished our day off with our favorite meal in Italy which was pizza at the restaurant "Pizza 40" in downtown Milan.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Adventures in Italy - Day 4

Stop 7 - Bellagio, Lake Como: We started the day off walking through the alleys of Bellagio to find some breakfast. The town was beautiful with long alleys leading up the hill. 

Stop 8 - Lenno, Lake Como: After breakfast we took the ferry across the lake to the town of Lenno where they have a small sandy beach. We let the kids play for a while and Maeli and Ryan took a quick dip in the super cold water. (Maeli was not too happy about the temperature.) While they jumped in, the boys and I sat up above and watched for fish in the water. 

Stop 9 - Agregno, Lake Como: When the kids were done at the beach, we boarded the ferry once again and headed to Agregno to ride the cable car up to the town of Pigra. The cable car ride was short and pretty cramped but once we were at the top we had fun exploring the crazy streets of the tiny village. The town of Pigra was really one of the coolest things we saw on our trip with old water fountains and small tunnels scattered throughout the town.  

Stop 10 - Como, Lake Como: After the cable car ride we found out that the next ferry back to Bellagio wasn't until later so we decided to take an earlier ferry over to Como. Upon our arrival into Como we had just enough time to grab a quick bite to eat before we had to jump back on the ferry to return to Bellagio. 

Once we arrived back in Bellagio we got some gelato and let the kids ride some small carnival rides they had on the lakefront. It was dreamy getting to just hang out by the lake with the lights from the rides lighting the sidewalks along the water. It really was the perfect way to end the day. 


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