Cinque Terre

Hi all!

After so many months, I’m finally down to the second last recap post of my Europe trip! Cinque Terre, 5 islands,was a highly anticipated segment of our trip. We decided to the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza. In hindsight, it was a good thing we did the hike in this direction as the uphill climb here was slightly easier to handle. Our morning actually started pretty gloomy but it got progressively better as the skies cleared and it became warmer. The view was also super scenic, which made the hike alot more interesting.

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Vineyards along the hiking path.

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There’s actually a “cats home” midway along the hike.

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The loyal companions of a couple. Their dogs were simply too photogenic and adorable!

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One of our first sight of Vernazza. But it actually was pretty misleading cause the island seemed close but actually we still had a good long downhill hike to go before actually setting foot on Vernazza.

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By then, it was close to mid noon, and the town was a lot more lively. Naturally, we couldn’t come to Cinque Terre without having a taste of the anchovies. WHICH! was surprisingly meaty. It’s like biting into a miniature big fish with our its meat and the juices from the lemon. Super delish! It’s quite unlike the anchovies we get back home which are a lot more”bony” and use to prepare soup stock rather than eaten as a snack/meal by itself.

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It was a train ride down to Corniglia, where we hopped onto a shuttle bus to the town (part of the ticket combo we got). It’s a lot smaller compared to Montersso and Vernazza. But we got a lot of our souvenirs here – truffle olive oil (simply fantastic), lemon soap bar etc. Tasted a super refreshing lemon gelato. Seriously, one can’t come to Cinque Terre without getting their hands on some olive oil and having a lemon gelato/lemonade.

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Manarola is where the iconic photos of Cinque Terre are captured. We actually spent a good amount of time on this island – listening to the crashing waves, getting our photos etc.
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As our train ticket departing from Monterosso drew nearer, we debated if there was enough time to pop by Riomaggiore quickly and immediately catch the next train to Monterosso. We basically took a quick look around Riomaggiore within 15 minutes. The only highlight I could remember of Riomaggiore was the number of people trying out cliff jumping. Seemed like THE prime spot out of the 5 islands.

Fortunately, we manage to get back to Monterosso with time to spare, so we had our dinner, before heading back to Milano. Side note: my dinner (salmon penne) was a disappointment (I was expecting a piece of salmon with my pasta and NOT shredded and mushed up salmon bits mixed in with the pasta). Sigh. But my friend’s spaghetti vongole was super good. Of course, the only time we arrived in Milano early (expecting to have an early night – i.e. before 10pm), the train decided to break down 4 stops from our destination -.- All the announcements were in Italian, which left us quite confused and stranded. So after a lot of arguments between the train conductors and the public, the train was somewhat fixed, and we manage to get back to the hotel. Till the next post, bye!

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Venezia without Venice

Hi all!

Our day in Rome started dark and early at 4 am before the sun even rose. Our morning workout involved dragging our luggages to Rome Termini in the dark for 1.7 km in 45 mins. That was a serious achievement unlocked for us during the entire leg of our trip, considering has physically tired we were by them. We arrived in Milano, where we stored our luggages for 12€/24 hours at the station, before rushing to catch our connecting train to Venezia. After we’ve got our water bus pass, we headed straight to Burano, a small island scattered with brightly coloured houses. It made for such a bright and cheerful atmosphere.

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From Burano, we dropped by Murano instead of Venice because my friend was keen on seeing a glass-making display. However, we didn’t know where to see those, plus, it was quite late then (~4 plus), so most places could have closed for the day. By then, my desperate need for feed and a washroom was making quite a show in my mode, so we settled down for lunch/dinner. Pesto pasta (another item on my Italy food checklist) was pretty good though slightly salty.

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In the end, we didn’t visit Venice, the clouds were rolling, rain was pouring and we were rushing to catch our train back to Milano. Venice still remains on my bucket list to see before it drowns. But that just means I’ve to return back next time. Till the next post, bye!

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Naples & Pompeii

Hi all!

I’m in procrastinating mode as I penned down this post even though I’ve to get my proposal ready in less than 3 days. Naples was basically the highlight of my trip ever since I watched a documentary on how pizza originated from there. So basically my aim was to have pizza. Pompeii was a side thing (priorities). But the day begun with an epic start as our pre-booked train closed its doors in our face. We were left scrambling to get another ticket to Napoli (luckily the wait for the next train was not long). At the Napoli train station, we got a (return) express ticket (11€/pax) for the circumvesuviana train to Pompeii. Side track a bit, the kind lady who helped us with our ticket purchase was dressed super sexily, literally buttoning only the middle button of her tight button down shirt.

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Once in Pompeii (which was freaking hot), we queued about 30 mins for our entrance tickets. It took us about 4 hours to cover the area. But after a while, most things look the same.

Tip: There’s a pretty informative map/guide for the area if you are not following a tour group.

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The kitchen area – the hole in the foreground was the stove.

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Below was the people answer to postal code.

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A bath tub in one of the houses.

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A skeleton covered in volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted.

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While waiting for the our reserved train to arrive, we got a lemonade to share. Even though it was quite pricey (it’s a tourist area), it was super refreshing, especially on a hot day. So no regrets.

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Once back in Naples, we quickly hunted down the nearest highly recommended pizza eatery within a 10 mins walking distance from the main train station. Despite the long queue, the margherita pizza (baked using a charcoal oven) came out pretty quickly. We were also the only people who ordered a medium pizza (4.5€) to share. But I can’t imagine finishing a whole pizza by myself. I was stuffed after half of it. Ignoring the burnt crust, I like the fresh tomato base.

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele – Address: Via Cesare Sersale 1/3, 80139, Naples, Italy

 

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En route back to the station, we dropped by sfogliate calde, a pastry shop, where we got a custard puff to go. The puff was really fresh and quite good (2.5€). They also had this nutella/chocolate pastry that looked really nice but we were too full and not craving enough sweets to get that. We then dropped by the supermarket at the station to grab our rationing supplies for the next day’s train.

Antico Forno delle Sfogliatelle Calde Fratelli Attanasio – Address: Vico Ferrovia 1/2/3/4, 80142, Naples, Italy

A little TMI, but I’ve realised Italians prefer using tampons to pads. It was so hard to get pads from the limited selection available. Okay, till the next post, bye!

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