Florence and Cinque Terre (my fave place)
22.09.2008 - 29.09.2008 24 °C
Italy was officially my favourite place so far after 9 whole weeks of travelling around. Everything from the people, the fqshion and shopping, the quality food and wine, the stunning landscape and culture...all the way to the siestas where everything closes at the most annoying time and crazy Vespa drivers who own the road in a country with no road rules. Simply loved it.
Florence, to me, was pretty much shopping-central. Al,ost every street in the main centre of town was dedicated to shopping...First there were the many many rows of souvenir and leather markets which were really fun to wander aimlessly through checking out the goods; the stall owners pretty much did everything they could think of to try get ur attention and then lure u over to their stall - sometimes I think they enjoyed testing their english and would yell out completely inappropriate random things to le and then laugh at the facial expressions.
Then you had the usual mid-range clothing chain stores that were interesting to look through as well but THEN...there were the entire streets covered in huge designer stores - Tiffanys, Bvlgaria, Versace, Gucci, Christian Dior, Prada, Dolce and Gabanna, Hugo Boss. Had I not been on a strict backpackers budget like some of the richy rich elderly Americans walking around the place I would have been in absolute heaven. But of course on my kind of budget I barely felt I could afford to look through the windows of these ridiculously nice stores. Was very fun, nonetheless.
Cinque Terre were 5 amazingly beautiful little villages in the South of Italy, each joined together by a path that was 14km long and not so flat. My friend Lucy and I managed to score a really cute little apartment in the first village, Riomaggiore, with a nice kitchen, cute little shutters opening out onto the street above evryone, huge bathroom and a TV (only Italian channels of course, but you would be amazed how entertaining the italian version of Ready Steady Cook can be with a bottle of wine). It was easily the best accommodation ive had during the entire trip and happened to be one of the cheapest too so we were pretty pleased with ourselves hehe.
The main thing to really do in these little villages is the lovers lane walk so we started out by walking the 14km path between all 5 villages (more accurately described as strenuous hiking) which took a good few hours with regular stops for delicious gelato and semi-decent beaches or rock pools to cool off in. The rest of my 3 days and 4 nights in this wonderful place,in summary, entailed eating delicious gnocchi and pasta meals, drinking fine wine, eating too many Nutella crepes and gelato, sunbaking in rock pools in each village and hanging out by the marina watching the sunset each evening... listening to the nonas chatting wildly as ppl walked past - they sat out the front of their houses to do this every evening same time without fail..so cute. OH and of course i cant forget to mention the espressos - the nicest; strongest coffee ive ever had in my life..a very unhealthy addiction I developed during my month in Italy hehe.
Is it any wonder I was genuinely sad to be leaving everything Italiano