Europe Trip 2010: Week Two

You can read about our first week in Europe here.

Also, if you would like to see A LOT more pictures then I’m able to share on here, feel free to friend me on Facebook.

****************

Week two of our trip was spent entirely in Italy. Needless to say, I LOVE Italy now!

We last left off in Florence! So the following Monday morning after spending the weekend in Florence we jumped on a train to head up to the beautiful Cinque Terre, which according to Rick Steves is the Italian version of the French Riveria.

On our way to Cinque Terre we stopped over in Pisa for a couple of hours to see the infamous Leaning Tower of Pisa.

amber-and-eric-pisa

And of course had some fun doing the traditional pose in front of it that 1,000 other tourists were also doing at the exact same time!

amber-leaning-tower

After a few hours in Pisa, we continued our journey to Cinque Terre, which is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. If anyone ever has the chance to go there (or anywhere in Italy for that matter) do it!

Cinque Terre, which means five villages or towns, is a group of five small villages along the northern coast of Italy. The five towns are connected by a 7-mile hiking path that goes right along the ocean. Visiting Cinque Terre and hiking through the five towns was the part of our trip that I was most looking forward to!

Funny story about our first night there: We had an amazing dinner overlooking the ocean and enjoyed 1/2 a litre of wine with our pizza and salad! Afterwards we decided we wanted a bit more wine, but when Eric went to go order it there was a miscommunication with the waiter and we ended up with another LITRE of wine.

So… 1.5 litres of wine later….

wine-cinque-terre

In the hilarity of our mix-up, we befriended the couple sitting next to us and ended up chatting with them for almost two hours! They were a very well-traveled couple from Boston and gave us all kinds of wonderful advice about our traveling and next trip. It was really nice to have an extended conversation with other people who spoke English!

group-cinque-terre
After dinner we enjoyed some MORE gelato while sitting on the rocks and watching the sunset.

rocks-cinque-terre

The next morning we were planning on setting out on our hike, but we woke up to POURING rain, so decided to take a “rest” day. We spent most of the day inside, playing cards and napping.

playing-cards-cinque-terre

We stayed in a fabulous little B&B in the town of Vernazza, the second last town in Cinque Terre, it was recommended by Lauren and she told me they had a fabulous breakfast included but it was even more fabulous then I expected. Check out the awesome cappuccino I got the first morning we were there:

cappucino-vernazza

Unfortunately, our second morning there it was ALSO pouring rain. But, we weren’t going to let the rain stop us, we were determined to do the hike anyways. But, after reaching the first town we learned that the trail was entirely closed other then the first section due to the rain. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I was in-tears-disappointed.

We tried to take the best of it and hiked the first part (which was more like a leisurely walk) and then took the train through the five towns in order to explore them. I didn’t have a rain coat with me (silly) so I bought this lovely blue poncho: Hot, right!?

amber-poncho

After spending a few hours exploring we were both soaking wet and ready to go back to our hotel. Now, the ONLY problem with Cinque Terre is it’s the kind of place where there is NOTHING to do if it’s raining. No museums or sightseeing, it’s all about the outdoors; beaches and hiking. So with the rain I disappeared into the internet cafe for an hour or so.

When I emerged the sun was shining for the first time in two days! By this point it was about 4:00 PM so there was no way we could do the entire hike but we could do the last part, which apparently was the most difficult part of the trail.

I’m SO glad we were able to do at least this one part of the hike. The views were unbelievable. About 15 minutes into the hike here is looking back on Vernazza:

vernazza-hike

After hiking for awhile it became clear why the trail was closed when it was raining. It was a very steep trail with a lot of very narrow parts that were literally right on the edge of cliffs!

trail-cinque-terre

One part of the trail was washed out entirely! Eric walked through it with his shoes on and his feet got soaking wet, I took my shoes and socks off to walk through this part:

trail-washed-out-cinque-terre

Here I am at the very end of the hike in Monterosso, the last town of the five. This was, by far, the most gorgeous hike I have ever gone on. I will never ever forget the amazing views of the beautiful Mediterranean sea!

amber-monterosso

The next day after our hike we were up bright and early to jump on the train for five hours and head to Rome!

As most of you know from my quick update while in Italy, Rome wasn’t exactly what we expected it would be. But we’ll get to that.

After a long train ride we were once again in a big, bustling city! It was a bit of a shock after quiet, little Cinque Terre. We dropped our stuff off at our hotel and headed out for some exploring. We went to see the Spanish Steps and grab dinner and had big plans of seeing Vatican City and the Colleseum the next day.

spanish-steps-rome

Unfortunately, our night then took a very nasty turn because we arrived home from our night out to discover that our hotel room had been broken into and our backpacks completely emptied out and rummaged through. Our stuff was spread all over the bed. For those wondering, we were staying at Hotel Beautiful 2.

break-in-rome

Obviously this was a very stressful for us and led to a late night and a long morning the next day. Thank god we had all of our cash, passports and camera’s on us. Unfortunately, Eric’s credit card, ID and my iPod were taken. The owners of the hotel were very courteous and refunded us our money even though we still stayed there that night.

The next day we spent a few hours visiting the Canadian Embassy and the police station, which didn’t go so well. Even though Eric had already cancelled his credit card the Rome police were VERY persistent that he needed his credit card number for the police report. Obviously, we didn’t have it memorized and when we called the credit card company they said that under NO circumstance should they require that for a police report! Weird, right?! So after all the walking back and forth no police report was created and we finally made it to Vatican City in the early afternoon.

Vatican City was pretty spectacular, but with the drama of the previous night/morning we didn’t fully appreciate our visit and kind of rushed through it. The Sistine Chapel took my breath away though. We couldn’t take photos in the Sistine Chapel but here are some photos from other parts of the museum:

vatican-museum-amber

inside-vatican-museum

Here are me and Eric in St. Peters Square. We just kind of sat there and stared for awhile it was so magnificent:

amber-eric-vatican-city

After we were done there we rushed to the train to head to Sorrento. Originally we were supposed to spend two nights in Rome but we both kind of just wanted to get out of there, so it was off to the Amalfi Coast for the weekend!

Our home base (where our hotel was) was Sorrento, it was absolutely gorgeous there.

amber-sorrento

Our first night there we ate the most amazing dinner we’d had yet and after dinner we were brought to complimentary shots. We sniffed them and they didn’t smell like anything so we threw them back. Well, don’t be fooled by the non-smell because this stuff was strong! We later discovered it was Limoncello, which is an Italian liqueur that is usually served as an after-dinner digesto. Interesting!

limoncella-sorrento

Our second day on the Amalfi Coast after doing some wandering around Sorrento we headed to Pompeii to hike the infamous Mt. Vesuvius, which was decideingly unexciting considering it’s a live volcano! 🙂

hiking-mt-vesuvius

After 30ish minutes of walking straight uphill we reached the top, which wasn’t what I was expecting for a volcano, but still kind of cool to imagine the huge hole full of lava!

mt-vesuvius

Finally, on our last day on the Amalfi Coast we took a boat trip to the island of Capri, which was beautiful but also very expensive and touristy!

boat-trip-capri

We had an amazing lunch with an even more amazing view.

lunch-capri

And then we spent the afternoon lounging around on beach chairs that cost 18 euros each to rent!

suntanning-capri

I really wanted to go swimming because the water was SO beautiful, but there were a ton of jellyfish and I was scared of getting stung, so I just waded in to my knees!

jellyfish-capri

And this concludes the second week of our trip! I know this blog post was extremely long (and it took me almost 2 hours to insert all the pictures – I NEED to find a good blogging tool for the Mac asap) but I hope you enjoyed it if you managed to read the entire thing!

Italy was honestly amazing, I loved every single place we visited there and was continually astounded by the views, especially along the coast!

29 Responses

  1. eemusings says:

    Oh you haven’t had limoncello before? I had it at an Italian restaurant once. Whew!

    It’s amazing how those great Mediterranean buildings look just like they do in books/pictures – but I guess I expected that. Sucks that you got burgled! At least they didn’t take everything you had.

  2. Jess says:

    I am so incredibly jealous. I’m hoping after I finish my masters in 2 years I can do something like this… better start saving now!

  3. Becky says:

    I want to go to Italy and now you’ve sealed that for me – these pictures are gorgeous! And again, sorry about stuff being stolen but at least your credit card company was understanding (if not the police!)

  4. Kelly says:

    Wow I can’t even tell you how jealous I am and how MAD I am at myself for picking Hawaii over Italy for our honeymoon. We definitely should’ve done Italy! Your pictures are so gorgeous and I love being able to see out of the city in Italy since all I’ve seen is Rome and Venice!

  5. Sorry about the little break in! How crappy- my friend Mary lost her camera that way…

    And that’s funny about the wine miscommunication. Good thing there’s no such thing as too much wine! 😉 Beautiful pics!

  6. Heather says:

    It has always been my dream/obsession to go to Italy and you have just made it even more desirable. That water. It is magnificent. Im sorry your room was robbed. Its weird how the police wanted the credit card number. They can track lost credit cards other ways.

    It looks like you had a great time.

  7. Nicole says:

    You are so making me want to go to Europe again! The pictures are fantastic, and I’m glad to hear you had a good time (besides your troubles in Rome and Cinque Terre)! Can’t wait to read part three tomorrow! :o)

  8. Emily Jane says:

    Oh wow, what ADVENTURE and what stunning photos! What memories you’ll have forever… I seriously want to go to Italy now! We’re trying to decide where in Europe to take a 2-day trip when we go to the UK in August and I think I’m SOLD on Italy now 🙂

  9. Oh my goodness!!!!!! Your post is making me wish I was on vacation right now!!!!!!!

    That cappuccino is insanity. Pure, awesome insanity.

  10. Wow – those pictures are amazing. It makes me think that I need to go to Italy before going back to Paris… My best friend rented a house along the Amalfi Coast w/ her husband and just raves about that area.

    Still just sucks that your room got broken into. What a nightmare. I am so glad you had your camera & passports on you!!

    The story of accidentally ordering a liter of wine reminds me of a night in Annecy, France. My friend & I ordered a liter of wine & there were 2 couples sitting next to us that made fun of us for ordering so much wine for 2 people! So I can’t imagine having ordered 1.5 liters. 🙂 Anyways, the 2 couples were form different parts of Europe and they invited us to join them after dinner so we sat there & chatted away for 1-2 hours after dinner. It was so much fun! I love random encounters like that.

  11. nicole says:

    ahhhh i want to go to italy right now!!!

    how awful that your room was broken into to! but thankfully the hotel refunded you your money!

    i am so jealous of all the beautiful pictures! i would LOVE to go to italy… i’m saying that is my honeymoon destination!!! someday anyway!!! 🙂

  12. Leigh says:

    My mom was actually in Amalfi Coast a couple months back and brought home some Limoncello…it’s quite interesting!

    Love your pictures!

  13. Jess says:

    Wow Amber your pictures are gorgeous! It looks like you had an amazing time and made the best of things despite the rain!

  14. Nora says:

    Beautiful pictures.
    Limoncello is common in our house around Christmas time. Strong stuff.
    This whole trip made my heart ache for Italy.
    I think I need to move there.

  15. So fun to read your recap of all of these places. I can’t believe the police were trying to get him to put down his cc#. Good thinking you two. I love how blue the water is in some of these places. Nowhere in the US have I seen water like that.

  16. the views and the water make me want to go and lay on a beach there all summer..

  17. BostonRunner says:

    Your pictures are so gorgeous!! That’s too funny that you talked to those people next to you for over two hours!

  18. Amanda says:

    I now NEED to go there stat.

  19. Ashley says:

    Ahh, so beautiful. I must go!

  20. shoshanah says:

    Of course I read the whole thing! I love all your pictures. But as silly as it sounds I’m most in awe of that cappuccino! Leave it to me to have my main comment about your Italy pictures about the food!

  21. AshleyD says:

    Your pictures are amazing! You’ve convinced me that I must go to Cinque Terre on my next European adventure. It’s gorgeous!

  22. Becks says:

    Beautiful pictures!
    Getting your hotel room broken into, ack! At least you had your camera.
    Looking forward to hearing some stories firsthand!

  23. Jessica says:

    Ahhh, more Italy.

    Blah about your bad Rome experience. That sucks and is so weird about the police report.

    I wish I had been able to get to Cinque Terre…so beautiful but there just weren’t enough weekends.

    How cool is Sorrento? We got free limincello shots too…very strong. We also got them in Florence, for some reason.

    Weird that you couldn’t take photos of the Sistine Chapel…no one gave me or anyone I was with a hard time about it.

    Awesome photos though- did you do the blue grotto in Capri?

  24. Sarah says:

    I’m in love with Italy now. I didn’t really know that much about the place before reading this post and seeing these amazing pictures – you should work with the Italian tourist board! Of course it’s a pity you couldn’t do the entire hike in Cinque Terre, and it’s horrible that your hotel was broken into and you had to waste so much time dealing with the police/embassy (that’s beaurocracy for ya!). But I totally understand why you love the country so much.

    And it’s nice to see that that side of the Med gets the jelly fish too! I thought it was just us. lol

  25. […] can read my recaps here, here and […]

  26. […] For new readers: The full recap of the 10 days we spent in Italy! […]

  27. […] I took a big, deep breath and breathed in the delicious smell of my basil plant and pretended I was back in Italy, sipping wine, taking life one day – one minute – at a […]

  28. Katy Widrick says:

    Oh my gosh…the color of the water!

    You have made me even more excited about my trip 🙂 Although you’ve TERRIFIED my husband about getting our stuff stolen. Guess I’ll be lugging a lot with me and leaving the valuables at home, huh?

    • MissAmber says:

      I’ve heard other stories about people being robbed/pick-pocketed in Rome/other parts of Italy as well. We were told to ALWAYS keep our passports on us before going there so that’s what we did. We had “money belts” that we wore under our shirts and had our passports in there always.

      We were so lucky that we happened to have all three of our camera’s on us that time (we had a video camera, a DSLR and a point-and-shoot) usually at least one or two of them would stay behind at the hotel when we were sightseeing. We would have lost a lot of memories from the first 1.5 weeks of our trip if we’d left those behind!

      And, last thing, I HIGHLY recommend Rick Steve’s books. It was like our bible while we were traveling (you can see me clutching it in the picture in the Vatican museum, lol)