Back in Italy! Florence and Cinque Terre2 Comments
Ciao and welcome back for the last few installments of the Braam’s European Extravaganza!
We arrived in Venice in the early morning hours, and hopped the next train to Florence. We breathed a collective sigh of relief when we got off the train as we were so happy to be back in Italy. It has decidedly become one of our favorite countries, so we decided to return for the back end of the trip. Florence is where we decided to kick off the 12 days, and we had a lovely 24 hours as we waited to meet up with Alice (Claire’s sister), her husband Steve, and kids Siri and Tor. Needless to say, our stay in Florence was a whirlwind. We were exhausted from a not-so-restful night of sleep on the overnight train, so after checking in to our hotel, the first order of business was lunch. We went to the central market to check it out. This place was really great and our favorite spot during our short stay. The ground level was an open air market, and the second level had a variety of different food counters, bars and artisanal shops. We had fantastic truffle cream crostini, the most incredible gnocchi ever, and really delicious arancini. If you’ve never had arancini, you’re missing out. Deep fried risotto balls filled with delicious meats and cheeses, yum! Italian food is the best! We had a not so quick nap at the hotel, then made a foot tour around town. Really beautiful city, the Duomo, some city buildings and squares, statues, bridges, you know, the good stuff. We dined al fresco for dinner at one of the many delicious local establishments and headed back to the hotel.
The next morning we woke up and headed to the train station to meet Jennison’s. The reunion was joyous and after greetings and hugs, we hopped the next train. At the end of our travel day, we found ourselves in Monterosso, the western most town of the famed Cinque Terre. The accomodations that Alice booked were great. We had the second level of a fantastic family home with a beautiful patio just steps from the beach. We dropped everything and hit the beach, as we were lucky to have such great late season beach weather. The kids were happy and so were we. The blue sea was so calm and warm, and the mountains jutted out of the sea abruptly. The brightly colored buildings clung to the mountainsides and made for a picturesque and enchanting background for our stay. We spent the days hiking from town to town, playing on beaches, enjoying cool drinks and generally watching the kids go nuts in this wonderfully unique paradise. At the crux of each hike there were fantastic views and usually a small stand or café waiting to serve us fresh squeezed juice or lemon slushies. At each town we visited, there were cute restaurants and cafés, colorful connected buildings climbing the hillsides, quaint shops vending local wares and friendly towns people milling about. Every night we dined at family owned restaurants, and the food was always delicious. Fresh pasta, fish, pizza! Everything was great. Each couple got a date night, so the romance was there amidst the family vacation as well. On our last day, we reached the furthest east town of Riomaggiore and took the ferry all the way back to Monterosso, giving us a final and complete view of the Cinque Terre. I could not think of a more perfect retreat for an active family. Really…it was the best of times.
After our time there was complete, we moved on the ancient city of Rome. Our time here is waning…but we’ll enjoy ’till the last drop!