Cinque Terre & Florenc- Days 8 & 9

Rare flowers growing in the wild, hiking with a soundtrack of crashing waves and waterfalls, fresh produce on the streets that doesn't need a sign for you to know that it's organic, and endless amounts of unbelievably good seafood and gelato- welcome to Cinque Terre! 

The last time I left you, we were at the end of day 1 in Cinque Terra. It was quite a long day, but this place is so incredible that I can't even put it into words for you. It's like San Diego, Greece, and Italy had a baby! Here are some pictures of the adventures from day 2 in Cinque Terre!

Lilies that were growing in the wild! Crazy!

Breakfast with this super model!

Markets like this on every corner! The best fruit I have ever had. We will get to that soon though!

Croissants for mom and americanos for me. They are so tiny here I literally could drink 10 of them! 

One of the small winding streets in Corniglia, the third village of Cinque Terre and the beginning of our day 2 hike towards Vernazza.

It rained a lot of the afternoon, but we made it to Vernazza!

Looking down into the village.

It's really okay that it rained though because rain meant that we had to find shelter! In this case, shelter that came in the form of an Italian cafe with marinara pizza! After our meal, I wanted an espresso, so my mom decided that she would order the fresh fruit for dessert. Sounds great, right? Well, here's what she got:

"Fresh Fruit" on the dessert menu! HAHA. As funny as it was, those strawberries were the sweetest, most delicious strawberries that I have ever tasted in my entire life. Being a strawberry-lover, that is ultimate compliment!

After lunch, we took a trip to the market to stock up the mini fridge. I fought my temptation to buy and consume a bajillion more strawberries.

Even though I love seafood, raw octopus in the fridge at the store helped tame my desire to eat..

We hung out at the train station to head back to Riomaggiore for a nap and to change clothes for dinner. Most of the restaurants looked something like this. I wanted to sit at every single one of them!

Once we got cleaned up, we headed over to Manarola, the village just South of Corniglia, to find some good dinner! I ended up with more mussels and my mom got some good pasta before we headed back to the hotel to pack up for an early departure to Florence!

It was a pretty short train ride to Florence. It was raining the whole time, which added some entertainment to our outdoor train traveling. Our hostel was way off the beaten path, hidden in the neighborhoods. We stayed at the Tasso Hostel, and it was great!

Our bedroom.

The bathroom

Pretty nice for a hostel, heh? And we had a kitchen, breakfast included, and a bar downstairs where we could hang out! I would definitely stay there again! Even though it was far, it was nice to have a place to escape the crazy tourists at night.

Funny story with no pictures: Mom and I got to Florence, took the bus to the hostel, dropped our stuff, and were starving. The guy at the front desk, Fredrico (had dreads, made good coffee, and was awesome!), told us to go down to the little local pub place on the corner because they were his friends. So off we went! We walked into the restaurant and were seated at the same table as a group of about 6 men that already had food.. It was really awkward, but the place was full so we didn't ask to move. Then, we opened the menu and not one word was in English! Normally, there are at least some words that we can make out or else it has a translated option underneath the Italian, but we were in big trouble. After about 15 minutes of looking cluelessly at the menu and typing a million miles an hour into our cell phone translator apps, the manager came and tried to help us. The locals sitting with us were laughing while we asked so many questions. We ended up with pasta for mom and meatballs for me. We were so hungry that we ate all the bread before the food got there and then ate everything else in sight in about 2 minutes! The locals weren't even done yet (they had already started when we got there) and we were already leaving the restaurant. We were the only Americans in there, and I'm sure they were laughing at us for a good long while after we left!

After lunch, we went exploring! I was running low on protein bars and guess what we found??

The only supplement shop in Florence! ITALIAN PROTEIN BARS FOR THE WIN! Pistachio Gelato, Nutella, and Tiramisu flavored protein bars are the first clue you are in Italy!

We went and found Pointe Vecchio next, walking along the bridge and taking in the beauty of Florence!

Tell me that sky doesn't look like a painting!? It was so beautiful!

During our explorations, we found a little cafe to eat at in one of the church plazas.

Beautiful grilled chicken salad! The best I have had in Italy! It's not common here but it's one of my favorite things so I was so happy to find one.

A ginormous calzone!

And then gelato. DUH.

Love at first (and second, and third, and fourth, and infinite) bite!

It was a fun day of exploring that ended with a cocktail welcome drink! Ehh.. Not quite what I ordered! Remember when I told you that Fredrico made great Americanos? Well, for the first time in my whole life, I was offered a welcome drink, asked for an Americano, and was handed some mutated form of a martini! I don't drink (besides the occasional glass of wine with family) so I was shocked! My mom laughed when I took a sip and puckered and asked him what the heck he gave me. Apparently an Americano is a type of cocktail too.. It was quickly replaced with my beloved java before we drug ourselves up the stairs and collapsed in our new bed in our new city.

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