Running after Trains in Italy

Picture this: A twenty-one year old girl in Florence, Italy, wind blowing through her hair as she…

…frantically runs through the train station, weighed down by an enormous handbag and backpack, lugging a 50-pound suitcase behind her, sweating rivers down her forehead and back.

Fast forward 2 hours.

The same girl, now in La Spezia train station…again runs (really, struggles would be a more accurate term) up and down staircases, swearing that she will never again pack more than 20 pounds…or perhaps 10. Oh yes, that girl was me, sprinting to make trains today on 2 separate occasions after our first train was delayed 85 minutes in Bologna, Italy.

Unfortunately, the source of the delay was a tragic earthquake in Bologna, one in an ongoing series set off by a large earthquake 10 days ago. My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected.

I feel really blessed that I wasn’t in the region yesterday, since I was actually there just last week. And, frankly, all the delays in the world would’ve been worth it to see this slice of paradise.

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Yes, today was my first (and unfortunately only) day in the lovely town of Monterosso, one of the 5 towns of the absolutely gorgeous Cinque Terre region. From the moment I saw a flash of the horizon from the window on the train, I absolutely fell in love. It’s not just that it’s beautiful (which it really, really is)…it also contains a sense of old world charm, and the perfect number of people. Tourists aren’t overcrowding the region (well, from a tourist’s standpoint), but enough people are out exploring to create a vibrant energy in the town.

Of course, I wasn’t exactly reflecting on the town when I first got off the train. No, instead, I was searching for someplace to satisfy my hunger pangs. 7 hours without food does not a happy Tiffany make. Luckily for me, there was a wonderful little shop right outside the station selling fresh focaccia, pizza, and dessert!

The fragrant focaccia topped with juicy tomatoes and a lovely salty crust

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Mmm pizza on focaccia

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For dessert, I chose the tarta al Limone, which was incredibly tangy and fresh. Lemon trees actually abound in this area!

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Later this afternoon, after discovering that our B&B is 176 stairs up (someone really doesn’t like me), my dad and I went exploring in the old town. Armed with Rick Steves’s tour book, I thought myself quite the historian. However, I think my father may have harbored some doubts…especially when I couldn’t locate the church, which has a massive bell tower shooting towards the sky. Whoops.

Anyhow, no need to dwell on that. It was soon time for…more food! We decided to have dinner overlooking the ocean at La Cantina di Miky.

After enjoying a lovely slow-cooked squid stew (yes, I am that kind of seafood lover), I practically devoured the warm chocolate souffle. I ordered this during the main course because it takes 15 minutes to bake fresh in the oven…one of the reasons I love souffles so much.

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And…melted chocolate perfection.

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Tomorrow, it’s off to Rome! And now, off to bed to prepare (although hopefully it’s not necessary) for more fun at the train station!

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