After we finished our speaking commitment in Belgrade, Serbia we decided to take a train to Cinque Terre. It was a first-time visit for both of us and we decided taking the train would be an amazing adventure. The best-laid plans, right??!
Normally, I’m the type of traveler that can go for two (2) weeks in a carry on (ok, honestly….I cheat and have laundry done at hotels along the way….but, the intention is there…..). Because I had 4 – 5 nights of speaking, galas, opening dinners, meetings, etc. I may have overpacked:( I had two gianormous suitcases packed with enough clothing to take care of a small country (let’s not forget shoes and workout gear)! So the adventure begins…….
The first thing to know about the European train is that you purchase a ticket with absolutely NO idea of the number of stops it will make along the way (we made 18) or, what the actual seating will be like once you board. Another teeny-tiny little detail with luggage, bags and camera…..there are NO porters….no people to help you on and off of the train. Just saying.
There was a lot of grunting going on trying to wrestle the “orca” luggage onboard. Then, you fight (picture “hand to hand” combat here…..) to your seats (the numbering is funky so they go from 15 to 33 in one row just for a little more excitement) to find that you are sitting across from two hung over Englishmen who weren’t shy about sharing (loudly) their previous nights exploits and details…eeewwww!!! Oh, I forgot to share….you can smoke EVERYWHERE…again with the smell and devil eyes (contact wearers beware)!
Just as you consider jumping from the train…….you notice the stunning countryside. The pink villas are my favorite and dappled the route. Here are some of my fave memories of that experience (I’m trying to be tactful with the descriptive wording…..ha!).
We arrived a few hours later…….Vernazza!