Being greeted in Treviso by relatives it was a real shock to the system, not only because we have gone so long without knowing anyone anywhere but also because they all spoke Italian and Samantha and I know only yes, no, thank you and hello. We were lucky enough to stay with one of nonna’s sister’s for the duration of our stay right across the road from where they all grew up and just down the road from where nonno lived. Being able to see where they came from and walking around the many fields and farms that surrounded them was truly amazing and overwhelming with emotions. It is something you can’t really explain but just to see and try to imagine what it must have been like back then was eye opening. Despite the language barrier we were able to learn about the town through zia and zio (through mum’s wonderful translation) and hear so many stories. Spending only three nights with them, the next few days were filled with meeting so many relatives whom we have only heard of by names and stories (being too young to remember some of them when they came over to Australia). We were even given a guided tour through the city of Treviso by zio before we had the most amazing lunch, spaghetti with seafood which was absolutely yummy.
Treviso, being described as a mini Venice by zio, was beautiful. Walking around the city we were even able to visit the market square where nonna would walk to and go to sell produce. There is so much history in Treviso that I had no idea about. One of my favourite things about traveling, learning about all the different history in different towns. It was an exhausting couple of days especially as Italy really decided to turn up the heat, but an amazing experience that I feel so lucky to have enjoyed with mum and Samantha. Catching the train early Sunday morning it was a weird feeling having to say goodbye and not knowing how long it would be until we would see them again.
Monterosso, one of the five villages in Cinque Terre. I wish I could say getting there was a breeze but waiting two hours for our next train in the heat, carrying our bags from train to train was not. It was only when we saw the gorgeous clear, blue, sparkling water in the last 20min of our train ride that we knew it was all worth it.
Our hotel situated on the side of a mountain overlooking the water was not a walk we were willing to take with our luggage, luckily a shuttle bus frequently ran to and from the village. The sun was not holding back and the air conditioning was the first thing we tested once in our room. Monterosso is beautiful, at first you think it is just a small strip along the coast but once you walk under a tunnel past the station you enter the old town which has so much more to offer. Exhausted we decided to leave most of the exploring for next few days and enjoyed some lemon spritz as the sun went down.
The Cinque Terre is a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the Italian Riviera coastline. Although you can easily take the train to each village but we decided to take a boat that travels to each and around the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto). Knowing we couldn’t possible hit all of them in one day we took the boat all the way to Portovenere to look around there (shop, eat etc) and then take a boat ride around the islands. On our boat ride around the islands there was only two other groups of people and because it was a fairly large boat it felt like our own private tour. It was magical sitting in the sun as the boat took us around, the views were amazing and the water was something out of a painting.
The next few days we were able to relax a bit more knowing we had a couple of nights here. We spent them soaking up the sun and visiting the villages. We spent a day at Riomaggiore which is a town where flat ground is non-existent.
On our last day in Monterosso we explored the town a little further even finding our way to a cemetery right at the top of the hill which overlooked the old town and the water, it was absolutely magnificent and well worth all the steps. That night we even stumbled across a tiny restaurant which had amazing food and unbelievable homemade bread. (We later realised it was a five star rated restaurant on trip advisor.)
The only thing about staying in a place for longer is that you become more comfortable in the room and slowly everything starts coming out if the suitcase making it ten times harder to re-pack.
Sadly we eventually had to leave Monterosso, something non of us wanted to do. The only thing helping was knowing we were on to new and exciting cities.