GLOCCOVNAA is an abbreviation for 'Great Life of Conflict, Climax or Virtually Nothing At All'. That was the long and ridiculous name I came out for my blog when I was 18 years old. Do click on the colourful icons on the right to check out different types of posts in this blog.

09 October, 2012

Summer Holiday in Italy #2

Where was I? Oh right, La Spezia...

I have only one thing to say about this place. Of all cities, all towns and all villages I have been in my life so far, this is the most beautiful, most spectacular, most awesome-licious. Alright, maybe I am a little overwhelmed by the wonderful memories of this small town, but believe me, all Italy tours should include La Spezia and Cinque Terre in them (they normally don't) or else just don't waste your money. I am dead serious...

Just take a look at this and tell me whether I was right?
Well, La Spezia by itself is not so much an appealing town, but its charms come from its easy access to the Cinque Terre or the Five Lands. The train station at La Spezia offers direct access to all five villages of the Cinque Terre using just one ticket for visitors. The train ride will not only bring you to your destination, the journey itself is a pleasure since the view out of the window is also breathtaking.

We reached La Spezia in the afternoon and decided to travel to just Vernazza after checking into the hotel. I don't remember why we went there, but i guess it was to have dinner at Il Pirata Cafe as recommended on Tripadvisor as the best restaurant of that area. Too bad that shop was fully booked when we arrived and we decided to book for lunch the next day. We were also surprised to meet up with another group who also planned to have dinner there.
Disappointed and hungry, we returned to La Spezia and had dinner at the town area. Initially we planned to walk along some of the Heritage Trails of Cinque Terre to admire the highly praised scenery the following day. When we reached Monterosso al Mare, the weather was really good, a little too good "sunny" to walk and everyone chose to take the train all the way except for the famous Via Dell'Amore (the shortest). I won't explain every one of them in detail, so just enjoy these pictures.
Monterosso al Mare has a long beautiful beach, too bad we didn't have time to enjoy the water.
Had lunch at Il Pirata Cafe and was introduced to a short climb up to a lookout area of Vernazza.
We had to climb 382 steps up to Corniglia, known for their famous lemon gelato.
Nothing much to say about Manarola except its long narrow streets with bright coloured buildings.
We were walking through when the sun was setting, imagine how romantic that would be for couples to have their honeymoons there! :D
Known for being uber romantic, the Via Dell'Amore has thousands of murals drawn by couples professing their love for each other over walls and ceiling.
We were all tired by the time we reach Riomaggiore, so only a few of us walked up a short trail to enjoy the view of the marina.
Our next stop was supposed to be Florence, but we were told that since we had open tickets, we can stop by at Pisa just to get a peek of the leaning tower and rush back to catch a train to Florence. That plan turned out to be both tiring but yet satisfying. The Piazza del Duomo, where the leaning tower stands, was around 1.5km away from the station. It was really a torture to carry our luggage in the hot blazing sun to and from the piazza, but the feeling of actually standing in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa was satisfying enough.
Since so many people did the "leaning" pose, I decided to just straighten it with my huge hand.
The whole piazza was very crowded with only tourist and local authorities.
The next stop was Florence, home to Vespa and universal geniuses Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. We arrived in Florence at late afternoon. After checking into the hostel, washing clothes and settling in, a few of us took a short walk around the town's many street markets. The markets are filled with tourist and resembles Petaling street with numerous stalls selling pirated products and souvenirs. Too bad I was too busy looking at keychains and T-shirts that I didn't take any picture.

Florence is also famous for theibistecca alla fiorentina aka T-bone steak. I didn't try it but I got a glimpse of it from my friend's. I had a Panzanella salad with lots of parmesan cheese and slices of beef, feeling healthy but was overdose with ricotta leaves.
Florentine steak in Za-za.
After dinner, we explored the night view around the city visiting majority of the landmarks within walking distance. Of course most of them were closed but the outer piazzas were still crowded with tourists and street performers. Florence city center reminded me of the majestic setting for the movie Hannibal where the infamous cannibal Hannibal Lecter posed as a library curator. Several of the iconic killing scenes were film by Ridley Scott near Palazzo Vecchio and Ponte Vecchio.
The Duomo is also known as Santa Maria del Fiore.
The Arcone at Piazza della Repubblica looks like the entrance of a galleria but is actually a triumphal arch like Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Palazzo Vecchio, the old town hall where Michelangelo's David sculpture was, they replaced it with a replica while the  actual one is at the Accademia Gallery
Just next to the palazzo is the famous Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest art galleries in the world and  home to "The Birth of Venus" and "The Annunciation".
Ponte Vecchio is one of the oldest bridges across Arno River which has shops on both sides.
The next day, we took a trip to Greve in Chianti to visit the birthplace of world famous Chianti Wine. To be continued...


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