Today we would be taking the Train from Milan to Cinque Terre, where we would be spending the next three nights.
We were looking forward to hiking the different villages and enjoying the warmer weather in Cinque Terre.
After our breakfast, it was time to leave Hotel Berna. The checkout process was quick and they provided bottled water for the road, which was a nice touch. If you are ever in Milan, I would highly recommend Hotel Berna. The service, extra touches, candy bars on the pillows when we arrived, free drinks in the refrigerator, free evening food, the outstanding breakfast every morning, and the people make Hotel Berna an excellent place to stay.
It was a quick walk to the train station. The train from Milan to Cinque Terre took about 3 1/2 hours. We had purchased our tickets several months in advance, and found out later how glad we were to just get a good seat on the train. The train left Milan Station at 8:10 a.m. arriving in Levanto at 10:58, where we caught another train at 11:15 and arrived in Riomaggiore around 11:40.
My only complaint for this ride, was the type of train we traveled in. This was the only train during our two weeks of travel that we were stuck in a compartment holding six people. This compartment felt cramped and got hot when the door was closed. You had to keep the door closed due to the noise in the aisle.
People that did not purchase pre-assigned seats or waited until the last minute to buy tickets were sitting on pull down seats in the aisle ways or standing.
Keeping the door closed was the only way to keep the noise out. I cannot image sitting on those seats for 3 hours and constantly moving every time the train stopped as people were getting off and on. Several people left our compartment during our travel, but new people took their seats. The conductor came through constantly checking tickets. They seemed to know when new people were in our compartment.
The racks overhead on both sides were full of luggage. It’s a good thing we did not have large luggage as it would have never fit on these racks. There was no room to store any additional luggage, when new people came into the compartment with us. I was glad we started at the end point.
It was a very cramped space, especially with a cat carrier on the floor. As soon as we saw that it was a cat J took medicine as he is allergic to them and had no problems. It would have been a miserable three hours if he would have had an allergic reaction. If you have any allergies to pets, bring medicine with you.
TIP: When selecting seats in a compartment sit across from each other close to the door.
As we got closer to our stop, we saw the coastline from the train.
When we arrived at Levanto, the local train to Riomaggiore was waiting for us. We checked to make sure this was the right train before boarding. This train was pretty empty after our last ride.
But that changed after our first stop in Monterosso. Since we were coming from Monterosso, we got to see all the stops along Cinque Terre. Every time we stopped, more people would get on the train. By the time we reached Riomaggiore, the train was standing room only.
I was glad to get off the train in Riomaggiore. We had been riding for 3 ½ hours and I was ready to walk. After leaving the train we quickly found the tunnel that would take us to where we were staying the next three nights.
Walking through the tunnel, it became a little confusing on exactly where we were staying. We ended up taking steps that we did not need to take, but got to see more of the town.
J finally stopped and asked someone where the B & B was. The man only spoke Italian, J pulled out his “cheat sheet” and the man read the name and pointed us in the right direction. As we made our way up the hill, I was glad J was pulling the luggage up this steep incline. Do you now see why you have to pack light when traveling around Italy??? If not keep following my trip and you will.
We finally found our B&B, Case di Rio. The woman who answered the door spoke very little English. We followed her to the second floor, up a set of very steep stairs carrying our luggage. I carried the duffle bag, while J had the suite case. I was glad I did not have to carry a suitcase up these steps.
We were not in the apartment very long before her son showed up (who spoke English) and took care of all the paper work and showed us around the apartment. He explained where the grocery store was, and good places to eat to get free Wi-Fi. He left us his phone number if we encountered any questions or problems during our stay and then was on his way.
TIP: Make sure you have plenty of Euros in Cinque Terre as most places only accept cash. We paid cash for our stay at Case di Rio.
Case di Rio was located right across from an outside restaurant. This place was very busy at night. I was worried about the noise from the restaurant, but it was not a problem, as the windows did a good job blocking any noise out. There was even a clothesline with clothes pins outside of the window which I used. I was surprised at how well they dried, being outside overnight.
The B&B consisted of a living area, bedroom, bathroom, and a very small kitchen. We did not use the kitchen or the TV, but was glad to have a refrigerator for the wine we purchased. There was no Wi-Fi available at this rental, which we really missed. The only way to get Wi-Fi was to go to a restaurant and eat or drink and they would give you a code to use their Wi-Fi. Internet connection was very slow throughout Cinque Terre. Anywhere we ate, we made sure they had free Wi-Fi.
The picture below is of the outside walkway off the kitchen. This area got very noisy one night as families gathered for the evening to socialize.
After unpacking, we headed out to get something to eat. I read about the fried fish that was popular in Riomaggiore. Everyone was walking around eating it.
The fish and chips came in two sizes. We shared the large, as I am not much of a fish eater. I picked out what I wanted and gave the rest to J. I could not eat the anchovies but J liked them. There was more, but we ate some before I took this picture!
One night we shared pasta and a sandwich along with a bottle of wine.
And of course for dessert every night we had gelato at Geleteria Centrale which was the best gelato we had in Cinque Terre for only 2.50 Euros.
We found the beach in Riomaggiore.
I don’t know how they laid out on those rocks.
Riomaggiore offered us everything we would want during our stay. After visiting the other towns, we were glad we choose this village. We enjoyed the food, walking up and down the hills, going through the tunnel to catch the train, and having dinner overlooking the water.
The best part of staying in Cinque Terre was at the end of the day, when the day trippers left, it was quiet, with only the locals and people staying overnight in the village.