Although all of the destinations on my 12-night Mediterranean cruise (taken in 2010) were amazing, I was looking forward to Cinque Terre most of all, and it didn’t let me down! In 2006, I had spent hours upon hours researching and booked a solo, three week backpacking trip to Europe, to include Cinque Terre, and because of life, had to cancel it, so I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to visit. Especially due to the recent disaster there!
After docking in Livorno, we boarded our pre-paid/reserved train…a little over one hour trip…to La Spezia and then hopped on a short regional train ride that delivered us to the last of the five villages, Monterosso al Mare. I thoroughly researched this excursion, because when you’re on a cruise ship, timing is very important! If you miss your ship, you’re “ship” out of luck!
I took this photograph of Monterosso al Mare while hiking. Everyone that I spoke to on the ship was going to Florence and/or the leaning Tower of Pisa. They didn’t know what they were missing!
This is the beginning of the 1 1/2 hour trail that we hiked from the fifth village to the fourth village, Vernazza. Although I purchased some great Merrill sandals, especially for this trip, I was beginning to get a callous on the edge of my heel. But nothing could dampen the dazzling vistas!
The entire region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The natural beauty was almost overwhelming!
The trail varied in it’s difficulty and scenery…
You can see the village of Vernazza in the distance.
It’s like a jewel jutting from the cliff…
After having some lunch in town…due to time constraints, we took the train to the first village, Riomaggiore, where we briefly looked around and headed back to the train station in La Spezia.
We had over an hour to kill at the train station, so we went for a walk and my traveling companion overheard a woman talking to a taxi driver about taking her to her ship, which happened to be Royal Caribbean. We spoke to her and within seconds we’re sharing the taxi with her to go back to the ship. Obviously, we weren’t thinking…we were over an hour away from the ship…and the woman said the taxi was only 10 euros…which is about $12 to split.
Within a couple of minutes we realized that she was heading to a different Royal Caribbean ship and I’m asking “Guido” the taxi driver if he is going to charge us anything for taking us back to where we came from. He said he wouldn’t and started making a wierd gesture with his arms and saying in his half Italian and broken English that we were tight!
Then…the lady wanted a receipt for her taxi ride and he wouldn’t give her one…gesturing and almost shouting…so she exited the taxi and on the 5-10 min. ride back to the train station, he is saying “Cacare”, over and over. Upon inquiring as to its meaning, he informed us it meant “F____ you”. He was upset with the lady wanting a receipt…so to break the tension…I requested him to teach us how to say it…so we’re all three in unison saying…”Cacare, Cacare”!
If you’re ever in La Spezia and want an unforgettable taxi ride, try to find “Guido”!
p.s. Later…I discovered from a fellow blogger that “Guido” is actually a slang term to denote someone that is lower or working class of American/Italian descent.