Our daily adventures today led us to discover and explore the rest of the towns of Cinque Terre. While doing so, we decided to incorporate our own gelato tour. Trying gelato in each town and deciding on the best gelato makers.

We began in the fullest town north, Monterosso. Bathing suit on and ready, we immediately headed down to the beach. Monterosso is known for their beaches and supposedly have the best ones out of the five towns. I would probably agree!

We wandered around Monterroso afterwards and learned about their cliff called Punta Mesco. It now contains ancient sandstone mines which were used to pave the streets of Monterosso and other cities in the area.

Monterosso definitely has a different feel to it that both Riomaggiore and Manarola. It’s much bigger, you could stroll the streets for hours, and explore all the old sites it has to offer.

Here, I ordered the lemon and reso berry gelato which was a pretty good start. Daniel doesn’t remember what he had. It must have been that tasty!

Hopping back on the train, we ventured next to Vernazza. Like Monterroso, Vernazza is a larger town with lots to see and do. We went down to the harbour, wandered into some amazing shops, and relaxed by the water. There was one shop in town that had lemon everything, soap, drinks, olive oils, etc… It was amazing.

Here, I ordered the lemon and strawberry, and Daniel had the lemon cream and pistachio. This gelato was decent, but the previous one was still better in my mind.

Continuing our journey, we arrived in the high top town of Corniglia. This place is beautiful! The narrow, cobbled stone streets brought back memories of Venice. We climbed up numerous stairs to reach a view point, but it ended up being too dark to be able to see anything decent.

We stopped at the number one ranked gelato shop in Cinque Terre, and it was insanely delicious! Here, I ordered the lemon and mango, and Daniel ordered the Cream of Portofino and basil. Portofino was Daniels favourite of the three as well, so looks like Corniglia takes it for the win!

We skipped Manarola on our way back, since we already visited it, and heading back to Riomaggiore for our final night.

By the time we arrived in town, due to a 30 minute train delay, it was almost 11:30pm. Apparently everything in Riomaggiore closes so our only option for food was a little dive bar. We ordered a couple drinks and pizza, with low expectations, but everything was surprisingly good.

Venezia: The City of Bridges

We awoke after a glorious sleep in our B&B with the sun shining brightly through our windows. Once getting up, we ventured into the kitchen and were pleasantly greeted with a delicious breakfast spread: eggs, yogurt, croissant, fruit, juices, and espresso. What a great way to start the day!

Today was a day dedicated to site seeing and exploring all that Venice has to offer. Leaving our place, we immediately hit a wall of heat. Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve been in a humid place but let me tell you, +40 is hot! I was sweating in places I didn’t even know were possible, which made the desire to wait in long site seeing lines quite less desirable.

First, we traveled over bridges and canals until we reached St. Mark’s Square. This is a grand square surrounded by beautiful historical buildings and sites: St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, the Campanile Bell Tower, and the Correr Museum.

Although we wanted and attempted to see everything, the long lines and heat didn’t make it all quite possible. We started our tour in the Correr Museum.

The museum also houses a library, set up by the Pisani family, where the bookcases hold rare manuscripts dating back to the early 16th century. They also contain several ducal orders and regulations.

The Museo Archeologico is also held within the Correr Museum. Here you can see armor, statues, and paintings.

One painting of particular interest to me was The Two Venetian Gentlewomen by Vittore Carpaccio, which has various symbolic details: the pearls around their neck indicate respect to their marriage vows, the white kerchief is a sign of purity, the doves modesty, the peahen marital concord, the dogs vigilance. This painting dates back to around the 1490s.

Once we finished at the museum, we walked over to the Doge’s Palace. This palace was build on a half acre with the intent to show off the wealth and power of the Republic. Wealth it sure exudes.

The Bridge of Sighs connects the palace to the prison. It’s said that it name originated from the fact that a condemned man would be walked over the bridge, have one final glance at the glory of Venice, and sigh. The prison was a dark and gloomy place, where you could see old carvings made by prisoners.

Next, we continued our journey up the canals to the Rialto Bridge. Once on the bridge, you’re offered a beautiful view of the Grand Canal.

By this time, we were still hot and beginning to get hungry so we stopped for our first gelato. It was amazing!

We did a bit more wandering, browsing, site seeing, and drinking before sitting along the canal side deciding upon what we would have for dinner.

We ventured into a small square and opted to try out Osteria Alla Fresca. We began with a white and red wine, and an incredible octopus dish with a purple potato sauce. This was by far the best dish I’ve ever had! Ever!

For our next course, Daniel ordered the swordfish ravioli, and I, the seafood spaghetti.

Finally, we finished off with our first trial of dessert in Italy: tiramisu and panna cotta. Both, of course, impressed!


Adios Barcelona

After a much needed and rewarding sleep, we woke up to a beautiful breakfast provided by our air B&B host: pastries, bananas, and coffee. Once we ate, we said our goodbyes and headed off to explore a little more of Barcelona before going to the airport. We had a tasty coffee on route, went to a few plazas, and the Arc de Triomfe. 

Around 2pm, we took the bus back to the airport to get ready for the next leg of our trip, San Sebastián.  Within an hour, we could see the water, lush green hills, and the sun shining brightly. We took the bus into town, checked into our pension, with the beautiful view, and went to get ourselves acquainted with our new setting. 

We strolled the endless cobble stone streets of old town, watched the sun set along the water, had the most amazing gelato (I of course got the limon!), and then headed off to find some tasty and highly recommended pintxos.   

We walked by several places until deciding upon Atari. The bar was lined with gorgeous, artesian sandwiches. You choose the ones you want to try, share away, and then pay by an honour system. Our six pintxos and two delicious glasses of rioja cost €17! Well worth every penny!

We explored a few more pintxos places throughout the night before heading home.