Day 15 & 16 – The Road to Italy: Marseilles, Nice, and the Cinque Terre.

IMGP0119 After spending some time yesterday at Carcassonne I made my way that night to Marseilles. I arrived pretty late and pretty much go straight to bed.

This part of the trip was an unfortunate necessity. I had to get from Spain to Italy by land. Its not that great a distance but its pretty slow going by train as the fast ones don’t seem to go in the direction I need them to. So I made a few quick stops along the French Riviera to make my way to Italy.

My first stop was Marseilles. There wasn’t much to see in Marseilles, in the area I was in anyway. I could see things off in the distance which looked a little more interesting but didn’t have the time to go there. I had a good walk around before going to pick up my back from the Hostel. When I got there the hostel was locked up and I had to wait an hour for the guy to come back. Not real helpful since I told him what my plans were before I left. I barely made it to my train. Running with 15kgs on your back with a cold is not fun.

I took the train to Nice. I was planning on stopping at Cannes but didn’t make it. I ended up sleeping for about 4 hours once I arrived in Nice. By then it was fairly late. I went for a walk and got to see Nice at night. Its a fairly active place with lots of night life out among all of the little restaurants near the beach.

IMGP0120 I went out again the next morning to have a look around in the day light and find some breakfast. Again not much is open before 8:30am. They have these art displays in the the centre square which are just strange. Glowing kneeling, crouching, or sitting fluoro coloured naked men high on top of poles. Not sure what was going on at the planning meeting for that one.

I was heading the Cinque Terre in Italy today. It is a group of 5 towns on or nestled amongst the cliffs of north western Italy. They look pretty cool in the pictures. They were a long way from Nice though. Another 6 hour train ride. I had hoped to get a hostel closer to them to break the trip up but with both the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix on everything in this area was booked out. Which also made it pretty hard to catch a train out of Nice. I was right after the mass exodus at Monaco and nearly had the whole train to myself all the way to Ventimiglia. The train ride was pretty scenic and follows the coast line pretty closely. So many train stations along here have million dollar views. Ventimiglia had a nice view up to the snow covered mountains but that was about it. I only had 40 min to explore it anyway.

IMGP0170 So back on the train to the Cinque Terre. I was staying at Corniglia which is the 3rd town in the string of 5. Its also the smallest, highest, and dullest. I saw everything there was to see in 5 mins then took the train up to Vernazza which was much nicer and more what I expected out of this area. I got some extremely salty fish and chips for dinner and had a walk around the very small and close knit village. I then took the train down to Riamaggiore and walked along the via del amore up to Manarola. The via del amore is a cliff side path that runs between these two towns and made for some great views. Pretty much the major attraction at the Cinque Terre is walking the paths between the towns. Unfortunately they were all closed (except the via del amore which is a little more well looked after) due to landslides so there were a lot of people, especially at the hostel, twiddling their thumbs and wondering what to do now that they’d come all this way and booked into their hotels. There isn’t a whole lot to do thats for sure.

IMGP0196 So after grabbing some gelati in Manarola I hopped the train back to Corniglia and hiked it up the stairs that scale the cliff side to reach the town. Watched a whole lot of crazy people trying to break world records on italian TV and had an early night. Tomorrow its on to Pisa and Florence with a quick stop in Riomaggiore to see what it looks like in the daylight.

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One Response to Day 15 & 16 – The Road to Italy: Marseilles, Nice, and the Cinque Terre.

  1. Lu2Ar says:

    Always fun to read your journey

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