11.05.2011 - 11.05.2011 23 °C
Our plane met the ground (rather bumpily) at 0320. A shuttle met us on the tarmac and we raced towards the baggage terminal. We gathered our things, put on our coats, brushed out teeth and waited (this time without any batteries in the computer) in the terminal. Our bus was to arrive at 0510. We drank some espresso and did a little bit of dancing to keep ourselves awake. The janitor was spinning around fast on the ride-on floor cleaner so we entertained ourselves with that as well.
The bus showed on time and I struggled to stay awake (I’m paranoid of missing stops!) while we sped though the narrow streets of Milan. 50km later we reached the central train station in Milan. It was 0550 and we knew the train we were supposed to catch was at 0610. We stood in line for 10 minutes before we got to the counter, we asked “Which train to Riomaggiore?” and the man just stared and said, in perfect English, “I don’t speak english” We stared back, not believing our luck. He pointed to his tag with a little italian flag “no english” he said. He needed a british flag to speak english, we were out of time, we couldn’t wait again, so we ran off in a huff for the railway terminal. We saw only one train left at 0610, so we jumped on it. The empty train brought us Bergamo, a small town outside Milan exactly an hour later. We asked at the ticket desk how to get to Riomaggiore and he told us to go back to Milan. He printed out a schedule with a few connecting trains.
The train was very full this time. It took another hour to get back, which left us with 8 minutes to find the next train to Genoa. We found this one just on time and slipped into an empty compartment. We flipped up the arm rests, set the alarm on the clock for 1030 and slept for an hour and twenty minutes. We got into Genoa with 10 minutes to spare. We raced down to the subway trying to figure out wether our passes covered regional trains. We hopped on and tried very hard to stay awake for the next hour and fifty-five minutes. Each stop we looked around trying to see if it was ours. While we were on this train we realized that the Canadian flags we had so dilligently sown on our packs were both missing. We knew they had been on there before our flight and now they were gone. we are going to go ahead and blame the cranky Italians for this one. Eventually, at 1255, we got there. We took our packs (they felt more like 50kgs than 15kgs by now) and started uphill. We made a few wrong turns but eventually we found our room on top of it all, with views from our patio over the village and to the ocean. For 50 euros we are thrilled with what we got.
Shane slept immediately, I tried to but couldn’t. I got up and showered (my, my did that ever feel nice) and slipped into town, acquired a map and tried to find some food. We hadn’t eaten since the night before, save for a granola bar we found in Shane’s pack and a small bag of chocolate covered nuts, all our connections were to close to find food! I had only my visa (because Shane hid the money somewhere) and nowhere could I use it for purchases under 15 euros. I walked back up the stairs (made for giants!!!) and fell into bed.
I awoke at 1830 (6:30pm.) I dragged Shane from his slumber and sent him to the shower. We walked down into the village and ate an amazing dinner of stuffed anchovies, gnocchi with the local pesto, seafood pasta (with octopus, mussels and clams) and lemon sorbet, complete with a bottle of white wine from here in the Cinque Terre. It felt so nice to have a great dinner (especially after not eating all day) with beautiful weather and great company!
After dinner, we bought some fruit for the following day and we walked back up the stairs (eeeek!). We paused on a bench at the top of it all and watched the night grow darker, listening to the birds chirping and the waves crashing on the rocks far below us, a perfect end to the two days that never were.