Akhmal Travels: Cinque Terre, Italy

Ciao readers. 

Sorry for that delay. Was resting all day now that I'm in Brunei Hall for two nights before my next travel destination. That jet lag though.

Cinque Terre (pronounced Sing-ke-ter-re).

Quite honestly, I didn't know its existence before coming here, but my friends insisted on going. I didn't know what to expect, so, my expectation was low, until a friend told me that it's more or less the Italian version of Santorini (now we're talking).

We went to Cinque Terre after Pisa on the same day. So it was only an afternoon trip. We stayed overnight in Pisa.

As per usual, we took the regional train from Pisa to La Spezia (the starting point to go to the five towns - literally "cinque (five)" & "terre (town)" them being Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Manarola, Vernazza & Monteresso al Mare.

An all day ticket costs 12 euros to have an access to all five towns. But let me tell you something I haven't mentioned in my previous posts: The trains are not strict in terms of checking your train ticket in Italy, ESPECIALLY regional trains. We took an advantage over that, of course. We bought ONE WAY ticket to Monteresso al Mare (the furthest amongst all five towns) for 2.50 euros, instead of a return ticket. Guess what? they didn't check our tickets AND we stopped by Manarola  (Town 3) & Vernazza (Town 4) along the way. LOL!

First town we visited was Manarola.

And how colourful the place was! Certainly I didn't expect it. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by the vast Ligurian Sea and thank god it was sunny. The view was breathtaking!

You can see that there are people who took the opportunity to go half naked and have a tan or cliff dive. So I decided to go ahead and do it.

why not?


But I did go down there though.

Next stop: Vernazza & Monteresso al Mare

Just like Manorola, the buildings were colourful and more half naked goodness. Vernazza was a good place to see the sunset though. We did meet a fellow group of Bruneians here and they stayed for the sunset. As for us, we went to the fifth town.

Beautiful, is it not? This one has the beach, unlike the two. Unfortunately, the nearby hill was covering the sunset. The sky was still beautiful though. I really had a moment alone here despite the cold wind blowing across my face every second. My heart was ice cold anyway, I deserved it (HAHAHAHAHA!).

It was worth a day trip, although our train back to Pisa was delayed for 2 hours. Some tourists we talked to also experienced a 4-hour delay in the morning. Both occasions were due to people committing suicide on the train track. We wanted to take the 7pm train but ended up taking the 10pm train because of the delay. Now, it was probably the dodgiest train ride I've ever had, I was so scared. Drunkards were there and the homeless were trying to board the train. If it wasn't for the train operator, I don't even know. It's not entirely safe to go around ALONE late at night.

Even in our 3 minutes walk from Pisa train station to our hotel was scary. Note that we arrived at 11pm in Pisa where we stayed overnight. We were almost chased down by a homeless person, even! It was a scary experience.

Survival tips for Cinque Terre & Pisa, Italy:
1) Travel smart - if you're lucky and by looking at the situation, you can skip buying the train tickets. You can also buy in the train if the operator happens to check your ticket. This also happened in most of our train travels. Our tickets were not checked, although we booked them earlier.
2) Do NOT travel alone at night, wherever you are, especially small cities. My experience here was scary.
3) Sun block, you guys. I underestimated the sun. Got sunburnt.

Nevertheless, the trips afterward were safe. That being said, can't wait to blog my next and second last destination in Italy: VENICE!


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