Addio Cycling, Buongiorno Bellissimo Italia
1 – 10 July 2018
It took us a little while to adjust from the pace and routine of cycling each day. We caught the overnight train to Italy which allowed us to see the amazing alps along the way and enjoy a surprisingly good nights sleep. We especially enjoyed the free sparkling and snacks in our cabin.
We were happy to arrive in Levanto and after a quick swim and look around, we knew we were going to enjoy the welcome break for the next 9 days. I was already picturing my daily run and swim, morning coffee and evening drink on the beach. I wasn’t too far wrong. Basically it was run/hike, swim, eat, drink…repeat. The adjustment period into this new routine did not take too long.
We also loved staying in Levanto. It felt more Italian than the touristy Cinque Terra towns, with more space and beach options for us staying for so long. A great find and I highly recommend.
A few highlights:
Runs along the cycle route towards Bonassola. An awesome route along the coast through the old rail tunnels. *I especially enjoyed the swim after in my favourite little cove.
Our *daily coffee at Bar Barolono, it felt really Italian and we became locals there. We are now drinking espresso macchiato.
We loved the hike between the Cinque Terra villages. We especially enjoyed the walk from Levanto to Monterosso which had amazing views and was very quiet compared to the main route between the towns. The main Cinque Tera towns, although beautiful were very crowded and the walking tracks were the same. We enjoyed visiting them but were happy at the end of the day to get back to Levanto. My personal favourite town was Corniglia but everyone enjoys different towns for different reasons. Corniglia has very steep steps to/from the station, buyer beware!
We had another hike up the mountain at the back of Levanto which felt like we were the first people on the track in months. It was overgrown and was very isolated but the views were fantastic and we enjoyed the quiet. It was really hot so we only managed a few hours before making our way back home. Paul wasn’t quite sure how he had agreed to this ‘little’ walk.
We watched a few games of the World Cup football at Contro Vento. It had such a festive vibe and we became locals at this little bar just behind the beach.
We enjoyed *practicing our basic Italian at the deli just across the road which tempted us with their delicious pecorino, meats and olives which became our daily ‘go to’ food items. The couple who ran it worked such long hours and were so friendly.
Daily pre-dinner beers at Piper Bar on the beach. We loved their free snacks of pizza and olives that came with each drink. And such picture perfect views thrown in as well. Bonus!
Our favourite pizza restaurant was Pizzeria Bruna in Piazza Staglieno (the main town square). And our favourite pasta and seafood restaurant was Da Tapulin. It had a blue fence so we lovingly referred to it as ‘blue fence’. Their spaghetti and seafood dish was amazing
And finally, and definitely one of my favourite things was to end each day with a *gelato for dessert sitting on the beach watching the sun go down. Fabulous!
* Finding Wilson
‘For us to go to Italy and to penetrate into Italy is like a most fascinating act of self-discovery’