Road trip time
Cinque Terre in Italy has been on Goblinettes list for a long time. Five colorfull villages on the north-east coast of Italy were waiting to be discovered. We could get there from Slovenia in one day,but we decided on driving shorter distances every day and slowly exploring Italy.
Getting around the five villages
Walk trough part of the five villages
Coastal path trough Cinque Terre can be theoretically walked in a few hours. It is 12 km long. Sadly, some parts are closed for renovation. We were looking forward to views from the famous Path of love from Riomaggiore to Manarola, but it is due to open in 2018. Repairs are going on from 2011.
See villages from the sea
Boat trips are very popular. During the trip we saw some very crowded ones and were happy we were not on any of them. You can stop in every village or chose a more direct line.
Ride the train
You can get a Cinque Terre train card (entrance for walking paths included) or pay for train tickets while you go. Note that in the beggining ob May there were long lines for the train ticket machines. With the train card you could go of the train in every coastal village, look around, maybe get a snack or a drink and return to the station. Ideally. This might work before the tourist season starts. We walked around Riomaggiore and spent some time on the beach in Monterosso al Mare. Trains were packed and getting of and back on was an adventure by itself.
Cinque Terre train ride with the baby
Carriers, not strollers
Lil’Goblin was carried around in his Onya carrier. That made it a lot easier to get around. We also saw families with baby prams on the train. It looked a lot of work. Dad would carry the luggage of the train, mum the toddler and his big brother was trying to get the empty pram of the train. Our goblin pack was three goblins only, baby included, so we left the stroller at home.
We waited a bit for the crowd to leave the platform and where back early enough to wait for next boarding in shade of the tunnel. We soon learned that when boarding shouting ”bimbi” (child in Italian) helps. Most people give way to mums with adorable little babies, furthermore they ride for free until they are 4 years old.
There are children playgrounds in every village and small children running around in small village squares. Lil’Goblin was to small to join them. He was content with eating the sand on the Monterosso beach and smiling to everyone on the train.
Baby on board
We packed way to much clothes for this tip. Most was baby size. Beginning of May in Italy is usually warm and dry. We did pack our bathing suits, but it was still a bit too chilly for our tastes. Lil’Goblin was a perfect passenger. He ate, played and sleept most of the time on the road.
We explored Italian baby changing facilities on rest areas on the highway. We heard Italians like babies. They really do. One stop even provided free test nappies. When we entered restaurants someone would run to us and bring baby chair. In hotel, all stuff smiled at him and ladies were mesmerized by his cuteness. If you want to be treated like a star in Italy, bring a baby.
Italian food and paying for ”servizio”
As budget travelers, we did do some cooking. Local asparagus with eggs and prosciutto was one of our quick dinners. We mixed Airbnbs with kitchens with hotel rooms. Most cafes in Italy offer small sandwiches or “dolce” – something sweet like a croissant, so we didn’t have to starve on national holidays. Our first Airbnb host sent us to Esselunga store to get food. They had everything and more, hence go only when you have time to spare.
Restaurants in Italy like to charge extra for service, bread or just for using the table. We thought we learned to avoid extra charges on our numerous trips to Italy, but locals were smarter again. Since asparagus lasagna and pasta were heavenly good, we happily paid for all extra small additions on the bill, even trough we had no idea what they were.
Italy in May
We loved Cinque Terre national park. Next time we will do more hiking and less train rides. It is also less busy during the week and before the summer holidays start. Booking rooms well in advance is a good idea, since budget ones sell out soon. We mixed some Airbnb apartments with hotel rooms we found on Booking.com. In La Specia we stayed in a tattoo studio turned into comfy stylish apartment, but that is another long story.
Since goblins love to travel, but usually do it on a budget, we use Airbnb. By using this link to subscribe, you get discount on your first trip, and we get one on our next. If you are not into Airbnb, here is a 10% percent discount on your next booking. Travel as much as you can.