Italy, Greece · 9 Days · 24 Moments · June 2018

Tuscany and Greek Islands

10 June 2018

Adventure day of travel... transfer via train from  Portovenere to Florence and from there our best laid travel plans began to unravel. 5 hours of progressive delays to our flight, they finally cancelled it (no reason given). Initially they blamed the weather in Florence but after a quick look outside at the stunning day they decided to change their tune. After much frustration we ended up on a 3 hour bus ride to Rome, arriving at 1am. A few hours sleep in the terminal and we eventually boarded our new flight, which was further delayed. Arrived at the hotel in Mykonos at 9am, a little worse for wear but ready for a hard day on the beach at Platys Gialos. Not a bad view start to the day either!

9 June 2018

Our transit horror #firstclass? #youcankeepyourmealvoucher #layingflat #destinationgreece

8 June 2018

A cruisy start to the day with breakfast overlooking the harbour to La Spezia. Took the ferry across to Palmaria. Left the girls sun lounging while Lachie and I did a 2 hour hike around the island. Rough track but some great views and very few tourists. Lots of inaccessible grottoes, old fortifications and World War II gun placements. Southern point had a massive quarry where Michaelangelo sourced all his marble. The goats and seagulls had since claimed dominion over it. Beautiful ridgeline hike to the northern tip looking back over towards Portovenere. Returned to an easy afternoon of reading and music on the patio of the hotel.

7 June 2018

The celebration at the end of our Cinque Terre walk/hike. The last day was a lot easier than the previous day that’s for sure. One slide by Nicky at the end of the walk but otherwise all came away unscathed. Plenty of banter as usual during and ofcourse at the completion after a few well deserved bevvies.
Relaxing evening in Portovenere. Neat castle and fortified church gaurding the entry to the bay. Lots of tourists on the waterfront but almost a ghost town when the ferries depart. Settled in for a celebratory sparkling rosé overlooking the water. A great way to finish the hike.
The hike out of Riomaggiore started with a steady climb out along a winding stone path lined with wild poppies. It was initially slow going as the legs took a while to warm up after yesterday's effort. ... Beautiful cool morning with very few hikers out. After about an hour and a half we reached the top where we stopped at a local cafe. Had the most amazing apricot slice... Stunning tree lined walk out from Telegrafo before joining a narrow path through some local gardens finishing along the ridge until Campiglia. Lunch stop & a focaccia before tackling the final leg of our hike down to Portovenere. Some steep cliff sections but worth the view over the castle and grotto. We were all happy to arrive!

6 June 2018

Evening wandering Riomaggiore... Best seafood!
Track to Manarola was closed so took the higher track. Climb out was tough going but beautiful. Lots of terraces, olives and grapes. It was a hard 5.5km to Manarola. Manarola was my favourite so far, neat rock harbour with people jumping into the deep green water. Train to Riomaggiore, and slow walk up hill to the hotel. The girls were broken...
A few dusty heads today! Not mine thankfully. Another cracking day with a big day of hiking ahead. Left Monterossa for the second of the Cinque Terre, Vernazza. Crippling uphill to sweat out the drinks to start before amazing ridgeline hike. Wild purple orchids and other yellow flowers everywhere. More tourists on the trail. 4km hike to Vernazza, built around a small walled harbour. Castle on the sea wall side. Teeming with tourists (boat just docked when we arrived). Quick cold drink and a bathroom stop before we pushed on to Corniglia. A 7km hike with some challenging ascents and descents. Corniglia was really neat. Sandwich and a gelato on the steps of the church piazza before starting uphill to Manarola.

5 June 2018

Woke up to a stunning day for our hike to Monterossa al Mare. A 6km hike up and south east along the Cinque Terre. Sun was scorching and the views back along the head lands were amazing. Star jasmine and poppies growing wild along the track. Narrow but good trail along the steep coastline. Set a good pace arriving in Monterossa before 1pm. Stone beach dotted with lounge chairs and umbrellas. A cold beer and quick dip to wash the dust off from the hike. Returned for a very long afternoon of lounging beachside. Met a few new friends who helped the evening festivities along... Big beers, good music, great people and best location!

4 June 2018

Arrived at Levanto today to start the walk tomorrow. Enjoyed a leisurely afternoon checking out some bars and exploring the town.
Day three was spent transferring to the coast. After numerous winning hands of sh$t head (a card game) on the train we arrived in Levanto to drizzling rain. Had a delicious seafood pasta lunch with burata and Caprese salad. Not much to do, so after checking in we found a small wine bar and settled in.

3 June 2018

Today’s lunch Amazing Panini with fresh local produce, followed up with an avo spritz 🍹
Day two was all about Firenze. Breakfast on Pitti Piazza before a free walking tour through the touristo maximo zone. Joined the queue to grab a famous Firenze prosciutto, tomatoe, basil and mozzarella sandwich, before trying to talk our way into a private boat club for a drink 😂 The paparazzi were hot on Danny Boy's heels... Great steak at Trattoria Dall'Oste (just get the right restaurant next time team) and evening wine with the sun setting over the city. Pity we had to share the moment with 1000 others & a small colony of biting ants (how's the legs Doogie?)

2 June 2018

Quick walk across the Ponte Vecchio for a tourist selfie, before 40 min van trip to Tuscan countryside. First stop Castillo di Poppiano. The hilltop castle has remained in the same family since it was built in 1199. Tour of the castle winery (Chianti of course) and view from the tower across the rolling hills of vines. Kitted up to ride...
Day 1 Bike tour through Tuscany. Beautiful easy ride to start with, a few wines (possibly too many) before tackling a 1 mile hill climb. Lachie and Reece powered up the hill whilst Nicky and Liz thought about their wine consumption over lunch. Great day out! #nohandbrakes
Riding was easy, mainly downhill, through small villages. Arrived at lunch stop where we knocked back a carafe or two of the local vino. Rode to bottom of hill without incident (surprisingly). Solid 1 mile climb where the chit chat died. Was fairly tough in the sun with a stomach full of pasta and red wine... On the plus, we were all sober by the time we reached the top. #safetyfirst Doogie remained with #liverintact. Evening walk through the touristo maximo zono before vino in a cool little laneway bar. Tourist-trap pizza and an early night!

1 June 2018

Arrived late evening in Florence! Awesome Airbnb apartment with rooftop. A relaxed pasta dinner with a couple of local Chianti. Morning run through the waking streets. A great start to the day. Amazing piazzas and alleys with not a soul around. Off for biking trip through wine region.