Continuing on from Part 1 of my Europe Trip to Paris, my next stop on the map was Italy.
So from Paris we hopped on a plane to Genoa, and from there took a train to our destination, which was the gorgeous Cinque Terre region on the upper-ish west coast of Italy.
For anyone who does not yet know, I only travel in cabin when flying. Mum and Dad don’t have the heart to put me through the stress of traveling in cargo, and plus we never need to anyway since I’m small enough and under 15 pounds (ie. I meet the requirements for going in cabin).
A wonderful thing about Italy is that dogs are allowed in trains. I’m not sure about the US, but in Canada our train system does not allow dogs on trains unless they’re in a crate in the cargo car. Seems silly considering even planes allow dogs in small bags. It’s old fashioned thinking if you ask me – or perhaps here in Italy is the old-fashioned way – in which case, the old fashioned way is better.
Anyway, when we finally arrived in the Cinque Terre, I was taken away by the majestic coastline. Cinque Terre means obviously, 5 lands, since there are 5 distinct little villages on the coast in this region.
We were staying in the one known as Manarola (seen above).
I was also very pleased to see that the home Mum and Dad rented for me was pretty much the best location in the town.
As you can imagine, I was excited to go see the place.
So without a moment to lose, I took off, leading the way through the crowds and down across the old pier.
After a long day of lugging around baggage – or in my case, being lugged around, the view was definitely worth it.
And check out this sundeck overhanging the cliff face!
Cinque Terre is best known for its picturesque seaside villages, but also the beautiful hiking trails that connect them.
So the next day we didn’t waste any time in hitting the trail.
The trails carved their way up the steep valley slopes, winding their way through vineyards and olive trees and lemon groves, sometimes easy going, and sometimes very steep with seemingly endless flights of large stone steps.
I couldn’t help but imagine myself in another time, climbing these stone stairase everyday to reach my little vineyard patch, tending and caring for it until the grape harvest and then carrying the bounty down in a large woven basket.
Ok – maybe I was just a dog in that time who watched all the people do that..
When we reached a point in the path of many steps, Dad would carry me in his sling bag so I wouldn’t have to strain my back going up or down.
As much as I like to break trail, sometimes it’s nice to hitch a ride and see Mum and Dad pant and sweat like a couple work horses.
But alas, the views from the top were something to take your breath away.
We would always end up somewhere different and intersting, too.
One day it was the beautiful beach at Monterosso… And not wanting to miss any of the fun, I hit the beach in my speedo, doing my best to fit in with the European crowd.
And yes, there’s plenty wiener jokes to be made here, so I’ll leave those to you, but just keep in mind that looking this good is never a joke.
But let’s just say if there was an award for best looking wiener in a speedo, I knocked it
out of the park off the beach.
Most of the time we’d end up in another one of the five villages. I made sure to take a selfie to remember each! This one below is Riomaggiore!
Along the walks, it wasn’t uncommon to come across a unique place to strike a pose and snap a photo.
Heck, one time I even found myself in front of an ancient castle tower that once protected this little town (Vernazza) from marauding pirates of the Mediterranean!
After those long walks and hot beaches, we often treated ourselves to something cool and refreshing when we got back.
And when in Italy, how better else to do so than to enjoy a yummy gelato!
In my Europe Trip Part 1 I had mentioned how wonderfully dog-friendly Paris is. However, some people had warned us Italy was not as dog friendly, so Mum and Dad were not sure what to expect. Well so far, I have to say Italy might just be even more dog friendly! It seems I’m
allowed appreciated everywhere here (as it should be!)
When Mum went to make a reservation at the best-rated resturant in the area, she asked if I was allowed to come along, just to double check. The owner of the restaurant replied that he preferred dogs over people.
So there you have it…
Even though hiking and wandering through villages is a wonderful way to explore, there’s really no other way to experience the full grandeur of Cinque Terre than with a boat tour.
We chose to go with a friendly, very enthusiastic local man named Stefano and his boat, the Matilde. That’s his boat behind me!
So away we went on our old fishing boat-turned tour boat, along the steep rocky coastline from Monterosso down to Porto Venere with our guide and captain, Stefano.
Now I know what you’re thinking – how could I possibly NOT be the captain? Well, it was hard for me, I’ll admit, but since it was Stefano’s boat, I agreed to be his second sailor in command.
Besides, I’m on vacation after all!
It’s pretty much the only way you’ll be able to enjoy the landscape from THIS perspective – as if YOU were one of the marauding bands of pirates sailing up on one of the harbors…
As we approached Porto Venere (around the other side of the castle wall shown above), I couldn’t resist running up onto the bow to get a closer look!
We took a little time ashore, where I went to get a closer look at that castle and church.
I know it’s hard to look past the handsome object in the window, but if you can, there’s a pretty nice view out and beyond.
And don’t worry, that’s not a cliff on the other side of that window, but if there were, I wouldn’t be scared.
All in all, the boat tour is necessary for exploring the 5 lands! However, the best activity we did was actually inland – and at a quarry – which sounds boring right?!
Well, you’d be wrong.
Here I stand upon a piece of the finest marble in the world, from one of the largest marble quarries in the world – Carrara!
In fact, these whole mountains are made of marble, and were first quarried by the ancient Romans.
But I didn’t just come here on a frivalous whim when looking for something to do. No, I had important intentions in coming here. If you recall from my Europe Trip Part 1, I spoke to the idea of having my own statue…
Originally I thought it should be made of something flashy, like gold. But my statue needs to be made of masterpiece-worthy material; something of unparalleled quality and with a rich history.
And what better than the very same marble that Michelangelo used to carve the statue David?!
So while throwing a couple poses to get myself in the mood, I began my search for just the right slab of marble that should become my statue!
“Ah, that one over there”, I called!
“This one seems to be of sufficient size to represent the scale of my character, charizma, and charm!”
I asked the tour guide how much this one would be. “80,000 euros you say? Not a problem. Mum, Dad, put it on my black card would you? Then stick it atop the truck and let’s take this baby home!”
Mum and Dad looked a little shocked – but then again, that’s the impression I’m going for. They said they’d “get right on it“.
Now that that’s taken care of I just need to find this Mr. Angelo fellow…
Stay tuned for Part 3 of my Europe Trip which continues in Italy, where Chef Crusoe prepares a delicious Italian treat and I move on to the gorgeous Lake Como in Northern Italy.
Enjoy Part 2? Please “like” this post! (Big numbers motivate me).