Today was our travel day from France to Italy. We could not take our rental car over which would have been the easiest way, since we learned that there would be a $1000 fee for taking it into Italy and leaving it there. We decided that turning the car back in to the office in Nice made sense and then we would take the train into Italy. Since we turned the car in yesterday we just had to get up and take the tram to the train station. Everything went well with the train and the transfer of the train on the border of Italy to continue to Genoa. Since it is Sunday, we could not rent a car at the train station and had to get to airport instead because that was the only open office.
We had the option of dragging all our luggage into a bus after figuring out the bus schedule and then waiting for it or we could go the easier and not that much more expensive route, take a cab. We opted for the latter and that was a decision worth every penny. We did pay 25 Euros for about a 15 minute cab ride but it took us right to the door of the Hertz car rental and we were on our way again within an hour.
We had thought of staying to explore Genoa but it is a working port city, sort of rough looking and with no real tourist sites open on a Sunday so we moved down the Italian coast to La Spezia, a charming town headed to the Cinque Terre area. We walked around a bit and had a drink there. An item of note; in France you order a glass of wine or a beer and that is exactly what you get. In Italy, you order a glass of wine or a beer and you get your drink, a bowl of potato chips, some roasted peanuts and a plate of small pieces of pizza and little meat sandwiches. All for the price of the drinks (at least in La Spezia). Welcome to Italy!
We looked around for a room while having our drink and small dinner and found a place that was pretty cheap in an area outside of La Spezia called Lerici.
This is the Lerici port with an ancient castle looming above.
Lerici is an overlooked but very picturesque town right on the Mediterranean and we had lucked into booking a room there. Super cute place, pastel houses crowded onto the hills like you’d find in Cinque Terre but without the tons of tourists. We hardly heard another English speaker while there. The place is popular with Italians but the Americans seem to have not found it yet, if you’re going anytime soon, give it a look, it’s worth it. We had dinner there and breakfast the next morning, the prices reflected the lack of American presence.
The view from the morning coffee spot. Gorgeous!