Finishing Out Florence & Getting to Monterosso

Today was the final day that we had as the Meyer/Meyer/Hokin party before the elder Meyers returned to Rome for their return back to Atlanta. Debbie and I enjoyed whatever was left at the breakfast buffet as we arrived too late before making our way over to the hotel to meet Julie and my parents for some morning shopping before our final lunch together.

The mothers were intent on finding a few leather items so we made our way down the streets, from shop to shop, looking for the right retail establishments to not harass us while we perused the collections. We ended up finding a nice little shop on the side street where everyone seemed to get what they want—the mothers some various items (that they likely overpaid for but they were happy) and me a little credit card holder/wallet for back home bargained down (I think appropriately).

We then continued to walk around as I decided that I wanted to get a little weekender bag. Given that quality wasn’t at the top of the list since I wanted to spend <$100 USD, I entered the lions den of leather alley to engage in the haggling. The bags were all the same and likely coming from the same vendor, so when I was initially offered a bag at 280 euro and ultimately paid 85 for it, I felt like I had accomplished my mission (if I like it, I’ll likely get a nice one for the next major gift occasion).

With the shopping finally complete, we made our way back to the parents hotel to meet for a final good-bye lunch. We found a little shop near the hotel that was kind of a counter-service establishment that had plenty of seating out back for us all. The food wasn’t necessarily the greatest but we were in a rush and between that, the proximity to the hotel, and the ability to sit together, everything seemed to work out just fine.

Post lunch, Debbie and I went on a gelato mission to what, in much walking around Florence, we had deemed the best gelato and we were right. We each thoroughly enjoyed our gelatos that not only had great flavors but also excellent craftmanship and construction in pulling everything together.

We made our way back to our hotel, checked out, and made the 10-minute walk to the train station meeting back up with the Hokin and Meyer parental parties. We said our final goodbyes again and took Julie/Dan with us to the train path headed to Cinque Terre’s Monterosso.

Unlike our prior train experience from Rome to Florence where we had assigned seats and ample space for luggage, today’s 3 trains were all free-for-all, with nowhere dedicated for our party nor the plethora of baggage that the four of us had. We were able to take over the corner of the entry door to stack all of the luggage on the first train and while everyone else was seated, I stood guard over the bags. The second train was a little more successful in getting to find a seat for us and the bags. The final train, a 25 minute experience through Cinque Terre was actually one of the hardest to pull together since the trains were very crowded and not as large as before.

We found a cab to take us from the station to the hotel and checked in to our very tiny rooms for the following nights. Before heading out, we took our welcome bottle of champagne downstairs to meet Julie and Dan and make plans for the subsequent days together. The hotel was kind enough to arrange a dinner reservation for us since we didn’t know where to go and they picked a winner.

Situated right on the water, our restaurant was in a fort-looking establishment and had tons of seafood, something that we hadn’t had a lot of since we arrived in Italy. While we did kick the meal off with two pastas, we had lovely main courses of two different types of whole fish (seabass and sea bream) as well as a Duck l’orange.

Post dinner, we made the slow stroll back to the hotel not before capping off the evening with gelato for Julie and Dan (and maybe me too). We’re excited for our day tomorrow as we aim to explore as much of Cinque Terre as we can!

Note—the internet here is pretty terrible so not sure how many photos we’re going to get uploaded during these next 2-3 days

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