From Lucca, in the heart of Tuscany we boarded a train for about a 1:50 hour trip to the small city of La Spezia, in the province of Liguiria and the gateway to the Italian Riviera. We were most excited about visiting this area after watching Rick Steve’s videos on the Cinque Terre about a dozen times and it did not disappoint.
We arrived to the most spectacular weather for mid December. It was 15-16 degrees Celsius everyday and sunny without a cloud in the sky. It turned out to be a fantastic time to view this area as we didn’t have the crowds that inundate this area in the summer, it was like our own private viewing. The weather gods were on our side as the locals told us they got hit with quite a bit of snow on Dec.17th four years previous although unusual for the area. The only downfall was it wasn’t quite warm enough to swim although we did see an older couple rocking a speedo and bikini for a swim by Portofino. We were so tempted as the beautiful blue waters were calling us and it seemed warm in comparison to the Rocky Mountain lakes like Windermere that we’ve dipped our toes into in the summer.
Click to read more and open our video below from our visit to the Cinque Terre. Scroll down to continue reading about everything you need to know about visiting the Cinque Terre.
Today there are more options that ever to keep in touch with home, cheaply and on demand. We did a lot of research on this and I think have some great options for long or short term travelers. These aren’t all of them but all you’ll need, depending on the length of time you will be traveling will dictate some of the best options.
For 2 or 3 weeks the easiest option would be to just get an international add-on package through your cell phone provider, in Canada these are usually at about $5 per day. So 3 weeks would add up to $105 but if you are away longer this begins to get cost prohibitive. We are planning to be away for a year so this just wasn’t an option and we had to find more suitable means. For our 10 months away we had a cell phone for local calls, a Magic Jack for calling home (banking, business, social calls), an Ipad for Facetime with the kids and a laptop for Skypeing and using the Magic Jack with friends and family. Below is an explanation of these options.
Yesterday we visited the famed Stirling Castle and had the first opportunity to use our Historical Sites Membership card so entry was free, or included in the cost of the pass. There are a number of ways to save money on entrance into the historical sites, the best option depends on your travel scenario.