We attended an Easter church service at St. James in Florence, which is the church Chris went to when he lived there. It was in English and in a pretty church with a small, nice congregation. I have been missing church so it was definitely good to be in one for an actual service for once.
We saw some friends in the train station on the way to Cinque Terre. It was hilarious because we were leaving for Cinque Terre as they arrived in Florence, but they were SO tired they didn't even recognize us at first. They had stayed up for the whole night instead of paying for a hostel room! Basically everyone in the Baylor group was passing through Florence at the halfway point of our month of travel-- we ran into three groups of students! That is one of the coolest things- bumping into people you know in a country where you don't even speak the language.
Though we made sure to avoid Rome for Easter, we forgot that other places would have different schedules that day as well. So, when we arrived in La Spezia, a town outside of the "five cities" of Cinque Terre hiking area, we waited, waited, waited for a bus. We camped out at the bus stop for hours. Long story short, our hostel hosts had to come pick us up. Our hostel was among the mountains and thus too far for a walk.
We were determined to get some hiking in, so we took a train to Cinque Terre and hiked the Via dell'Amore as the sun set. On the train, we passed through mountains so every few minutes a gap would emerge where we could look out and see the pure ocean. I loved everyone's reaction to the gorgeous clear water so I took their pictures instead...
The entire national park has a hiking trail directly on the side of the mountains, along the coast.
The views are stunning! We all met up with Kathy, who was still resting up, at a Rick Steves' recommended restaurant for our last night :( in Italy.
It did not disappoint. Cinque Terre is known as the birthplace of pesto. I'm not a pesto fan so I had some delicious spaghetti with vegetables...perfect! The funny thing was that Rick Steves' picture was posted outside the entrance, and after we talked with the super nice hostess who was helping to accommodate our large group, we walked back outside and she noticed that the picture had somehow disappeared. "Rick Steves! He's gone!" she exclaimed. After dinner we settled along the quiet port and enjoyed the peaceful sound of ocean waves.