Friday, 30 April 2010

La Spezia

We tendered in La Spezia on yet another beautiful day with sunny blue skies. Again, we had to make a difficult decision and opted to go to Cinque Terre instead of Pisa and Florence. Once we made it off the tender, it was off to catch the first ferry of the day to the Cinque Terre.

Giorgio Armani's boat

It was a relaxing 2 hour ferry ride on calm, nearly flat seas. We had great views, going past Portovenere and the first four villages of the Cinque Terre. We alighted at Monterosso and worked our way back toward La Spezia via train. The next stop was Vernazza, one of the prettiest village out of the five, where we had lunch. We had the specialties of the area which included trofie with pesto, ravioli with walnut sauce and a scrumptious seafood spaghetti. We hadn’t quite stuffed ourselves so we ordered two more rounds of ravioli and seafood spaghetti . And of course, we couldn’t have a day in Italy without the obligatory gelato.
The church at Monterroso
Vernazza, where we had lunch
Next up was Manarola, from which we walked along Via Dell’Amore to Riomaggiore. Unfortunately we weren’t feeling too amorous after lugging Jonah along the cliffside cobblestones, but we could still enjoy the beautiful view. From there, it was another train ride to La Spezia. By the time we arrived at the station, my legs had had enough of walking! The last 20 minute walk back to the harbour to return to the ship was an effort. I was glad that the next day would be a day at sea! All plans to watch the magician got abandoned once I put Jonah down for bed after dinner. I was too exhausted. I later discovered that Elliot was chosen to go on stage and was the star of the show. He was so chuffed! The magic set that he was given also helped. He is now famous on the ship. One American kid came up to him and, in an accent straight from TMNTs, said “Elliot you rock! That was awesome dude!”

I can’t believe I completely forgot to write our experience at Palo 4 days ago! So many people rave about it and some think that its over-rated. Most of the reviews are by Americans. Not really knowing the difference between the American palate and the Australian, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Having now been to Palo myself for brunch and dinner, I can say that I am in the camp for Palo being worth going to. The food was definitely much better than the meal served at the regular dining table. Our server was cheeky and cheerful without being overbearing or in our face. I tried the famous chocolate soufflé. Although it was delicious, dare I say that I think the Max Brenner chocolate soufflé is better...

All in all, we really enjoyed our dining experience at Palo and would definitely go back on our next cruise. My challenge now is to figure out how to make reservations for a party of 9...

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