• Travel Stories
  • Travel Guide: Day Trip to Cinque Terre,Italy

    The laidback style of Italy’s Cinque Terre made this area a must-see, same as Rome, Florence, and Venice. Cinque Terre is comprised of 5 small towns in the region of Liguria, which is just above Tuscany. It is a National Park and territory protected by UNESCO. It is characterized with colorful towns and terraced agricultural land.

     

    How to Take There:

    Florence to Cinque Terre

    It takes approximately 2.5- 3 hours each way for travel from Florence to Cinque Terre. I booked a random trip when I was in Florence through an organized travel group going to Cinque Terre. But if you’re more of an adventurous type, you can do it yourself.  To travel to Cinque Terre by train from Florence, take a train departing from Firenze S. M. Novella. You can purchase tickets online from the Trenitalia or Italo website or at the ticket window at the train station.

    Once in Cinque Terre, take a Regionale Train to La Spezia Centrale. From there, take a local train to Riomaggiore which is the first town of the Cinque Terre.

    Cinque Terre is magical; I wish I could have stayed at least for a night. It is a kind of place that needs to be taken slowly, allowing you to enjoy all the five villages and have enough time to see the sophisticated side of the area.

    Getting Around:

    The easiest way to travel between the villages is through a train. The train line connects all villages, so it is easy to go around the area. Cinque Terre pass covers all the train travel between La Spezia and Levanto including the hiking fees.  The card has discounts on museums and if you wish to stay overnight to some of the registered hospitality providers.

    When I was there, I visited the villages by hiking. It is one of the best things to do in Cinque Terre. It is the best and cheapest way to go around. If you want to stay overnight, it is bit expensive. But with the beautiful views, it will take your breath away. and it is one of my favorite places in Italy.

    The Five Villages

    Though every village is picturesque, each has its flair and beauty.

    Riomaggiore

    Riomaggiore is the largest of all five villages and acts as Cinque Terre’s unofficial capital. It is the village nearest to La Spezia and the easiest to reach.

    Manarola is a one- street town with a small area where you can swim. It is similar to Riomaggiore with a chill vibe and atmosphere.

     

     

     

    Corniglia

    Corniglia is the smallest of the five villages. It is the least popular with tourists since it is the hardest village to get reach.

     

     

     

     

    Vernazza is the most famous and picturesque villages in Cinque Terre.  There are a small piazza and little boats on the harbor, mysterious alleys, multicolored red, yellow and pink houses.

     

     

    Monterosso

    Monterosso, Cinque Terre’s only resort town with hotels, restaurants, wine shops and a thriving late-night scene. It has the best beaches of the Cinque Terre villages. You can also visit the ruins of a 16th – century castle built as a defense system after a Saracen attack.

     

     

     

    Tips:

    1. Be prepared to walk. Hiking is the major activity there. The different towns are hilly, so it is common you will walk a lot. Make sure to wear a comfortable shoes or sandals for hiking and walking.
    2. The hiking trails are quite challenging. Bring a bottle of water. Wear a hat and sunscreen on summer time.
    3. Buy a Cinque Terre Pass. It provides access to all the trails plus and wifi at each train stations. It can be purchased in any stations in Cinque Terre or at the checkpoint of each trail. It cost around 12 EURO/ 14 USD/ 5 OMR/ 700 PHP for a day.

    Have you been to Cinque Terre, Italy? Tell us your experience. Share in the comments below. 

  • Expat Life
  • The Ultimate Moving Abroad Checklist

    So, you finally made what possibly is one of your biggest and most crucial decisions in life – to move not just to a new place but one that is a thousand miles away from home sweet home – a totally different country where a multitude of experiences await. How exciting the thought must be! But on top of all the delight and anticipation come anxiety and nervousness because you feel that everything is still in limbo. To help you ease the nerves and to help you see to it that plans run smoothly, here’s a list of things to be done and points to be considered several bloggers think would be of valuable use to you – The Ultimate Moving Abroad Checklist.

    Tip #1: Bring with you all the necessary paperwork

    You need to make sure that you have all of the paperwork you need to enter the country that you are moving to. These documents include your birth certificate, a copy of your diploma, certificate of employment, professional license, driver’s license, other certificates from training you attended, etc. Create and store both virtual and paper copies of important documents. Make sure to write down essential usernames, passwords and pin for important accounts – just be cautious when you make a copy as these should be maintained top secret. Put these files aside when packing and keep them with you when you travel.

    Tip #2: Amass supplies of prescribed medicines before moving

    If you are taking prescribed medications, dietary supplements or used to taking over-the-counter medications, make sure that you are going to have access to your medication when you arrive in your country of destination. It may be difficult to find a doctor or the medicine you are taking when you move to the new place. It may also be more expensive as compared to the ones you usually buy from your home country. Since you will be in an adjustment period, make sure to stock up medications for emergency reasons. These include Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Band-Aids, Loperamide (anti-Diarrheal), Laxatives and or a first aid kit.

    Tip #3: Research thoroughly

    The importance of researching your new country down to the last detail cannot be underestimated. Read up on cultural differences, the weather, economy, employment options, cost of living, local customs, food, appropriate manners, religion, etc. Getting a preview of the actual experience by means of studying and researching will also help you better transition into an international culture.

    Tip #4: Organize your belongings

    Determine the things that you need in your country of destination and stuff that you may want to get rid of. You may want to leave behind items that are bulky such as large items of furniture. When packing clothes, take into consideration the seasons so if a piece of clothing may not be as useful, just leave it. Keep in mind that not everything you own will be suitable for the new country. Remember, the more baggage you take with you, the more expensive your shipping costs will be if you decide to ship your items through international movers.

    Tip #5: Sell or give away items that you don’t need

    In relation to No. 3, you may want to consider finding new owners who will love your old items that you won’t be able to use when you move. By taking out online advertisements or having a garage sale, not only are you able to declutter, thus allowing more space for more important items, you also get to collect cash to help you set up at your new home. Donating things to charity is an option, too.

    Tip #6: Obtain contact information

    Family, friends, colleagues and other people belonging to your network will need to touch base with you before and after the move. If possible, get a cell phone that works both at home and in the new country. Alternatively, you can have an email account that you can access wherever you are in the globe. Social media sites such as Facebook help you stay in touch with your loved ones, too!

    Tip #7: Start moving your finances

    Close or transfer home bank accounts. If you intend to maintain a savings account, notify your bank of your new address and ask them how to manage your savings account while you’re abroad so you won’t have to pay tax.

    Do a research on banks available in your new country. Set up relevant accounts that help you move your money easily between your home account and your account overseas. Make sure that you have an emergency fund to accommodate fees to cover when first arriving in your new country.

    Tip #8: Bring along memorabilia of home

    While limiting yourself to only a couple of personal possessions is a must, it doesn’t hurt to bring along a piece of home such as a collection of photographs which are sure to save you from possible homesickness. After all, living abroad, especially if you’re all by yourself, can get lonely.

     

    Photo by: Outreachmama

    Wendy, Outreachmama.com

    If you’re planning to move abroad in the near future, you’ll have many things to do and lots of responsibilities that you’ll need to straighten out before you can go. Most people fail to realize the extent of the things they’ll have to handle just to get their life in order with a move like this. For people with a family, it’s going to be even more complicated as you’ll find out soon enough.

    We obviously don’t want to leave you high and dry and wondering what you need to do before moving abroad. That’s why we’ve decided to share some of our favorite tips with you today. To make your move go off without a hitch, please use the following tips we’ve shared below and try not to overlook anything because they could make your life unnecessarily more difficult and you’d obviously rather avoid that, right?

    Tip #9: Find the Best Shipper to Meet Your Needs

    Since you’ve finally decided to move abroad, you’ll have to get your possessions to your new country in one way or another. The best and easiest way to make it happen is to find an international shipper that will handle all of the pertinent details and moving for you.

    While you’re traveling, don’t overload with baggage on the plane because you’ll have to worry about your luggage getting there, you’ll have to take responsibility for all your items, and you unnecessarily feel stressed out. Instead, let the shipper move the majority of your possessions and have them deliver them to your new home. By going this route, you’ll only take the bare minimum items with you, and if something gets lost or stolen, it’ll be a lot easier to replace than if you had excess baggage with you at the time.

    Tip #10: Get All Your Paperwork in Order before Moving Abroad

    Photo by: OutreachMama

    You may not realize it, but you’re about to embark on an epic journey, and unfortunately, there’s lots of paperwork involved. It’s really hard to just get up and go even though you may want to, so let’s take a moment to think about the various paperwork you’ll need for your trip.

    For starters, you absolutely must have a valid passport on hand if you’re going to enter into your new country. Without it, you may end up getting turned away at the gate, and that would obviously be a major tragedy.

    Next, you better make sure you have your airline tickets when you get to the airport. Without them, you’ll find it difficult if not impossible to board the plane. While you’re at it, make arrangements now with a car service or family member or friend to make sure you have a ride to the airport on moving day.

    Do you have a work visa? If so, make sure your work visa is valid and completely up-to-date. It will be tough to get a job in your new country if your visa isn’t in order. Finally, get all your vaccinations before you go and make sure you have copies of your medical records, dental records and other important documents for you and your family.

    Tip #11 Resolve Personal Issues before Moving Abroad

    If you have any outstanding personal issues that need your attention, now’s the time to take care them. Once you move abroad, it will be very difficult to resolve these situations long-distance.

    Your personal issues do not necessarily have to be negative though. You may want to take time to say goodbye to your family members, friends, and former coworkers, so make sure you leave yourself enough time to say your goodbyes. Get everyone’s contact details so you can call, email, or Skype once you’re abroad and then you’ll be ready to go on your merry way.

     

    We hope that our checklist will help you if you’re in the process of moving abroad.  Any more suggestions? Share in the comments below.