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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Fresh Focaccia Bread – Backpack France, Switzerland, & Italy

Buongiorno from Italy!

We have just completed the first leg of Italy with our time spent in the beautiful La Spezia and Cinque Terre. Upon first arriving in La Spezia, we set off for our first taste of real Italian food. We strolled along cobblestone streets, following our noses to the smell of fresh pizza. Here, Katie salvaged her cravings for authentic caprese salad, while Benji enjoyed a truffle-based pizza. We could not get over how fresh and delicious the bread was, and Grace exclaimed that this was the best pizza she has ever had in her life, covered in pesto of course. After dinner, we took a walk to our first gelato stop, and Jason raved about the stracciatella flavor that he got. Jake kept it simple with lemon, while Danny enjoyed vanilla. The girls then discovered a fresh frozen yogurt cart on the way back to our hotel, which served up frozen yogurt with a choice of multiple sauces and toppings- this quickly became a favourite for Jolie, Stella, Jessica and Kat. We then settled in for our first night, and rested up for our exploration of the Cinque Terre villages. After cleaning our clothes at the laundromat the following morning, we set off to visit three beautiful and unique villages. On the train over, Grant, Matt B., and Benji decided to play security for the group, and took turns rotating on lookout. Discussions are in the works for matching sunglasses.
Backpack France, Switzerland, & Italy
The first village we visited was Corniglia, where we climbed 382 steps to reach the beautiful village. The granita that we discovered at the top was worth the climb! Katie and Jolie took beautiful pictures overlooking the scenery, while Gustaf and the boys set out to purchase some oil and vinegar (more on this to come). After Corniglia, we visited Manarola for a short time. Kat and Stella discussed how this was one of the most beautiful places they had seen, and could imagine how happy the locals must be to wake up to such colourful views. After taking in the views of the coast, we set off to our final town of the night, which was Riomaggiore. Here, we enjoyed the local cuisine, including spaghetti carbonara, and trofie with pesto. After a fun-filled day we headed back to the hotel, and of course, made a stop for more gelato. The following morning, the boys joined Trip Leader Mike to explore the fresh market that set up shop right outside of our hotel. Here, they purchased fresh focaccia, tomatoes, and burrata cheese to go along with the oil and vinegar they had purchased. They made themselves fresh sandwiches to enjoy for breakfast. After breakfast, we walked out to the port, where we boarded a ferry that took us to the five villages by sea. Danny could not believe the castles that he was seeing, while Benji and Grant learned about the military history that surrounded us. Grant also educated us about how the fields are used for growing grapes to make local wine.

The last stop of the ferry was Monterosso, which is the largest beach town of the five villages. Here, we enjoyed some of the most incredible fresh focaccia breads, and cookies. We then took a stroll down to the beach where we set up for the rest of the afternoon. We spent the rest of our day sun-bathing, swimming in the sea, going to walks along the beach, and sampling more granita and village treats. Our dinner that night was a real treat, including Jolie’s fresh off-the-coast lobster pasta, and Kat’s scampi spaghetti. Kat’s face was priceless when the scampi were served to her still in their shells. Luckily, Jason was brave and was able to help her out! Katie, Matt S., and Jess shared a fruit and cheese platter as an appetizer that looked incredible! We were greeted there by the new members of our group, and we could not have been more excited to meet them! After a dinner all together, we headed back to our hotel for some gelato and ice breakers before we said goodnight. The last day in Cinque Terre, the group set out on a hike from the last of the villages, Vernazza, down to Monterosso, followed by a beautiful afternoon at the beach, where we continued to get to know the new members of our group. Tomorrow, we are off to Venice, and I am sure there is going to be a lot to write about!!


The Westcoast Blogger

Do you want to join this amazing adventure? Get ready for our one-of-a-kind Italy, France and Switzerland tour with a small group of high school students.