A weekend jaunt across the border turns into a trip of a lifetime! As coastal cities go, Cinque Terre ranks in at #1 on my list. All in all, the food and drink of Northern Italy have left me a few pounds heavier but a whole lot happier!
This past weekend, a few friend and I ventured into Northern Italy for a fun and food filled long weekend. The UN had an official holiday on Thursday so we decided to take Friday off and leave town for the long weekend. Because the trains from Switzerland to Italy are not only pricy but long as well, we decided to rent a car and drive over the Alps into Italy. Early Thursday morning we all piled into the car and began our journey. Luckily for us it was a holiday and the roads were mostly clear because driving in Europe took some getting used to. The route we took guided us out of Geneva, into France, then through the Chamonix/Mt. Blanc pass and into the Italian Alps. Once out of the city, the views were spectacular! We were driving through the foothills of the Alps which are larger then any foothill North Carolina has to offer, and quite impressive.
As we approached the pass, the large glaciers covered the uppermost parts of the mountain range came into view. The roads leading up to the pass and the tunnel itself are quite impressive feats of civil engineering. The road was drilled through the Alps and takes roughly 10 minutes to drive through. In reality the entire pass takes about two hours because each car must allow 400 or so meters between the itself and the car in front of it for safety reasons. On a long weekend, like this one, the Chamonix Tunnel can be quite a long wait due to this stipulation.
Because of our long wait to cross into Italy, I was able to get quite a few good shots of the surrounding mountains and breathe in the nice mountain air.
Once on the other side of the tunnel, it was smooth sailing all the way to the coast. The highway took us straight south, to Genova, a large port city with beautiful old architecture and even better beaches (except for the rocks). Genvoa is apparently one of Italy’s most economically prosperous cities, and I suppose you could tell by the large amount of fast sports cars zooming though the streets and the beautiful beachfront apartments long the city’s main drag. Due to some flaws in the Google Map directions we had printed out, we ended up sticking to the coast and traveled through the coastal towns of Bogliasco, Son, Recco, and Rapallo.
Here are some photos of the Italian coast, its pretty crazy that these beautiful beaches were just about an hour south of the glaciers pictured above.