July 20, 2016

Biking through Levanto: AKA the Italian Gelato Tour

I last left off on our European adventure in the fabulous land of Cinque Terre. Our first full day there we hiked the Five Lands randomly. The post today is all about our fun gelato bike tour in Levanto and part of it was written by Le Husband. While we were gone I set up a blog for our family and friends to follow along on our journey and every now and then Le Husband asked to write a post. Sometimes he left out things I wanted to say [men, haha], so I've merged some of his post with my recap here.

Our original plan was to hike 14 km south but we were both way too sore to seriously consider it. So, we were a bit lazy the next morning and didn't roll out of bed until 10:00. We used our kitchen again and did an American style breakfast sandwich but didn’t move with much urgency until around noon. With  our previous days hike being much longer than anticipated we decided an active rest day was in order which included biking and lots of gelato. Marta told us about bike shares in the northern town of Levanto and since we needed an activity that wasn't walking we decided on the spot to get tickets and hop the train towards Levanto. We learned that you have to validate your train ticket even if you purchase it minutes before it arrives, thank goodness the steward understood our unfamiliarity with this process.

Once we arrived in Levanto we set out looking for bikes to rent. Levanto is a remarkably flat, larger town compared to the Cinque Terra towns so we wandered through the city with no luck.  After walking around longer than expected we decided to ask and the store closest happened to serve gelato… it was a sign. We bought a cone each and got some rough directions and were on our way.

First shop, closed, second rental shop, closed, third, closed, fourth, opened 10 minutes after we arrived at their door. We paid 10 euros and were on our way. With no real plan or clue we started following the biking lanes north. Little did we know 8 km later the trail would end and after a 15 second debate Gelato Tasting Day was officially sanctioned.

The trailed ended in the town of Anzo which didn't look like much but we thought, why not wander around for a bit. Ten flights of stairs and a series of moderate switchbacks later we decided finding gelato in Anzo wasn't going to happen. It was a bummer but a few fun pictures were snapped along the way.

We trekked back to our bikes and headed back south, this time stopping at Bonassola. It was around 16:30 when we pulled in and were in search of gelato #2. It was a little more difficult than we imagined, 3 of the 4 shops in town were closed and the only open one was the the last one in our circle. We returned to Levanto and dropped our rental bikes off and were in search of gelato #3. It was not nearly as difficult to find as in Bonassola, just a few blocks up from the bike place and on the direct path to the train. The lady serving us chuckled as we tried our best to pronounce each of the flavors but she played along and humored us. Gelato #4 was after another great dinner. On the short downhill walk home we hit the second of 2 in Riomaggiore.

For dinner we ventured back to Pizzaria De Mam’ Angelo, which is the same place we ate our first night here. While eating the first night we noticed their pizzas and calzones looked fabulous even though we both opted for the pasta [which was incredible]. It only took us 10 days in to finally have our first pizza experience and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. We've both eaten authentic calzones and love them but this calzone was light, airy and delicious. The pizza was worth waiting 10 days for, thin crusted and cooked at extremely high temps with the slightly charred crust… perfection. We considered this meal our carb loading in preparation for a 14 km trek the next day.

Today’s side notes:
1. We did laundry, 3,50€, and it is currently line drying outside our windows. That whole when in Rome thing. Plus the laundromat closed at 19:30.
2. We saw two young females getting arrested. Very weird considering we hadn’t seen a cop since leaving Milan and some folks in Riomaggiore still keep their keys on the OUTSIDE of the door in the locks.
3. People remember big tips. Free champagne when we sat down for dinner as the servers remembered us.
4. If you ever visit Cinque Terra do so in a carry on. Watching people struggle with full size luggage with the combination of steps, hills and cobblestone is quite hilarious.

 Pictures of our day:

What we ate: Gelato! Lots and lots of gelato. Plus delicious Italian food!
Carryon update: Ten days in and it was finally time to do some laundry. We found a laundromat UP the road [yes literally up a hill] from our airbnb and it was also right next to the restaurant we ate dinner. Our original plan was to do both loads while we were at dinner, but sadly the laundromat closed earlier than we expected. Thankfully Marta, our airbnb host, was able to negotiate some extra time for our first load otherwise it would have been a super bummer of an evening. Since the clothes weren't entirely dry, we hung them outside our window and I'm not gonna lie, it made me feel kind of European.

Next recap will be all about our 14 km trek and then it's good by Cinque Terre, hello Venice!


  1. I think you guys did it right - bike a little to burn off calories, indulge in gelato!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. hi dear, italy is amazing
    and I don't say this because is my country...
    but is fab and food is delicious

  3. I love that you had to hang your clothes out the window! I would've felt European too!

  4. I need that gelato in my life haha. It looks amazing!

  5. This sounds like the best trip! And give me ALL the gelato! Love that you burned calories while indulging, that's the way to do it! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  6. So jealous of every last bit of this!!! How incredible!

  7. YUM gimme all the gelato (and pizza!). Such an amazing trip, you're fueling my need to get back across the pond ASAP <3
    Green Fashionista

  8. What a breathtaking place to go biking around. I'm sure they loved the American sized tips because a lot of Europeans don't tip so they give you royal treatment.

  9. Now this is my kind of day!! Gorgeous views and all that gelato - YUM!

  10. You just haddddddd to post all the pizza and gelato didn't you?? Ahhh I'm dying to go back to Cinque Terre already! You are just making it so much worse!

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