We stayed in La Spezia, a work-a-day town a short train ride from Cinque Terre. We booked a really great apartment that was only a ten minute walk to the station and since trains lefts so often, we really didn't need to rush too much to get anywhere. I don't know why, but Rick Steves doesn't care for La Spezia. We loved it! But more on that later.
For our first full day in Cinque Terre we decided to just explore and take it easy. We planned to hike from town to town the next day, so we really just wanted to pick a couple towns to wander through, find some yummy food, and enjoy each other's company.
Our first stop was Riamaggiore. I wasn't prepared for how tiny these towns were! Everyone said they were small, but I wasn't expecting to walk the whole thing in a half hour. Our plan was to wander, have some food, and then head to the beach, but we quickly realized we wouldn't be doing any swimming. I don't know if it was the time of year we were there or a particularly strong current, but the water was treacherous and the beach was so rocky that if a wave got the better of you, it was going to end badly.
After walking through Riamaggiore and making Tim hold off on getting a fish cone (don't bring it up with him, it's kind of a sore subject). To make a long story short, my brother is kind of a seafood addict and he kept seeing these paper cones full of shellfish all over this town. It wasn't quite time to eat and we were all convinced they would have the same thing in the other towns so we hopped on another train. The train stations in these towns are so little that the trains don't fit in the stations, so you have to wander down these tunnels in order to board.
Instead of stopping at the next town, our train sped all the way through to the Northernmost town of Monterosso. Sure, why not? We hopped off and did what we do best. Wander.
On the way home we bought pesto, pasta, and wine at a local shop and had a delicious dinner at home.