The last excusion we took outside of Florence was to Cinque Terre. We had heard about this place and many of you have probably seen Rick Steves overview on PBS (we hadn't until after our return). We decided to sign up for an all day (literally 12 hour) tour with Walkabout. For 90 euros per person, we had English-speaking guides, a motor coach to the area and back, hiking along thousand year old donkey paths, lunch, train fare from one village to another, and a boat trip hugging the Mediterranean coast. The group had 40 people and 3 tour guides. Two guides split the group in half and the last guide took care of the logistics such as train tickets, timetables, and getting participants from one village to another if they were not able to hike the steep terrain.
This tour was well worth it. We saw all 5 major villages in the area. The views were spectacular. The guides were knowledgeable, but not intrusive. We did some hiking and it was tough for both of us since we are not in shape. The only small complaint was that I did not have enough time to take more photographs. Overall this was the best group tour I have ever been on (I usually run in the opposite direction).
Lunch consisted of a variety of marinated octopus and squid salad and pasta with traditional pesto sauce. No wine since the most strenuous hike was yet to come. I really liked the octopus. The pesto was rich and flavorful.
I will leave you with various snaps of the area.