We took a train from Venice to La Spezia, still a little bit in shock that we'd survived the journey from Salzburg. As we sat at the bus stop, awaiting the bus that would take us up the mountain to Ostello Tramonti -- our hostel for the next several days, Jenny decided to venture off on her own to find gelato while I waited with our bags. It wasn't until she was placing her order that she realized, "Oh, I don't actually speak Italian, do I?" Pointing can get you surprisingly far in foreign countries, though, which Jenny quickly learned. She got her gelato and returned to the bus stop just in time to hop aboard with me.
Once we stepped aboard the bus, we realized there was not an empty seat in sight. "We'll just stand -- it won't be that bad," I assured Jenny with confidence. I've stayed at Ostello Tramonti a couple times before, but I must have forgotten that the path winding up the mountain is curvy, and bumpy, and not all conducive to standing in place, balancing the weight of a 50-lb. backpack. To make matters worse, we were positioned directly behind the bus driver, who was texting the entire time. How we survived that short bus ride is anybody's guess, but miraculous survival was beginning to be the theme of the trip.
Once we checked into the hostel, we were able to exhale, finally feeling comfortable and safe and, dare I say it, happy to be in Italy?!? Exhausted from our day, we decided to call it a night and go to sleep early, eager to wake up in the morning and see the first of the 5 villages: Riomaggiore.