Connect with us

Europe

La Spezia Market Experience

The La Spezia markets are some of the best we have been to oduring our travels with the locals more than willing to lend us a hand.

Published

on

Fresh cherries in La Spezia

We travel for food. In fact we often wonder why we didn’t start a food blog instead.

There are not many experiences that delight us more during our adventures than meeting the locals and interacting with them in their local environments.

And the most local places in any small town are always the market squares.

La Spezia market

When we booked to stay in La Spezia we were planning on just using it for access to the Cinque Terre hiking trails as it is only 7 minutes away by train from La Spezia to Riomaggiore. Plus it’s a lot cheaper to stay in if you want to save a little bit of money.

However we were stoked to find that there is a HUGE local market in La Spezia held every day selling everything from local handmade goods to fresh fruit and seafood. Ideal for us food lovers.

Vegetables La Spezia market

The key to getting the best experience from markets is to act like a local. With our reusable bags in hand we might have looked the part but our limited Italian and cameras dangling around our necks surely gave us away. Luckily ever time we approached a seller we were greeted with cheek splitting grins, a friendly “Ciao” and free samples to try.

Freshly picked cherries that were sweeter than any we have ever tasted before were just one of the treats popped into our bags.

Fresh cherries in La Spezia

Locally produced cheeses and mouthwatering dried meats for our sandwiches were sliced up with hand gestures from us to indicate that we wanted more or less.

La Spezia markets

Dried meat in La Spezia

In our excitement we would often pick fruit and veges at random. However, every time we would hand our chosen veges over, the stall owners would quickly exchange them for ones that they deemed a little fresher or riper with a wry smile.

La Spezia market veges

The locals even dropped extra bits and pieces in after we had paid to make sure we had enough to last us for the day.

Reaching the end of the market stalls we turned around with our bags overflowing and smiles plastered on our faces and slowly wandered back through. Hands were raised from the stall keepers in gestures of goodbye and we promised to return again every day during our stay in La Spezia.

Where to stay in La Spezia? Affiticamere Tre Fre

We recommend staying at Affiticamere Tre Fre for all adventurers as we loved it when we were on our way to hike Cinque Terre. We just wish we could have stayed longer!

Location

Affiticamere Tre Fre is located just 2 minutes walk from the main train station. The harbour, local markets, Castle and local train station are all within 5 – 10 minutes walk. A perfect location to base yourself for Cinque Terre.

The Rooms

The rooms are brand spanking new and designed like hotels. Each has a private bathroom with decent air-conditioning and mini-fridges.

Other Amenities

On check-in each guest is provided with a free voucher for use at one of the local cafes in town for breakfast. It’s only for a croissant and coffee but they open early so you can get a good start on the day.

Free WiFi is also available in all the rooms.

Staff

We only saw the owner, who was extremely lovely, when we checked in. So while we have no complaints, we don’t have a lot to say either.

Social Atmosphere

There was no social atmosphere at all but considering its a B&B rather than a hostel then this was expected as there is no common areas.

Cost

$80 Euro for a private room.

Overall

We were pleasantly surprised with La Spezia and Affiticamere Tre Fre. As we were there to explore Cinque Terre we only stayed one night either side of our hiking adventure but really wished we had decided to stay longer. We would recommend that for anyone headed to Cinque Terre then stay here as it is a lot cheaper than the five villages and easily accessible by train from early in the morning until late at night.

We just wish our La Spezia accommodation had a kitchen so we could have cooked up some of the seafood pulled straight off the boats in to the market stalls.

Seafood La Spezia market

Disclaimer: We were guests of HostelWorld but as always our thoughts are always our own.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

Continue Reading
25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Jeremy Branham

    July 16, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    I love checking out the local food when I travel. However, I have to admit I don’t travel for food. It’s not one of the top reasons I travel. However, I still love to try the local dishes and go to the markets. It’s a great way to meet locals.

  2. Laurence

    July 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    As Jeremy says, checking out the local food is one of the highlights of any adventure.. even if it’s not always kind on the waistline. Still.. it can always be explored off 😀

  3. Andrew

    July 18, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    My parents and I stayed in la Spezia during our Cinque Terre visit a few years ago. It really is a cool, kind of unassuming town. I had forgotten about the market area. Well not forgotten, just kind of let it slip around my mind. This idea of having an open air market in a place that rains so much isn’t so smart, so they covered it, which is pretty cool. We didn’t eat there, as we were out seeing stuff, but it was wonderful to wander through.

  4. Vago Damitio

    July 18, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Those cherries look incredibly delicious!

  5. Tim @ Marginal Boundaries

    July 19, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Mmmmm cheeeese 🙂

    I love local markets….and as you say, always the best place to get the best deals.

    Ok, it’s early, I haven’t had my coffee, just rolled out of bed and now I’m starving and absolutely dying for some fresh parma. Thanks =P

  6. Ali

    July 19, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    This sounds like a great town. I’ve heard a lot about it from Andy from when he was there a few years ago with his parents, so I’m sure it won’t take too much convincing to get him back there someday. And I will definitely be checking out the market!

  7. Turtle

    July 19, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    You’re making me miss Italian food so much! Please stop writing such delicious stories!! 🙂

  8. Waegook Tom

    July 19, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Ahh I LOVE local markets, too – I always make a bee-line to check them out and am rarely disappointed! Fresh ingredients and if you go with a smile and a good attitude, they’ll likely chuck in a little extra. Thanks for sharing – and I’m drooling over those cherries…

  9. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    July 20, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    Big local markets are the best! When we were in Cinque Terre we ate a lot of artisan bread with cheese and fresh tomatoes. Sooo goooood….

  10. Diana Edelman

    July 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    I love to visit markets! Whenever I get to a new place, I seek them out.

  11. Arti

    July 20, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    I so much agree with you with what you write at the beginning of your post!! I too love to eat and make it a point to sample local delicacies!!

  12. Angela

    July 23, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Lovely photos, food in Liguria is delicious 🙂

  13. Oriana

    August 1, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    It’s cool to read a blog post about a place that is so familiar. My dad is from La Spezia and, as a child, I was lucky enough to spend most of my Summers there with my grandparents. I went to this market with my grandmother countless of times, following her from one stall to the other and helping her with the bags. It’s a memory I’ll always treasure, thanks for bringing it back for me.

    Hope you got a chance to eat farinata at “Pia – La Centenaria”. If you didn’t, it’s enough of a reason to go back. Trust me.

    • Cole Burmester

      August 2, 2012 at 4:15 PM

      Oh man we didn’t get to try farinata! Definitely going back now 🙂 So glad we helped you relive a little bit of your past.

  14. Alexandra

    August 8, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    Markets are one of the things I love most about traveling! I wish America had markets like this!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 8, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      So many places in other countries outside of Europe are slowly starting to re-embrace the local markets. We love trying to live like locals. Just wish we knew more of the local languages.

  15. Cheryl

    August 13, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    I adore Cinque Terre! And of course, who could not love the fresh food in Italy. Great tip about where to stay, as accommodation can be so expensive there!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 14, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      La Spezia was really handy for Cinque Terre and highly recommend it next time you visit Cheryl. Thanks 🙂

  16. Sam Gooch

    September 3, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Please may you let me know where this market was in La Spezia? We are going next week & it looks like it is well worth the trip!
    Thank you

    • Cole Burmester

      September 3, 2012 at 3:49 PM

      Hey Sam,
      Thanks for dropping by. Definitely check out the markets. The closest address I could come up with is: Corso Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour
      19121 La Spezia SP, Italy. Put that in Google and you can’t miss it. Let us know how it goes.
      Thanks
      Cole

      • Sam Gooch

        September 3, 2012 at 3:51 PM

        Thanks so much for the help! I am loving reading your blog 🙂

  17. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    September 11, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Great tips! I’m sorry I missed La Spezia when I was in Cinque Terre. It would have made for a fabulous picnic along the trail.

  18. Travelwriticus

    February 7, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Visiting markets is always such a great way to get in touch with local products. Thanks for your extensive article.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 7, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      No problem 🙂 Always happy to share our experiences when trying to live like a local!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

Published

on

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

Continue Reading

Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

Published

on

Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

Continue Reading

Europe

Amsterdam Food Guide

If you think of Amsterdam you don’t think of food. However if you try the food here in our Amsterdam food guide you might get lucky.

Published

on

By

Amsterdam Food Waffles

We are total foodies and our travelling has allowed our passion for food to grow considerably (not to mention our waist lines)!  We love trying new food when we visit foreign countries and always make a huge effort to eat the local cuisine. Check out some of the food we ate below in our cheap and delicious Amsterdam Food Guide.

Amsterdam Food Waffles

We had heard from a number of people that the Amsterdam food was nothing to rave about. To be honest food was not really our main interest in visiting but then again neither was an Amsterdam Peep show and we ended up enjoying that!

However we were pleasantly surprised. I think the people whom we had talked to had it wrong. Sure Holland doesn’t really have a local cuisine but once we got over this fact we realised there is still some damn good food to be had from the various Amsterdam Restaurants.

Amsterdam Food

The best meal we had was actually next door to the Red Light district in Chinatown. Crossing the canal to the east away from the neon lights your nostrils are attacked and your mouth begins salivating from the delicious smells wafting along the narrow cobbled streets.

As we walked into Bird Thai restaurant the enticing aroma hit us instantly leaving us drooling in anticipation. It was definitely up there with some of the best Thai food we have had. We went for the classic Green curry, fried rice and duck combo.

The Green curry was so flavoursome with the richness of the coconut milk blending perfectly with the traditional spices.  The duck was cooked to perfection and for the first few minutes of the meal all you could hear was the crunching of the crispy outside layer as we devoured the duck in minutes. Needless to say the fried rice was a taste explosion too!

Cheap and delicious Amsterdam food is easy to come by. With hangovers and munchies affecting your hunger it is no surprise that there are an abundance of Fast Food chains and takeaways in Amsterdam. In fact it was actually more the way that the fast food was served that surprised us as you could buy it out of massive vending machines at Febo!

Amsterdam Food Febo

Hidden workers stand behind the vending machines churning out burgers, fries and sausage rolls so all you has to do is insert a Euro and “hey presto” you have a hot meal in your hungry hands.

Then there were the frites stores which seemed to be on every corner. The first thing you noticed about these was the tantalising smell. There is nothing like the smell of chips straight out of the fryer and covered in salt to get you tummy rumbling. Served in a triangle cardboard carton and covered in mayo which meant that that you couldn’t reach the chips at the bottom without covering your greedy fingers in sauce. Just a tad annoying!

But there is nothing like hot chips to warm you up on a cold day.

Finally, while hot chocolates are not typically food I feel they still deserve a mention especially because the usually come paired with waffles! Ahhhh the perfect breakfast.

Amsterdam Hot Chocolate

We loved nipping into a cafe or bar like Cafe Bar Eddy in Amsterdam to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate. It literally tasted like they had melted chocolate down and added cream. Heaven in a cup. And the choice of waffles was daunting as you could have whatever you wanted. Fruit, chocolate, syrups, cream or all of the above!

If you are heading here then don’t expect to find an array of traditional Amsterdam food. Instead treat yourself to a hot chocolate and waffle for breakfast, grab a quick bite from a vending machine and sample some of the different cuisines found near the Red Light District.

If you stick to this Amsterdam food guide then your taste buds will have a great holiday too!

If you have visited before then what did you think of Amsterdam food?

Continue Reading

Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

New on Four Jandals

What Are You Looking For?

Subscribe

Trending