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cinque terre: even on a gray day, it is colorful

September 4, 2009


March 24, 2009

In summary, because, let’s face it… this travel series has gone on long enough and do you really need to know all the flavors of gelato I savored in Italy?  Therefore, the gray day of March 24th will be illustrated in pictures.  Though I couldn’t help throwing in a few explanatory notes because that’s how I do… and this is why it takes me forever to publish a post.  My process is not only first prone to procrastination, it is then fine-toothed combed repeatedly until it is deemed perfect, which it never really is and… oh! lookey here… the ocean.

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It is a monochrome morning.  Not really blue, nor grey.  Everything is a shade of silver mist and antique glassware, as if the sky and sea were bleeding into each other. A bit on the moody side but not cantankerous. Just muted and slightly melancholy.


I walk along Via Dell’amore (the Street of Love) to Riomaggiore.  Along a certain stretch in the path, there is a long fence off which hangs hundreds of padlocks on which lovers have written their names.  It’s said that by doing so, they seal their love forever.


Hoping this macchiato will kick my ass into high gear because I am 5 minutes short of an 8-hour long nap.



On the beach in Monterosso al mare, feet in the sand, sand in toes, sandwich in hand.  A sparrow appears at my feet, clearly wanting the last bite of my foccaccia (I don’t speak sparrow but his beady eyes do all the talking).  I compromise, split it in two and off he goes with a flap of his wings.


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I had checked the forecast before leaving the hostel and it called for 81% humidity, but the dude at the reception desk assured me it would be sunny.  These Italians sure are hopeful.  So I hopped on the optimistic bandwagon and erred on the 19% chance of sunny.  Not only did it rain, it hailed.

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I meander my way to the most beautiful cemetery at the top of a hill.  Each crypt has a lamp burning, flowers blooming and a framed photo of the deceased.  A photo really gives a glimpse into peoples’ personalities while they were living.  Some look so sad and serious, others adventurous and jolly.  Like Grasso Salvator.  I am convinced that Grasso owned a little shop and sold tomatoes and aubergines as if they were gold and he probably greeted each customer with a smile and tall cheeky tales and maybe even broke out in song on occasion.  And I just know he winked at the ladies all the time.  He has that spark in his eye.  You can see it all, right there in his smile.  When I die, I want a photo of me cracking up.  I want to be remembered for my ability to laugh.  Wholeheartedly.

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The sun starts poking out as it prepares to set over Manarola, announcing to us that it will be back tomorrow.



By the time I return to the hostel, the only person left in the room is Anna, 27 years old, from northern England.  She is so lovely and funny and amazing that we end up going out to dinner together.

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We eat at Trattoria Billy, a cute little restaurant with 6 tables.  The 64-year old waiter has a twinkle in his eye, not unlike jolly old St-Nic.  He starts singing in the restaurant and everyone claps.  His joy is contagieux.  He must be the reincarnated soul of Grasso Salvatore.  He offers us a glass of sweet strawberry wine on the house.  Bread is served hot with the token olive oil and balsamic.  The black pasta with an assortment of seafood is to die for.  The conversation is lively.  On our way out, Eduardo, the owner, invites us back for drinks after the restaurant closes tomorrow.  We take him up on his offer and think about what it would be like to spend the entire summer here.  Hmmm.  Food for thought.

This weekend, neither my procrastination nor my perfection will get in the way of me telling you the tale of how Anna and I got lost in the backwoods of Cinque Terre (separately but at the same time).  No travel story is complete without a few wrong turns and a couple scratches and bruises.

Also, it just so happens that it is Anna’s birthday today.  Happy Birthday Anna!  I’m so grateful that our paths crossed.  I hope we meet again on our travels and veer off the beaten path, somewhere down the road.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2009 4:18 am

    seriously talented, thank you for sharing!!

  2. September 5, 2009 5:40 am

    a perfect way to start my saturday work day, with beautiful photos of my favorite place in the world.

    have a great weekend!

  3. September 6, 2009 12:45 am

    Such lovely photos. I missed the padlocks while I was there. I must remember that though, in case I ever want to “seal” my love.

  4. September 6, 2009 7:19 am

    thank you thank you thank you for this journey. I feel a bit like your little pig…like I came along to watch, safely tucked away in your pocket.

  5. September 6, 2009 10:39 pm

    you are turning these into a book, right?

  6. September 7, 2009 11:24 am

    A gorgeous blog you have, and you have made me so happy today to take me away to one of my favorite places on earth…your wonderings are most entertaining also! I will be back to see where we will go next…

  7. lunacyn permalink
    September 26, 2009 1:57 pm

    “It is a monochrome morning. Not really blue, nor grey. Everything is a shade of silver mist and antique glassware, as if the sky and sea were bleeding into each other. A bit on the moody side but not cantankerous. Just muted and slightly melancholy.”

    beautiful. pure poetry! 🙂

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