Monday, August 13, 2007

cinque Terre

Amante drives with the precision and confidence that I’ve come to admire in him (I still apply imaginary brakes). Neither of us is sure if this road is one-way as we’ve seen no signs. I’m convinced it must be, because our car takes up the whole road. But no, here comes a car roaring up in the opposite direction! We must reverse to a wider part and wriggle past each other like fat legs into jeans.
We reach the upper part of town where we will park the car, and walk on from there
coming to a little track that follows a stream splashing over rocks.
I’ve only ever been here in the dazzling heat of summer by train, this is so different. The air, clean and crisp, the village washed clean of all its’ tourists. Only a few locals come out into the piazza to stand and talk in the sun. We sit on a stone bench outside and watch the sea run into a small grotto that edges the piazza. We listen to the villagers talking in the dialect of Liguria, the cats roll and bask in the sun, children dash around, dogs chase their tails. Everyone is in the sun while it lasts.
The lazy peacefulness of a Sunday morning is so tangible, as a lone yacht rounds the harbour wall and comes in. The sails are taken down, the boat tethered and a couple jump out and go into the trattoria next to us where the cats are rolling and stretching.
We decide to climb up to the fort. We climb many steep spiralling stairs and arrive on top of the world out of breath. There are a few others enjoying the magnificent view out over the open sea, sparkling like a million diamonds in the sun. We want to walk along the promenade set high up on the rocks, so we descend the staircase, only realising after we have had to reverse, that it’s definitely one way traffic.
We walk along the wall and then sit on the edge of a huge flat rock, basking in the sun and listening to the rolling of the stones as the waves advance and recede. Far out on the horizon a lone fishing boat bobs.
While we are lost in silent contemplation of the azure sparkling sea and the bluest of blue skies, an enormous wave jumps up and breaks against our rock drenching us completely, Swallowing gulps of sea water, we simultaneously catch our breath and erupt with laughter. People behind us watching are open-mouthed in surprise.
It is as if the sea wanted to say, Don’t just sit there and look at me! taste my saltiness and feel my wetness.
We walk dripping back to the church steps and sit in the sun hitting the wall to dry off. Amante then lies down on the wall and uses my lap as a pillow, reaching up to kiss me, a salty sea kiss.
Che Bello the sun after the wavissimo! (sic) he says, using our language of Italese.
The sea and the sound of the laughter of children are the background music. The smells coming from the nearby trattoria eventually draw us in and we go and ask for a table for two, right at the waters edge.
Our patron tells us he has just got back from New York where he ran a restaurant. He uses English crudely, which he insists we speak back to him in. He tells us he misses the hustle and bustle of the city but he came back to Vernazza for his family. To me this seems the difference between night and day, New York and this idyllic little seaside village, and I tell him so. ‘This is a long way from New York?’ I say. He nods, and replies ‘Eh!’ with resignation, he doesn’t elaborate, but rather gives the typical response to a rhetorical question. We share a delicious Risotto al Mare, followed by a fish plate piled up with the catch from that day lightly grilled and washed down with some of their local wine grown mere metres away. We push back our chairs and sigh with satisfaction

2 comments:

Kev Cruz said...

hello there ol' chap..
Still having fun I see.

emily said...

Nice, takes me there....
Don't know the Five Lands area as well as others, would love to explore.
Marito and I share same Engliano language!
Miss you,

emily

Como the beautiful

Como the beautiful
walk near the lake

Hidden Italy, the places we visit regularly from Tuscany to the lake district above Como.

When I became a resident in Italy in 2001, I already knew how visitors liked to praise her places, food and art.
I had visited many times as a visitor myself, and been enchanted.
This site is rather designed to show the hidden Italy, the real Italy experienced by it's residents.
The events of the year, from registering as a resident, to celebrating Christmas, Easter and many other festivals, buying a house, working, banking, and still enjoying its beauty, are to be found here.

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BOOKS

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My favourite writings on Italy

  • Italian Education/Cara Massimina Tim Parks
  • Where angles fear to tread E.M. Forster ISBN0140180885
  • A small place in Italy ISBN0330338188
  • D.H.Lawrence and Italy ISBN 0140095209
  • The Italians by Luigi Barzini Touchstone books ISBN 068482500

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