Sometimes You Can Go Back

Sometimes You Can Go Back

They say “you can’t go back”, but I think sometimes you can. Sometimes there are just things that pull you back – and you won’t be satisfied until you have seen or done whatever that is.

Now, many of you dear readers will already know that this is not our first trip to the Cinque Terre, nor even our second. For Don, the pull is sitting in Lorenza’s garden, watching the sun set and maybe even falling asleep to the distant sounds of the village winding down for the night. For me, it has been to see the villages by boat, and this guy:

Il Gigante, Monterosso

The one and only time we were in Monterosso before, the kids and we had done the gruelling 2.5 hour hike from Vernazza to get here and while we were sitting in a park preparing our picnic lunch, Don managed to slice his finger open and then declared the day over as he herded us to the train station to go back to our place in Vernazza. This was 2007. Needless to say, we didn’t see much of Monterosso, and when I got back to Vancouver and saw a photo of this guy and realized that we were “this” close, I just had to come back and find him. As you can see . . . he waited for me.

The ferry that services the five villages was another experience I had yet to enjoy, so today was the day. As we headed down to the landing in the harbour, a young man standing by a boat called to us, “Do you want a private boat? Or would you rather be stuffed like sardines in a can on the public boat!?!” Tempting, but we have our reasons. It’s a hop on hop off ferry, so you can make as many or as few stops as you want between the villages. Otherwise, a private boat with a handsome Italian skipper does sound very nice indeed.

Seeing the villages from the waterside is a wonderful experience, they are each unique and tiny and it is fascinating to think that the people here have lived in this remote area for so long – and until quite recently – completely untouched by tourism. Yes, yes – the tourists are here, but with good reason, so don’t let that deter you.

Another good thing about returning to a favourite place is that you don’t have to “do” a bunch of obligatory things. You probably did all those the first time. This time, you can just take time to enjoy what you love about the place.

The sun here is unrelenting, so by the time we got back to our home base of Riomaggiore, we were so hot. I am really feeling the heat this trip. So we headed to the swimming beach. Don wanted to go back to our apartment and change into his swimming trunks and get my bathing suit, the water shoes, and a towel, so he did that (all uphill remember) while I staked out a spot on the beach. I was so hot (there was no shade) and the water was so inviting, that I stripped down to my skivies (which could pass for a black tankini or one piece if you don’t look to close and I figure no one is looking at me when there are all these beautiful Italian girls around) and plunged myself into the beautiful ocean water. It was sublime. So when Don returned with my coloured t-shirt instead of bathing suit top and no water shoes, it didn’t matter a whit. It was glorious. And not a camera in sight (thank goodness).

I love seeing the local people just having a rest, chatting with their friends, and watching the crazy tourists go by. Or finding a moment to catch up on the news.

We did go inside two small churches in Monterosso, and especially liked the skeleton character – welcome my friends!!

By the way, you can click on each of the gallery images in any of the posts to see the full photo – Mary’s head is getting a little cut off here and I don’t seem to be able to fix it.

So that ‘s about it for today’s adventures, tomorrow is our last day here already, and is going to be a chillax day. Though Lorenza dropped by to say she wanted to have a little happy hour for us tomorrow evening, and did we like Aperol Spritz’s? Do we!?! Yes, yes we do.

Sunset over Riomaggiore

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