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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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September 27, 2010

Sunday and Probably More Pictures Than is Legal

I had a plan for Sunday.  I would get myself up, showered, fed, and ready to walk the blue trail.  I had read my guide book and decided that I would walk from Riomaggiore through Manarola and Corniglia to Verazza which sounded pretty doable and left the worst part of the trail (to Monterosso) alone. 

So after a nice croissant and pot of tea and 30 minutes on line to check e-mails and post what was probably a really sloppy post (still haven't checked it out) I set out.  And, of course it was stunning.  What else could it be?  It's Italy, it's the sea, it's sunny - pretty darned hard to stay stressed.

Again, this is going to be mostly pictures and as quick as I can make it.  The first batch is walking away from Riogmaggiore toward Manarola.  I truly can't imagine living here - I suppose the residents all take it for granted, but I feel like I would spend all my time watching the waves roll in, waiting for the really big ones.  As I looked back, I could see clouds and some rain out over the sea behind me and was glad I left when I did and hoped I might stay somewhat ahead of it.  Clouds and rainfall have been blowing in and out ever since I got here.

So, I came to Manarola - and there it was, a very crowded-with-tourists area, and resolutely set out on the next leg to Corniglia.  Was enjoying it SO much in spite of the fact that I'm really working away at getting a cold, when suddenly - oops, there's a sign saying the trail has been closed the rest of the way to Corniglia.  I debated taking a different trail which looked quite a bit longer and which I was having a hard time finding, when it started to sprinkle and I grumpily decided "ok, that's it, I'll just go back to Riomaggiore".  Waited forever for the train cause I wasn't about to walk back in what was now a fairly decent rain.  I took shelter under a wee little waiting shelter along with a very happy Italian family - or maybe just a group of friends.  I had one woman on one side of me and another woman on the other side of me who talked and laughed quite riotously back and forth, there was a maybe 10-year old or so girl who went back and forth joining in on the fun with great hand gestures and emphatic pronouncements and two men who seemed happy enough to be there but didn't have much to add.  I was getting quite chilly and holding my arms tight around me and one of the women dragged a shawl out of her bag and offered it to me.  I have to say, I just thought that was kind of beautiful.  So this is a picture of that happy group so I will be able to remember how pleasant it was to be on the fringes of their happiness.

I got back to the apartment, downloaded the pictures I had taken, and decided since it was going on 3:00 I would get a biggish lunch/early dinner and just nibble later in the evening.  Went to what turned out to be a GOOD restaurant right at the bottom of the hundreds of stairs leading up to my apartment and had probably more wine than I needed along with a delicious spaghetti which had tiny cubes of swordfish, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, LOTS of olive oil and maybe something else I'm forgetting.  It was nummy.  And at the table across from me was a group of 6 Americans which I kind of watched (along with watching everyone else) and when they decided to start taking a picture of their group, I offered to take one of all of them, which led to a bit of pleasant conversation with them.  I said I would take it if they would tell me about the huge plate of mussels one of the men had ordered and which they all just sort of groaned over when they all tried one.  If I can work it in, I may have to try that.  That could be a tip for solo travellers in foreign countries - offer to take pictures of people who are taking pictures of each other - they are thrilled to have someone take one of all of them.

Then, in my sated state, I decided to walk down to the actual harbor of Riomaggiore and so this next batch of pictures will be all from that walk.  It was truly wonderful being that close to the waves coming in - in fact, one wave crashed in so vehemently I ended up with water in my shoes.  Pictures and words can't do it justice.  It's funny - I've always been afraid of the water - can't really swim, used to be terrified if anyone dunked me, etc., and yet I LOVE the water - especially the sea.  I'm going to wax philosophical or whatever for a moment, it is SO eternal and we are SO not!  Those waves have been coming in since the beginning of time, and will continue to crash in until the planet disappears.  I find it incredibly magnificent and utterly mesmerizing.  I wish you could all see it and hear it "live".  Actually, my bravely supportive children probably will cause I made a video of it and it's too big to e-mail and I don't know how to put it on the blog.  Something to look forward to when I get back home kids, right? :)

If you're still here, we're almost done. :)  I came back up and got this all typed up and worked on getting the pictures ready to upload for it and decided that I would take an evening walk (oh, no - more pictures!) and get a gelato which I did. The whole time I was working, a woman just a few yards up the walk from me had been hosing out those big plastic crates - bunches and bunches of them.  I couldn't imagine what that was all about.  My walk took me by there and she was standing at the open door of what turned out to be a mini-winery.  Inside were 4 or 5 good-sized wooden barrels and two of the steel vats that are used for the fermenting process.  I thought that was pretty neat - they probably live above it or across from it or whatever cause it was a building just like all the others on this "lane". 

After my walk, I went to the internet place, was pleased to see some comments from the fam, got my
Saturday report posted then it was back home and upload the 5 pictures I took on my walk.  Oh - and an important item of interest I keep forgetting - when I first got here and almost literally "climbed" the stairs in this building to my apartment (fortunately only one flight), I ended up measuring the height of the risers:  eleven inches!!!  I think the sort of norm is around 7".  These are so high it really would be more comfortable going up them on hands and knees.  But think of the exercise I'm getting, right? :)

And that's it, folks.  I will be so glad when I can take a little more time with these.  I feel bad that I'm not able to offer more explanation with the pictures. :(


Christopher said...

Oh wow... what a coastline! Love that photo of the cliffs, with a pathway on the right, and 2 grass heads in the foreground! And the colorful buildings clinging to the cliff-sides... Looks like an amazing place... More and more I want to see, for sure!

jfalls said...

OMG! These photos are so gorgeous! Were the people on the rocks fishing? And what a nice family to loan you a shawl! You are sure meeting some nice people. Kind of restores your faith in humanity, huh? How is the "non" cold? Hope you drink enough wine to knock it out of there. Keep taking these incredible photos and sharing!

Love ya,


January said...

Oooooooooh! This is a great set of photos! Especially all the little dinghy boats - I loved seeing them all piled up on top of each other. What do you suppose happens when somebody who's got a boat in the back wants to go out earlier than everyone else?! It's so nice to read that you're running into such delightful people on your excursions - I'll say an extra little prayer for the lady who kept my Mama warm :)
Have a good tomorrow too!

vrmichie said...

How could we ever have worried about you traveling alone?! Every mis-adventure seems to turn into a joy and I'm so happy for you. These scenes from Riomag.. are awesome and the village looks almost as eternal as the sea. And do eat some mussels. If they are from that coastline they also will be awesome. I once gathered some in Maine and they were the best I've ever had which includes the first I ever had which was in Rome.:) So be an Italian and eat some mussels. And thank you Rosanna for being ML's supporter because we DO worry about her despite how consistently she proves we don't need to.

Lots o love and I hope you continue to stave off the cold.

Hi! said...

Thank you sweet people! If I hadn't found a way to get on line tonight and read some e-mails tonight, I think I might have had to get on a plane tomorrow and come home. Have been having a bit of a rough time today, mostly cause I-m not coping as well with this blasted cold. But hearing from all of you- e-mails and comments has sure helped put a smile on my face.

And January - I loved those piled up boats too - the whole scene was just so colorful and the sea so beautiful. Did I say anywhere that I had finally found out it is the Ligurian sea? I was thinking maybe Adriatic or Mediterranean, probably cause those were the only names I knew!

xo to all...

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