metà

This marks the halfway point in my adventure. As I look back through the MANY photos. I cannot believe all that I have seen and done. I am so thankful for this venue for without it (and you) I can’t imagine being able to keep track of my days.
Besides stalking the Red White and Blue, today I decided to spend the morning at the beach. My rhythm in Monterosso is quite different from my other stops. First of all, to this point, 6 days is the most I have spent in one place. I am thankful for that, but at times, a bit sad for the reason. My original block of time here was meta of this. Then we toyed with the idea of Avery coming to visit me during my time in Italy. When asked where she would want to join me, Monterosso had no other rivals. So, I doubled the time here.
The amount of days coupled with the fact that the pace is just slower here, allows for more relaxation and less decisions of how to spend your time. So today, I decided to tagliare a metà. Meta at the spiaggia and meta visiting another of the terras.
A morning at the beach on the 4th of July seemed fitting anyway.
As I walked toward the beach, I remember that today is Thursday and Monterosso has a traveling market that visits on Thursday.

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20130705-112344.jpg Roast Chicken anyone?

20130705-112413.jpg formaggio?

20130705-112459.jpg It was HARD to pass these dishes up!

I was excited to find a handmade, olive wood gnocchi roller thingy. We had used them in Chef Andrea’s class and now I will use at home…doubling the memory.
And I bought more cherries to enjoy at the beach. Cherries get destroyed in all the processing…I cannot figure out how their natural flavor is manipulated so. But I have enjoyed them fresh from the tree here in Italia!

And finally, la spiaggia.

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I have chosen the free beach as I plan to come several mornings.

20130705-113057.jpg This game is endless! AND everywhere.

20130705-113139.jpg Mmmmm…cherries warmed by the sun.

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After a couple of hours in the sun, it is time for lunch. I head right off the pebbly beach to Il Casello and the best Caprese I have had thus far.

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As I walk back to the room, I stop into a little ceramics shop. On our last visit, I bought a tiny salt bowl from them. This year, and since I am no longer a Anchovy Virgin (as Rick Steves says), I think these will be a must.

I clean up, put on my “Vatican Skirt”, and for the FIRST time, I change my purse from my big black borsa to a little red and white clutch. This change makes me a bit nervous, I am use to the feel of my other. But as long as I have my wallet, passport, phone and camera I am good right?
Down the steps I think, “I DO have my wallet, passport, phone and camera….right?….yes, yes I do.” This question haunts me for the rest of the day!!

I catch the commuter train to town #3 (skipping Corniglia for now) Manarola.

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I enter the tunnel that leads to town. It is said that this is where, during World War II, the villagers would sleep and find some comfort from the air raids.

20130705-114233.jpg Can you imagine the memories here?

I have looked over my Rick Steves’ orientation to Manarola, but my short term memory is pathetic, and I refuse to walk around with a gadget (ok…besides a camera) in my hand, so I just wander…up hill.

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At the top of the town, I find a beautiful church, the parish church of San Lorenzo. This beautiful structure dates back to 1338.

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There is also a bell tower that served as a watchtower when pirates would raid the town.
At the top, I sneak a peak at my phone and find that I am close to the beginning of the “Vineyard Walk”. This I had wanted to do. Andiamo!

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20130705-114926.jpg This beautiful piece is in the midst of the vines.
As you make your way along the winding path, the sea begins to come into view again.
Manarola has no beach, but is known for its deep, rocky swimming hole.

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20130705-115131.jpg The trail that connects the towns.

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Daddy would have loved me hanging out over the edge to get this one…especially in my “hiking sandals”!

20130705-115319.jpg I just love these!!

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When I return to Monterosso, I walk the streets deciding where to eat. I run into the couple from New York that I boarded with in Firenze. They are staying in Manarola. We have a nice chat. They said they were so impressed that I knew to get off at that first station and that it must have all worked out….well no, I told them. They were planning to have dinner at Al Pozzo, per my recommendation but it is closed on Thursdays. They give me a recommendation to check out in Firenze. Foster’s (the guy) brother is a professor teaching there for the summer and had taken them to it. I make a note of it in my phone.

I decide to return to Il Casselo for Frito Misto and a glass of the local bianco.

20130705-115944.jpg A fabulous choice!
calamari gamberi e acciughe…Luckily I had watched a couple in Sorrento and “knew” how to attack the anchovy.

During dinner I had a brief conversation with a man and a woman. The woman was from Austrailia the man I am guessing from Germany…maybe. They were playing a dice game while they waited for their meal. The dice were old, some black, some white, mismatched. They were stored in a beat up little tin. The game was “Cosmopolitan” I think. She asked me if I wanted to “Give it a go” as they were playing for who would pay… She said they had traveled together for 30 years and he was apt to change the rules as they played. He said since it was his grandfather that passed down the tin and dice to him….it was his right.

Tomorrow, perhaps Vernazza.
Ciao!

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