I started my Wednesday with torta e caffe. Ya gotta love a country that starts their morning with cake and coffee! Afterwards I sat on the terrazzo and wrote for a bit. As I may have mentioned, and will undoubtedly mention again, the wifi here is maddening! Truly, I know I am in paradise and should just let it go, but being able to attempt to catch up with you was a goal. So when I had had basta, I took my frustrations to the sea. The sea is always good for that. I intend to pay the 40 or so euro one day for the chair and umbrella, but today, it’s the spiaggia libera.The water was freddo, but I’d ease in the shallows every once in a while and look for sea glass. A cinque minuti hunt proved profitable. My cappello has seen better days. After a few hours in the sole, I returned to the room, cleaned up and commenced to roaming. I was not sure where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. I headed through the tunnel enjoying the guitar music the closed area amplified. The guitarist was quite good. He was playing Carly Simon then segued into James Taylor, certo!Past the tunnel and through new town I roamed. As you can tell, yesterday’s questionable weather is a thing of the past.Walking along a park, I am sad to see what it has turned into. Instead of kids running and playing on the equipment, it is now simply a place to find shade to play on their phones, che triste!On the first pass by the stazione, it is very crowded. On the second, not as much. I enter and buy 1 ticket on the regionale treno. My plan is to head to Riomaggiore. There I have due goals. Uno- fritto misto in a cone. Due- find Bar e Vini a Pie de Ma and have un bicchiere di vino con una vista! Andiamo!! Goal uno- check…well kinda. I could not find the piccolo, very local shop I stumbled across last time. Instead there was a slicker place. The kind with a company sign outside and instead of paper cones, a factory made cup kinda thing….gasp!! On the up side, the calamari was pretty good. Goal due- Although this was one of my favorite spots before, I could not remember how to get to it. On my last visit, I was told about it by a guy that worked at my hotel. He said you would not find it if you did not know where you were going. Well, this time, I know where I want to go, but I still cannot find it. I go through the long tunnel from the stazione that leads to the village. The whole time I am thinking, “This doesn’t make sense. It is ON the water.” So after I bought and ate my fritto misto, I remembered the bar was on or near Via dell’Amore, and I asked the way. Sure enough, back through the tunnel and up a couple flights of stairs and I arrived.This has got to be one of the best bar views around. The place is super low-key. They don’t come up to you, you go in the small building and ask for what you would like, then you choose your spot, sit back, relax and enjoy. It is simply a MUST if you are in the area. I enjoyed il vino bianco, il sea, la vista and the uccelli che ballano nella brezza.Back at the stazione you can look up and see where the bar is. This time I will not forget. Being in a place like this for several days is very special. It is wonderful when you can find a rhythm. It is even more wonderful when your visit coincides with an event in town. Something I have learned in my travels, when you hear a band playing…find it. I followed the sound of a 3rd string band playing a slow march. When I caught up with it, there were two groups of people; onlookers like myself and those in a procession. Today is San Giovanni’s Feast Day and he is the patron saint of Monterosso….didn’t know that. But there he was, being carried through the town (twice) by locals dressed in ancient garb and with the strongest of the group carrying a large, large crucifix. Included in the procession were visiting priests and bishops. One boy walked with a PA system rigged to a beam. Through this, the faithful would follow along reciting prayers with their priest. Once they made their way down (slowly) to the port, I thought the festivities were over. I went to a family favorite restaurant Al Pozzo. The dish I love is on the menu as only being prepared for due, so before being seated, I went in the area before the kitchen and asked if I may be granted the favor, again this year, as to have the Gnocchi con Gamberi e Crema di Pomodor prepared for one. The waitress inside agreed. However, when I was seated and ordered a mezzo portion of this, as Avery says “Heaven on a Plate”, my waiter told me “No. Solo per due.” “But in the cucina, they told me certo.” He then cast me the funniest, “if you say so” look in pure italian. Bottom line, my wish was once again granted! While enjoying every bite of my gnocchi, the procession strolled by again. And then, a loud, loud boom was heard and felt. Just as I know what to do when I hear a band, I likewise know what to do when I hear a loud boom…look skyward.
I love firework displays. I especially like them when I am right under them. I will never forget being on a blanket at Lady Bird Park with mom and the kids. It was Fredericksburg’s (some special year) anniversary, several years before we lived there. The fireworks were directly above us. Before that I remember a 4th of July in Aspen with Blaine. This evening, I will remember as well. As the little girl continues to declare, “Che Bello!!”. The mezza luna is a sign that I am halfway through my trenta giorni in Italia. When the luna is full, it will be time to return home. Until then, there are more adventures to come.On the way home, I followed the candle lined streets to a small market where I bought melone, ciliegie, prosciutto e pane in preparation for tomorrow’s morning at la spiaggia.