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Loved to death

May 9, 2017

We arrived after dark. That had not been part of the plan. We did not have any place to stay. Did not speak Italian. We were cranky after our long train ride from …. well, I can’t even remember. We’d been bickering, as intense, long-term travel with someone can make you do. We were tired, hungry.

We grabbed our heavy things, made heavier by our recent spate of shopping. I pulled out the guide book. We found a phone booth.

Pronto, I heard through the phone.

“Parli Inglese?” It’s my standard foreign-travel tactic. I always learn how to ask if they speak English before I speak. I don’t like to assume.

I had to call a few places before I found one that sounded like they had an available room. Sweet. We started walking, guide book map in hand.

We got to the center of town and walked by a few outdoor restaurants. We spotted three people speaking English at a dinner table, and we both made mental notes. They looked happier than we did. And then, YES! I did understand correctly, and we were able to find a room to rest our weary bodies.

After quickly making our way back to that restaurant, we found ourselves (likely intentionally) sitting just next to the other English speakers. Because yes, it’s wonderful to travel and meet local people and truly experience new cultures. It’s also nice to meet other travelers and get a new dynamic going between you and your travel buddy (in my case, my sister.)

We woke up contented, rested and excited about our new friends and our stay in Cinque Terre. The next few days were some of the best of our 1 1/2-month trip. We ate gelato, DELICIOUS Italian food, and drank too much wine. We hiked, beached, explored, talked to locals, soaked in the weather and the air and the culture. It was divine.

And yes, it is as picturesque as it sounds.


(Photo via

Since that visit nearly (gasp!) 20 years ago, I continue to rave about Cinque Terre and our stay in Monterosso al Mare. It was long enough ago that my pictures aren’t digital, disappointingly.

I’m not alone in my lover for Cinque Terre.  The 5 interconnected, tiny towns are suffering. Suffering from too much love and people clamoring for the experience of a visit.

Cinque Terre Must Now Handle the Pressure of Being on Every Traveler’s Bucket List.

I feel fortunate that my sis and I were able to spend such valuable time there. It changed our entire adventure. One of those Americans we stalked in that restaurant changed her plans as we did ours, and we charted a new course to Greece together. She remained a close friend for years, and is someone to whom I can reach out at any time.

Cinque Terre came along precisely when we needed it to, and it gave us exactly the magic we needed. I hope they can figure out a way to keep the area and towns safe while allowing people to experience the magic.

Grazie, Cinque Terre!

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 11, 2017 05:52

    I love that place. magic for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

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