Thursday, July 03, 2014

Remembering the Cinque terra … and Douglas

In 2001 my friend Douglas and I spent a month in Italy. We had originally planned to go for two weeks until someone mentioned how inexpensive it was to lodge in Monasteries there so I did the math and was thrilled to find that if we did that our budgeted money could be stretched to cover a full month . The first three weeks were spent in Rome, Orvieto, Bavagna, Gubbio, Cortona , Florence and Venice.

Of course they all differed and were wonderful but we’d saved the last week for a special treat. We had decided to visit the Cinque Terre,  the five small villages clinging to the coast of the Italian Riviera. It was the one place where we had no reservations but we’d read somewhere that all you needed to do was show up and someone would appear with rooms to rent so we decided to give it a try.

After a full day’s train ride from Venice we arrived at Montrose al Mare the uppermost village of the 5 and the one in the picture above. As had been promised we’d barely put our luggage down when a lady on a bike approached asking if we were looking for a place to stay and we were able to rent a wonderful villa at an amazingly low rate.

We spent a lot of our time trekking the rugged, steep paths that separated the 5 villages and it was fascinating to see how they differed. Here is Douglas taking a rest between villages.

I have so many memories from our trip to Italy but I believe that my favorite occurred on a sunny afternoon at the Cinque Terre. Douglas and I were taking an espresso break when he suddenly said, “Oh, look …“ and I turned to see a young woman approaching. She wore no makeup and her dress was modest but she was regal enough to be a queen and on top of her head was a huge wicker basket filled with lemons. It felt like she’d just walked out of a painting !

Douglas passed away about a year and a half after that trip so our future travel plans died with him. He was a dear friend and I cherish the memories of our dream trip to Italy.


Blogger Grace-WorkinProgress said...

What a lovely memory for you. It made me want to travel to Italy.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Interesting, I was unaware one could stay at monasteries.
How wonderful that you had such a delightful trip with warm memories of your dear friend.

4:54 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

PS. Sure hope you are spared any of Arthur's fury and damage. Stay safe.

4:55 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

I hope that we get to go to that part of Italy someday. I have always wanted to go there.

7:29 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

Monasteries. I never would have thought of that. Glad you gathered such great memories.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

It's always a treat when you opst of this trip.

1:45 PM  
Blogger possum said...

Oh, envy, envy, envy. sigh.
How wonderful that you has this opportunity to be in a wonderful place with a wonderful person.
A true cherished memory!
Thanks for sharing!

5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lovely memory of your good time with a friend. Thank you for sharing this.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

Ginnie, I am sad that your friend died. It sounds like a lovely vacation though. Thanks for sharing this with us.

3:58 PM  

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