Sunday, November 13, 2005

Cinque Terre

Thank you to Gretchen Egolf, who first suggested I go to Cinque Terre.

I should try to make this fast. I notice when I do get online, I spend more time responding to people's comments and answering emails than I do posting entries on this journal. I also have to catch a train in about half an hour, and once I start writing an entry, it's hard to know when to stop. "Give an Irishman a chance to talk and you'll never shut him up" as it said in Mad magazine many years ago.

I spent the weekend in Cinque Terre, a group of five small villages along the coast of the Ligurian Sea. If Italy is a boot, they'd be close to the kneecap. The villages are linked by train, and even better, a series of trials you can hike. The trails run the gamut from an easy walk on a sidewalk alongside the water to a rather challenging trek through the mountains alongside vineyards. The trails aren't difficult in that they are on crumbly ground, but the journey up the mountain can feel mighty steep. At one point, I found myself breathing heavily. Normally, I try to hide this, but as I was alone, I let the loud breath come freely. If someone had heard me, I'm sure they would have wondered who got an iron lung so high up on the mountain.

But the views on the hikes are incredible. The good trails take about an hour and a half. I took about two hours on each one, simply because I kept turning around to enjoy the view. When you do reach one of the towns, it is a thrill to walk from wilderness into a little community, where people are kind, and you can have a nice lunch of olives, a sandwich and a beer for less than five euros.

to be continued


Iva said...

My heavens, John, if you, with all the walking you do, were winded climbing up the trails, can you imagine what they would do to the rest of us mere mortals? Cardiac arrest to be sure!
Cinque Terre sounds both invigorating (see above) and restful. I think it must be lovely to find a little cafe somewhere, have a glass of wine and matter what the cost...and just relax and let the world go by. Wunderbar! (Oops, wrong country.) Bella!
So I assume that you are heading off to Roma again for your final visit there. I hope you enjoy it and the time in Amsterdam, too. Stay away from the brownies this time or you may find yourself flying home...sans airplane!
I love you. E-mail me when you get back to NYC, OK?

the hanged man said...

The trails between two of the towns are easy and fairly level. Unfortunately, one of them was closed because of landslides. On the more challenging trails, they do actually have an emergency call station in case you are injured or having cardiac arrest.

In Cinque Terre, not only can you watch the world go by, but you can ignore the world and just watch the sea. Very theraputic.

I think I am going to skip the brownies this time in Amsterdam. My plane doesn't arrive until 2:15, I won't get settled until after 4:00, and I just don't feel like feeling worn out on the flight back the next day.

I will call or email when I get back to NYC. It probably won't be until sometime around 7:00.

Iva said...

The time is fine...and, if you are too tired to call, just E-mail me and let me know you are back on terra firma. OK?
I love you,

the hanged man said...

There are those who would argue I haven't been on terra firma in years...