Day Trip to Cinque Terre

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My toy-like Piccell blares and jumps, and the shuffling and groaning commences. Tip-toes on cold wood floors and goose bumps on exposed skin greet the creeping window light. The next hour passes as an unfocused blur.

We single-file into a towering grey box with wheels, and the uneasy stench of gasoline fills the air but only for a while. The wheels bump and halt along the cobblestones. While inside, there is only whispering, snoring and waiting.

Another blur passes with a final halt.

More gasoline, shuffling and groaning.

A white box on top of crystal blue water awaits with people talking, clicking and waiting.  And of course, there is the elderly couple carefully mounting the box with the stability of ski poles in place of actual walking sticks.

My bare skin sets on the cold surface of the box, and the goosebumps reappear. The sky sprinkles and roars. After a blur of anxious whispers on the back-and-forth of the box, the wind no longer burns and eyes begin to squint. The clouds are forgiven. The turquoise of the water is saturated.

Lonely jellyfish dance along the crashing waves and a hazy daze sets in.

Heads turn, fingers point and bodies arise as a rainbow line of man-made leaning and towering boxes come into view, behind the sun-kissed rocks of the sea. Sighs and gasps make their rounds. The captivating oddness of squished together boxes painted with shades of sherbet ice cream stuns only before the motor of the white box stops, and anxiety overcomes.

The subtle ebb and flow of the box brings another round of groaning as our bodies beg for a literal stopping of motion. The waters refuse and sway us into a hypnotism of sea-sickness.

Our feet touch the docks that tease instability.

Portovenere, the Roman goddess, Venus, would be proud.

We busily wander through the shops and stands, smelling salty loafs of foccacia and fragrant basil that is used to make their world famous pesto. Our minds busy with currency conversions and flavors that induce tongue-tingling and dancing.

By boxes on sea, on tracks, on wheels, we commute to every part of Cinque Terre, and partake in sun-bathing and more busy wandering.

I sneak off for quiet intermissions, letting the wind swish my hair into an indistinguishable disarray. The wind whispers kind words in to my ears while the ocean waves crash into the rocks as if begging for more attention.

Couples kiss and take their time strolling along the mountain-side hike on Lover’s Lane. People pass through, stopping, flash, click. I stare, sigh and will my mind into taking mental photographs.

We return to the apartment. Washing the grit off of my calloused and swollen feet, I unpack my thoughts. As the cold water gives my feet life, I think back to the forgiving clouds and turquoise waters. My heart yearns.

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Travel Writing Day 3 Character Profile

Photo courtesy of juanita.laguna

Piazza Strozzi. Where my morning Travel Writing class was located.
Photo courtesy of juanita.laguna

He shuffles from side to side closely reading the titles of the books sold on the street side stand.
From <<Le Nave>> to <<Le Rose Classiche>>, he shuffles back and forth between the books, pausing only momentarily to glance at his watch, letting herds of pedestrians by.

Hand in pocket, one shoulder slightly dropped, he stands with confidence.
This man is clearly Italian.
His hair is meticulously slicked back, and he sports a matte black jacket and dark denim pants, as only Italians can on a breezy but warm summer morning.

He begins to look around now at battered white taxis and foreigners with clonking, bulky rolling luggage. He looks around, and without a sigh or reaction begins to walk.

I look down, letting my bangs sweep my face to conceal myself with invisibility.
I see his black shoes passing, but he stops to stare for a moment at me sitting on the side of a stone building trying to blend in.
I do not react.
Only letting my bangs subtly sway with the wind, I do not move.

He looks at his watch and continues on his way.

No words were exchanged, no interaction was necessary. Where was this man going? Will he get to his destination on time? He did not strike me as a person that needed a destination, only a way of getting there.

With the roar of a Vespa and clop-clop of a horse-drawn buggy, I forget the man.
I am invisible once again.

The sky wears water-colored shades of grey.

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Waffling. My home vs. my home.

In Italy, it would be almost 3 am… and I am definitely feeling it.

Today was my first full day home and so far, I have felt so welcomed and so missed.
My parents keep telling me that my eyes brighten and widen every time I talk about my experiences. I thought I was ready to leave when I was there, but the inability to walk everywhere and lack of constant human interaction is making me a little “home” sick.

A lot more tearful goodbyes were exchanged than I thought would be.
I really will miss those lovelies so much. You guys made my journey what it was and although there were some bumps along the cobblestone road, I wouldn’t change any of it.
All of you have such defining characteristics, and I am so honored to have  taken part in a portion of your lives.
You guys are family. and like I said before… this is not goodbye, but see you later.
Really though.

I have the travel bug once again, and I realized how much of the U.S. I have yet to touch.

 

More on this and past mental dwellings to come!

For now, I must waffle between a stream of Italian and American habits, while unpacking literally and figuratively, adjusting to the time zone, catching up with loved ones, and sorting through souvenirs for a special few of you!

Ciao!

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clean up song!…

A roll of paper towels, a sponge, two towels, and a bottle of Italian windex later…
the fridge is free of shelves and mounds of red mold.

and my hands smell delicious.

Along with a morning of cleaning random parts of the apartment. I’m clearing out the clutter of my Italian life… some things I won’t miss so much?

Hah.

Who knows where we’ll eat tonight or if I’ll get say all my goodbyes…
But we know for certain that at 4 am, I will be leaving my beloved Florence and heading to Rome, where I shall depart for home.

So many conflicting emotions. What to do!

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And then there were FIVE…

Woke up early this morning to say goodbye to Marcella [better known as MarcyWarcy], and had a final morning cappuccino at the News Cafe with Emily [better known as Em, Emery, Emily Wazowski]… our beautifully mustached bartender sent her off right with a sunset on her cappuccino…

The sun is slowly setting on our journey… and I don’t know if I’m ready for it.
sadness! [insert sigh here]

Guys… I love home and my family at home…but I love my home here.
Torn.

But I trust the universe will cross the paths that need to be and take us all to greater heights.
I will never forget the crazy days/nights, the getting used to annoying habits hah., and the way you guys yell at me (;
Our adventures are set in the stones of my heart [cheesiness!]

My wanderlust has been reawakened.

Love you so much Marcy and Em! You guys are like sisters to me.
[Double kiss on cheeks!]

Ciao belle!

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Lemonade and Capri part II

Update! One final down, one final and one practical to go.

I know more about current trends in Italian cuisine then my brain would like at this current moment. haha exhausted and literally dripping with sweat right now. The high today was 93 degrees

Not wanting to let Mister Sun win his mischievous game, we set out anyway with gelatos in hand. Gifts and sourvenirs galore! Chocolate leather gloves, Florence-boar branded tees, lambskin bound journals, and the most perfect hand bag… one-of-a-kind..at least among the markets. Success.

We also walked around the Ponte Vecchio and the Oltrarno, watching the best dressed men, probably ever, stroll around in crisp tailored suits… in 93 degree weather. It was quite the sight. [photos to come later (;]

So anyway, I shall continue my Sorrento/Capri rant!

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So after my giddy affair with the Blue Grotto, we trekked our moist bodies up the hill of Capri to Anacapri! The top of the island. You literally take a single person ski lift up the entire way… extremely intimidating being alone towering over the landscape below… but in the end, it was all the more peaceful.

Man, I am one lucky girl.
Still has not hit me that I’ve been in Italy and that I have come so far.

Grazie mille once again to my loved ones.

The view was absolutely spectacular. With gardens and walkways, you could see the entire island from up there. Once in a lifetime experience folks!


The ski lift down was a tad scarier. Ya know, staring down to your death, no big deal?
but we made it back down in one piece and lollied down to the rocky beaches of Capri. I don’t think I have ever swam in more blue or turquoise waters. I conquered my fear of “heights” and jumped off one rock… and got my entire throat dehydrated by the salt water.
 So my night ended with…

sea sickness [from hours on the boat]
sun poisoning [too much sun exposure I guess… Yes, I am tan now.]
sore sore sore throat
and erm… the start of some womanhoodthings.

It was real fun.

But the next morning, was even moreeee fun. Thanks roomies. ha. ha.
The beach cured all once again though. Don’t you worry.

Sorrento and Capri, I’ll be back for you too (:

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When you want life to give you lemons, go to Sorrento! part I

That’s right folks. This past weekend, my whacko lovely roommates and friends and I took a “break” from our studies and made our way to the Amalfi Coast!!

A painful gulp, surrender of euros, and shfancy train ride into Naples followed by a stinky train ride later, we stepped out into the lemon tree studded city of  Sorrento.

After checking into a quasi hostel/hotel, we dragged our sticky and train-sick selves to the Saint Anna beach pier and laid out on the rocky beach to be crisped like delicious strips of bacon…or pancetta in our case (;
and of course, we found ourselves some rocks to swim to and recreate a more realistic and equally less dreamy rendition of the Little Mermaid [just kidding…or am I?]

We toasted our day with a bottle of house while wine and a plate of the most amaaazing plate of shrimp and fresh pasta. S. Antonino, now I know why you’ve persisted since 1977. You keep doing your thang!

Wandering through the spacious streets and cramped alleyways, I discovered that Sorrento has nudged a special place in my heart. It is not flashy, unwelcoming, too welcoming. It just is a great town.
Let’s skip the obvious suspense going on here, of course I’ll be back.

Now, the next morning my crazies and I greeted the morning with squinted eyes to the most perfectly cloudless day. Oh and we headed to Capri!!


On a mid-sized ferry, we took a two hour tour around the island of Capri, witnessing multiple celebrity villas and grottos… Yes, the Blue Grotto!!!
We were unsteadily lowered into little row boats and lazily rowed to the mouth of a cave.
It wasn’t until our Grottoman yelled, “Lay down!!” did I realize exactly how small the cave opening was.
Welcomed by a whistling of wind, we were immersed in the eeriest brightest shade of sapphire blue in a rather large cave. People clapping and laughing with delight, others jumping into the abyss of blue. I was stunned by the natural beauty that surrounded me.

[to be continued…] [studying for finals…] [gah.]
okay, Ciao!! (:

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