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Waking up Cinque Terre Italy
The bell tower rings seven chimes. I am awake. The rooster in the distance told me it is morning. The geese residing in the slow moving mountain stream nearby are on first call.
The little porch outside my room in Vernazza, Italy, is a perfect place to take in the morning. I can sleep at home.
Below a man is watering his patio garden. His porch is much bigger than mine and is filled with green plants in colorful pots. The Morning Glory is climbing a trellis nearly up to my level and is happily bouncing in the cool morning breeze.
The little café below the building is open. I hear the familiar voice of the owner. It is obvious he is well liked as he banters with customers. He knows enough English to be charming and brings his American customers back. We eat breakfast there each morning. http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... Off in the distance I see the church tower. It is a simple church but sitting at the top of this hillside town. The apartment buildings are built up the side of the hill leading to the church. Behind them are vineyards on narrow ridges. Each ridge is reached by narrow steps. Outside of town entire hillsides are covered by these terraced grape vines and tended by a machine that crawls up and down the hill.
A group passes with their hiking poles, ready to begin an early morning hike along the ancient narrow paths that connect the five Cinque Terre (five towns) villages Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore. For hundreds of years these villages were only accessible by sea or the paths, now connected by modern electric trains. Built as a defense against Ligroin Sea pirates, the trails are so beautiful that Italy has made them a National Park and charges a small fee for the privilege to hike them.
We hiked the trail connecting three of the towns yesterday. As the 360 steps lift us up the mountainside the panoramic view of the villages and rugged coast opens before us. It is hard to look down for sure footing on the steep drop off side of the trail. The sun is setting. We must hurry to finish before dark. Finally, my daughter admonishes me to, “Put the camera away, Mom.” We finished before dark. http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... The local residents are moving about now. A elder lady passes with her shopping bag, most likely having visited the fresh produce market down near the dock. The shop keeper below greets her warmly. As I glance down the narrow street, I notice wash hanging out windows and off apartment porches. They are as colorful flags fluttering in the breeze. There are no clotheslines as there are no yards. Everything goes straight up.
Morning is in full swing. It is time to start our day. This is beach day. A day to watch, listen, and learn.