Vernazza was our Ligurian home sweet home this summer, for five days of swimming, pesto, Campari, early sunrises, and hiking through vineyards and over hills before the bright August sun got too hot.
We hiked thousands of steps, drank wine on our terrace, and bought fritto misto and focaccia soaked in rosemary oil, which we learned is made that way to keep the bread from drying out in the breeze.
One evening we spilled our boggle cubes five floors down to the street below, where everyone was too busy with their gelato to notice a rainfall of ceramic blocks. It was a traumatic loss, until a dash downstairs found them all kindly collected by an elderly man who noticed. Is it surprising that he noticed, or surprising that nobody else did?
From our balcony we saw crowds of tourists clustered around cannoli shops, wearing sandals, sipping spritzes, taking pictures, and sifting through bins of soap souvenirs shaped like lemons. On our morning hikes we saw hammocks stretched between trees to collect olives, and passed restaurants with cocktails and views of the sea. We rode the train, lost the camera, sipped fizzy water and sweated a lot, and spent one afternoon at the mall because we just needed a little air conditioning.
As the sun drooped in the late afternoon, we could see girls brushing their hair through the open windows and smoking cigarettes as they got ready for whatever they were going to do. Pink stucco, laundry, and geraniums faded into evening as the lights came up and the restaurants stirred noodles drenched in seafood.
The purpose of this trip was to be active and hike to all Cinque of the Terre. It was harder than we expected! Or maybe we’re older than we realize? All that climbing made us think we may not be able to undertake trips like this anymore, at least not unless we start prioritizing fitness over things like croissants and happy hour. Would the kids have liked this vacation? I’m not sure….
But it was a lovely five days of hiking without complaints!
Being without our kids was hard, but this was an unexpected summer of Grace for Mike and me. In so many ways the end of one hardship and the introduction of another, while at the same time the end of one gift and the start of a new one. I will take the grace, and this guy, one day at a time, forever.