A beautiful afternoon, and then, some catch-up . . .

Well, we’ll see . . . I titled this, and the hit “enter” so I hope I can amend this post. Otherwise, there is always another, right?

I have neglected to write about the day trips we have taken while we were in the villa in Ambra, but now, I am sitting in the little train station in Manarola (fourth from the “top”), the Cinque Terre village in which we are staying for three nights. This morning it was cold and stormy, so we bagged the plan to go to Camoglie and Portofino, hoping tomorrow morning will be better. But then the day turned beautiful at about noon, and I have returned from an afternoon in Vernazza, the second little village from the “top” (north) of Cinque Terre.

In Vernazza I found a favorite restaurant, got a glass of the local wine and made reservations for dinner. Then crossed the piazza about twenty steps to the wall just overlooking the little beach and inlet in this lovely place. Boats peppered the piazza, and as I looked out to the sea, I heard the din of all the international voices all around me. Today was some sort of May Day, and many little children were celebrating their first communion, which is apparently a HUGE family event. Our own host, Andrea, showed up this morning outside the breakfast room at Da Baranin in a white suit and red printed shirt, on his way to a family celebration in La Spezia with his wife, two young children, his brother and sister-in-law and their baby, etc. In Vernazza, little girls in their white dresses ran around happily with younger cousins, siblings, and beaming aunts, uncles and parents.

I sat on the edge of the water and then moved to a table steps away, part of the Ristorante Gamberoni Rossi, I believe. I think that’s the Red Shrimp Restaurant, believe it or not. I sat alone, luxuriating in my solitude amidst thousands of visitors. Asked the waiter for a plate of sliced tomatoes and a pesto pasta dish (pesto originated in this area, and it was green, creamy, and delicious). The food came with the requisite bread basket, plate of foccacia, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a bottle of water (senza gassa-without bubbles). Also un quarto, a 25 ml. carafe of a better version of the local wine. I had a conversation with a nice couple next to me from Seattle, then settled into my food and my book.

By the time I had finished both the food and the first story in the book, I was nearly in tears with the joy of just being here, reading Amy Bloom’s exquisite prose from her book of short stories, entitled Come to Me. The first story is entitled “Love Is Not A Pie”, and I remember it from years ago. Truly it is the kind of writing you want to read out loud to your dearest friend.

Enough already. I am going to walk back up the windy old brick and stone street through Manarola, back to my room to rest a bit and get ready to go back to Vernazza tonight with half of my group to have dinner at Gianni.

More later.

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