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If it’s Saturday, this must be Monterosso al Mare

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The view from my bedroom window in Vernazza. We are at the very top edge of town, where the cars come in on a tiny road and must park, because there’s no room for cars in Vernazza.

We took the long – three minute – train ride to Monterosso to the north. Raining and chilly today, which we’ve decided makes it more pleasant as there are few tourists. But it’s too risky to hike – the trails are almost all closed (as was the one we took yesterday, we found out!) That’s our excuse, anyway, and we’re sticking to it.

Another view of Monterosso. Apparently all the houses are a different colour so the fishermen could see their own homes easily from the sea.

 The municipal building of Monterosso.

Fish nets. I don’t remember the nets in Nova Scotia being red and purple and pink.

Can you see those crazy young tourists climbing down the cliff? Bruce refused to look.

But he did look at lunch, at the lovely Cantina del Pescatore I’d read about in TripAdvisor – a simple lunch of divine bruschetta – could I live on bruschetta? Yes I could if the tomatoes came from Italy. Mine had olives and anchovies caught here. Then tiramisu and espresso for dessert.

Our host. Bruce and I both wanted to marry him. Unfortunately his wife was behind the bar. I bought a package of risotto al limone from him to take home. So many people here look like faces from paintings – Giotto, Botticelli, Caravaggio.

Stairs stairs always stairs. Always flowers, plants and greenery and colourful houses.

There’s a basketball net here. What if the ball goes over the edge?

On our way up to a church where, Bruce was happy to learn, there was a crucifixion painted by Van Dyke. We found the tiny little church way up on the hill. I refused to look much at the Van Dyck tho’ BK told me this one did not have the usual blood dripping down. But I do not want to look at that man hanging there any more.

For confezione.  (Guessing at the Italian here…)

While we were there, a group of people with a white-robed priest disappeared into the back, and Gregorian chant started. It was enchanting, magical – we were alone in this lovely little church, Bruce entranced by Van Dyck and then both of us by the centuries-old sound echoing around the centuries-old walls. I wept. Of course.

On the beach in the drizzle – there’s a sculpture in the background carved out of the rock face of a man holding something up. We met Maryann, who it turned out lives in the West End of Vancouver three blocks from Bruce. Coming to Italy has been her lifelong dream. “See you in the Safeway!” he called as we left.

 Always with the flowers.

A glass of blood-orange juice from the Pirate cafe just below our apartment. “The best you’ll ever taste!” he said, and it was.

Right now, I’m listening to Nessun Dorma from next door, on BK’s computer, music to die for. How could you not fall desperately in love with a country that has given the world so much beauty?



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I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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