Gelato First

 We hop back on the ferry to Vernazza. Along the way we pass more picturesque villages with brightly colored buildings. The air is fresh. The day beautiful.
Since we’ve been here, in Tuscany, the weather has been very fickle and a departure from what is normally expected this time of year. Rain, chilly, sunny, warm. Right now it is close to perfect.

The ferry stops at a few of these villages before we arrive at Vernazza. If you were to google Cinque Terre, the photos that would likely come up are of Vernazza, a horseshoe shaped bay of many colored buildings photographed from high above. I want to take that picture.

After our first few steps and ohs and ahs we do what all travelers must – we test the local gelato. Molto bene.

It begins to rain. Fickle. Karin and I take a seat on a wide window sill under my umbrella while others in our group duck into a store to buy an umbrella they will not need by the time they come out.

There are shops in the large piazza on the water, restaurants and gelaterias. But what there are more of than anything else are Americans. I allow this observation to take away from my traveler experience for a moment then look around again at a place unlike anything in the U.S. I’m back.

I am in search of the route to the eagle’s eye view of this city. We walk up a steep incline that seems to be in the right direction – at least we are going up – when we run into our mates from the other villas. They try to convince us they hiked here, but the train station behind them announces the more likely truth.

We move up as they go down into town. The four others in our carpool aren’t interested in going up so Karin and I go around one corner and up and around another corner and up and so on. At the top of the paved road is an archway and the terrain changes to stone steps of varying heights and levels of disrepair. It is here we encounter the other 4. Very sneaky.

The six of us climb and climb. We pass doorways to mysterious places, vistas of terraced gardens and flowers growing wild in this near perfect climate. Finally we are at a point to look back on the town we just left. It is not the exact view on google or in travel magazines but it is close. And stunning.

We take it all in. I take no less than 20 photos in the exact same spot just in case 19 don’t come out. I use my camera, my phone. I want to ingest this view, imprint it forever on my soul.

It’s time to leave. We have a boat to catch, so we begin our descent. Much quicker on the way down.

Back on the piazza we bump into our friends once again enjoying a glass of wine or a ‘spritz’ or a Bellini. They will take the train back. We join a growing number of people waiting for the ferry.

Karin and I think we are late so we leap onto the waiting boat to find out it’s the wrong one. So we hop back off. Turns out we could have stayed on as it was back in 10 minutes.

Our ferry ride back is close to 2 hours and a little chilly. 3 of us are seated at table chatting, 2 are hunched over our cameras and phones perusing and deleting photos. Alternately we hold one of our devices up to the others face, “Look at this.” To which the other nods and says, “Nice, I think I got a similar shot. Look.” “Nice.” It has always been this way. It will probably always be so.

We run out of things to comment on so we sit silently with our thoughts as the last of our group naps near us.

It has been another long, rich day. Tomorrow holds similar promise.

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