Finding My Balance, and Heaven on Earth

….in Monterosso al Mare, the first of the Cinque Terre villages coming from Milano.  Thank the goddess, when I booked my train reservation Saturday, after standing in line for close to an hour, I learned that there was an earlier train departing from Milano, allowing me to arrive here at 11:00 am, thereby having a full twenty-four hours in my idea of Heaven on Earth.  I’d hoped to stay here three nights and to explore all five villages by boat, train and famous cliff-side hike.  But alas, only one night in my exquisitely perfect, single room with a view onto the quaint old village and Mediterranean Sea. 

It’s Tuesday morning and I’m sitting in the quiet corner of the sun-filled breakfast room, full of American tourists, sipping my second cappuccino as I type this.  

Yesterday I followed Rick Steve’s self guided walking tour and restaurant recommendation, to enjoy numerous photo “ops” and a luncheon on the harbour of risotto al mare (with clams, mussels, and octopus tentacles) and stuffed anchovies – both local favourites – and a half litre of local house vino bianco. 

Had I been with at least one other person I’d have relished having the famous terracotta crock of fresh seafood bouillabaisse – chock full of mussels, shrimp, lobster and a whole octopus!  I witnessed a table of friendly women from Iowa delightfully “wrestle” with that one!

View to the "New Town"

I walked through the tunnel to the “new town” to learn the trail from Manoralo to Monterosso was suddenly closed due to a landslide throwing the devout hikers with daypacks and trekking poles in a tizzy.   I sampled a rosemary and salted fresh foccacia, and then sat by the sea, sipping another local specialty, limoncello on ice, accompanied by a dish of roasted pistachios.  More subtle in both flavour and colour than what I buy at home.

For Limoncello

I sat on the terrace of my room for hours, watching the sea, feeling the coolness, and hearing the village grow silent except for the cooing doves and chirping crickets.  I slept with the French doors wide open, and awakened at midnight to a sky full of stars and silence.  Such a sweet change from the heat and noise of the city. 

And this morning I woke at dawn to a sky softly pink against the slate grey calm sea thankful for these twenty-four hours of simple, natural beauty and tranquility.

In a few hours I’ll pull myself away and make the four-minute train trip to the next village, Vernazza, where I’ll stay for two days and tour the rest of the Cinque Terre.

View to Vernazza

About Katharine Weinmann

living and leading with courage, clarity, compassion and creativity
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8 Responses to Finding My Balance, and Heaven on Earth

  1. M says:

    Special festive wishes for the 8th!! I am envious of your pink grapefruit gelato and enjoying reading about your adventures – both the ones that delight immediately and those that need time to ripen fully. I am missing your presence and look forward to seeing you. Bon fete!


    • Grazie mille car’amica mia. Yes, I think of you every time I taste it…as wonderful as you said. As I hiked with Karen and Bill, she very much a kindred spirit, I mentioned your words of wisdom…those that need time to ripen. They, too, hiked the Camino and said that people say, the Camino begins after you return home. Buona Camino.
      Tuscany is beautiful, today Siena.

  2. carolyn lewis says:

    Hi Katharine,
    I was in Turkey over the spring break and thought of you often as I breathed in the magic of Istanbul. I thouroughly enjoy your writing and feel that it has deepened my appreciation of the new and possible on my recent journey. Cheers and looking forward to the next installment (:

    • I wondered where spring break might have taken you this year, Carolyn. I’m forever grateful to you for having organized my “inaugural” trip to Greece. It and your expressed confidence in me have served me well. Moving into Toscana for the next week…will celebrate my birthday in a villa outside of Siena.

  3. Terri Songbird says:

    Hi Kath…. I so enjoy your posts,,, and I am so happy for you that you moved with grace thru the loneliness,, as many have expressed to you,,, you are held with much love

    enjoy your day,,,love Terri

    • Hi dear sister – the Cinque Terre was magnificent and I learn that I do better in the small, naturally oriented sites….today Pisa, Lucca and tomorrow Sienna where I may just sit for 5 days. love to you

  4. Terry Stevens says:

    I am enjoying vicariosly all of the beautiful scenery seen through your artistic eye. I hope all the anxiety has dropped away and been replaced by sheer joy. Can’t wait to talk to you.

    • Thanks, Terry, this is part of the reason I’m doing this labour of love. The anxiety comes and goes…with a new destination, some weariness. Joy is right in the mix. Love to you….

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