04.07.2010 85 °F
On our first night (back) in Monterosso, Heidi and I decided to do a Cute and Happenin' repeat. When we arrived for dinner at Cute, the woman who sat us did a bit of a double take before saying, “Same table!” She was right, Heidi and Stephanie were seated at the exact same table as last time. The restaurant didn't disappoint this time either. Heidi and I decided to split pesto gnocchi and that night's special, white fish. Both were delicious, and we washed them down with a bit of house white wine.
After dinner we decided to head to Happenin' (better known now as Fast Bar). When we arrived at a near empty Fast Bar, we were greeted by no other than Stupid Cupid (SC). Since SC had little else to do, he sat with us and chatted for a while. When he couldn't produce cards for us to finish our game of Loser Face, he even taught us how to play 21 (better known to those from Redwood City as MexiCali). It then became increasingly clear that Heidi is an honest person (or she didn't quite understand the rules of the game), as she refused to lie even when her roll was lower the previous one. After getting to know SC a little better, we decided he wasn't quite so bad after all. And speaking of not so bad after all, Heidi and I also ran into Sacramento. He and his friend joined us for a while for drinks before we heading out for the night and his sense of humor really won us over. Not to mention, he took it really well when I told him, “You've made the blog, you're about to be famous! And, I'm sorry in advance...” Sacramento was quite excited about this and even began planning how he would deal with his upcoming notoriety. He said he pictured himself featured in US Weekly with a caption that reads: “Stars, they're just like us: After the beach Sacramento heads to Fast Bar!” And it didn't stop there, before long our friend Stefano had showed up as well, and we chatted with him until it was time for the evening to come to an end.
Yesterday we devoted ourselves to the beach, and because of this I have very little to write about it. Sometimes I feel a little guilty about spending my time in Italy laying on the beach and swimming in the sea. But I'm pretty sure that you would too if you saw just how beautiful the Italian beach is, just how amazing this Italian sun feels and just how gorgeous these Italian lifeguards really are.
While Heidi had an authentic Italian dinner with Stefano, I had my first solo night in Italy. I wandered the streets of the old and new towns looking for excitement and, finding very little, finally settled on two scoops of gelato and an early night.
We decided that today we would finally manage to hike to the two towns we hadn't made it to on our first adventure in Cinque Terre. We took the train to Corniglia and then set off by foot to Manarola. A short while before we arrived we found stairs leading down to where rocks meet the water. Though the hike wasn't that strenuous, the 382 stairs we had mistakenly taken were, and we were more than ready to jump in and cool off. That is, until we realized that the rocks were covered by moss, muscles and sea urchins. Heidi still managed to jump right in. I got in the water eventually, after carefully inspecting just which rocks were the least covered with underwater life forms. We sat on the rocks to dry off for a bit, hanging out with Mario (the seagull) and Pedro (the crab who came all the way from Ecuador to say “Hola”). We continued our hike, which quickly turned into a walk, until we arrived in Riomaggiore. There, we snacked on gelato before jumping on a train back to Monterosso.
We spent a couple more hours on the beach, chatting with the likes of Stefano and Mario. At one point, Stefano even brought us mini drinks in shot glasses. Cosmo for me, mojito for Hides; the same two drinks we had ordered from him the first day we met him. And after a little convincing, Stefano even said that I could come back and work there next summer as long as I learned Italian. I was pretty excited until he told me there were several other people interested and that I would need to send a resume. I'm not really sure that any of my experience really qualifies me for the position... When it was time to get out of the sun (mostly because I am getting so dark that I may be difficult to recognize), we followed Stefano's recommendation and headed to a local wine bar that he promised had great bruschetta. We ended up getting a sample of bruschetta, trying everything from sardines to olive pate. It was amazing, maybe with the exception of the lard (yes, lard!)....
And now I find myself sitting in a square surrounded by locals and tourists alike, snacking on bruschetta, drinking wine and watching the world cup (with a little bit of blogging, of course).
Traveling continues to give me the kind of perspective on myself and my life that I just can't seem to get when I am at home. As this trip comes to an end, many of our nights are consumed with brainstorming ways that I can continue to have these adventures (Heidi's pretty much figured it out for herself with summers off). I keep thinking that I will suddenly feel fulfilled, that I will have seen enough of the world and I can pick one place to plant some roots without the constant desire to see more. I wish someone had told me a couple years ago there's no such thing as a traveling therapist... Anyone have any suggestions?