Forgotten in an overcrowded train might be the paradox of the day. But I didn’t care, I was just happy that I got a window seat before the last station. I still had a lot until the day’s destination, but the train had come to an unexpected stop. I thought that it could be hard to pass through the next tunnel, or maybe other trains were due since ours was late from the beginning. Whatever the reason would be, I was still happy that our wagon stopped outside of the tunnel, about 50 m above the sea. I could see the seashore below the cliff and I was wondering how much work and effort has been done for this railroad: half the route is through the mountain and the other half is strong bridges at the edge of the cliff.
But my eyes were caught by the shimmering and glittering sea under the morning sun. I tried to look from one end to another and realized there’s an endless panoramic view, endless for my poor eyes and limited vision. I could only see a little boat passing by in the distance, keeping its balance precariously in this agitated sea. Like a nutshell in a pot of water, the boat kept moving, finding its own way.
And then my eyes were caught by some continuous movement down below the cliff. Stretching for a better view, I realized how lucky I was. Staring at the crashing and restless waves for several minutes gave me the impression that Neptune is back in town. The troubled and frothy waves put a pressure on Earth, and I felt the unseen fight between them and the rocky shore. There is so much energy, so much consumption, so much passion, and things un-said in all these past millions of years.
A few hours later, when we stopped to catch our breath after climbing a steep side of a hill, I rested my eyes again on the endless sea in front of us, and found that different shades of blue kept beckoning and winking to us. And when I leaned on the wood rail to get my balance, I found Monterosso al Mare, the village where we started trekking on Azure Trail, right over my shoulder. Then, like a magnet, I had to turn myself and see the wonderful view of the village, partially hidden by the hill behind us, with the long beach and colorful umbrellas, with the hundreds of people humming along the shore, like minuscule ants moving around their anthill.
The “average” trail is actually quite demanding for my lack of training, but the whole place was pushing me to do things I never realized I can do. The 2 hours hiking seemed much longer than it should be. It must be some other reasons, not only our often breaks. It could be the olive orchards I was mesmerized of, the vineyards surrounding us; it could be the wild blackberries I started picking, or the wild peaches I couldn’t stop tasting, or it could be the huge lemons I couldn’t believe that can grow on a steep slope crossing our way.
The sun above us was burning as fresh as ever in that early afternoon, and showing no sign of cloud or shadow. The rain that has just gone as quickly as it came was just a blessing break that left us with a juicy peach taste, and glittering leaves around us.
A late lunch taken in rush in Vernazza gave us a little more strength to get to our next destination Corniglia, where we decided to get in time, for a good spot, to enjoy a peaceful sunset before getting into the next train for our base in La Spezia.
Happy to get over with the train experience, which basically run at their random schedule, we took a decision to take the passenger ferry for the next day, and with a daily pass we can idle though the day, back and forth to Monterosso, while enjoying a better view of the landscape, and visiting also the other villages in the area: Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
And when I started wondering how or when this place has become what it is, how or when thousands of miles of terraces (comparable with The Great Wall of China) have been made, I realized that human work has enhanced the divine work, or rather the divine work has created the seed necessary for this place to grow, to evolve, an example for all humanity: how a steep side of a rocky coast can be an abundant, prosperous and efficient place, how serene, harmonious and welcoming a place can be, the overhanging land between Monterosso al Mare and Riomaggiore, where The Appenines are sprawling into Ligurian Sea, called Cinque Terre.
While unpleasantly crowded at certain times during the day or the season, the pastel colours of these packed houses, leaning one on top of the other made us forget for a while about modern world.
Letting ourselves in the path of the wind and caressed by the friendly sun, we let our feelings and thoughts, once again, mingle with the blue sky and glittering sea.