Tuesday, 29 January 2008


We just received this email from son Alex who is travelling in Europe with Jing Jing (of Flat Stanley, as well as Chinese vegetable identification fame). It seems that my yearning for going to Italy is well-placed and Alex explains ever so eloquently....

........."The next morning we woke up in the absolute idyllic Italian village of Monterosso. Early in the morning there were older men and women dotted about the beach reading newspapers, talking with friends, or just sitting. Several groups had congregated about the town square and were speaking and gesticulating vigorously in that hearty way that characterizes Italians everywhere. It seemed to be the norm that everybody would come to eat and talk together in the mornings before getting on with the day.

Monterosso is one of five small towns in a national park called Cinque Terre ("chin-kwah ter-ray", it means five worlds). There are walking tracks between the towns and on Saturday we walked from Monterosso to Vernazza, and then thought the area was so beautiful that we continued to Cornigila and then to Manorola. Cinque Terre is very steep, to the point that at least half of the walking track was a stairway. Nevertheless the locals have terraced some of the hillsides and built picturesque vineyards (I guess these predate the national park status of the area). All the villages are built on the ocean, so as we approached each one over the hills we got fantastic views of towns nestled between the rolling countryside and the vast Mediteranean Sea.

In many ways this is my favourite place so far in Europe, although Nice and Lyon come close. I thought I would never find something as simple and enjoyable as buying bread in France (the fantastic possibilities presented by a French bread shop are almost as exciting as finally eating the chosen piece) but it turns out that just saying anything in Italian, to anyone, comes close. Somehow the language compels one to adopt a hearty Italian accent, and how could anyone not enjoy saying "Buongiorno!", "Arividechi", and "No problemo!" with an Italian accent?"

1 comment:

Maggie said...
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