(JP) Peach juice down my finger as we hike across the sea. Stony secluded beach where we 'splayed' like starfish for hours. Napping cats on the Vernazza streetsteps who sum it all up better than I can. Tastiest mussels of my life in a happenstance cafe (Mon's food gut is wise and all-powerful). Drunken winos shout-talking in the narrow pathways of Corniglia. The upward stroll back to our dwelling we shared with some Virginians under a moon that just managed to peek out over the mountaincrest above us. A Riomaggiore courtyard with dozens of local children and elderly winding the day down, and at its edge a view into endless blue (sky and water), and a little lower down.. a natural cove harbor full of boats, seaside cafes, and I'm sure mermaids too. The most stunningly beautiful sights high above turqouise sea, just translucent enough to showcase stoney gems beneath. Green and yellow hills with vineyards and groves throughout. A blazing sunlight glistening across the Mediterranean, microscopic swimmers who made their way down there, and not a word left to say. Cinque Terre's five towns and the seaside hikes between them are nothing short of majesty. Each one with their own styles; all with perfect bliss in common.
Oh, and the sleep. How can I put this. Something on the wind here makes you travel various time-space continua. I can't tell you what I figured out while there, but I'm pretty sure it was a nice blend of the meaning of life, enlightenment, and levitation. Buddha and I had dinner, I think. Either way, I know my brain didn't stay put once the eyes went shut.
It all but erased the 'hiccups' in Milan, a stopover which certainly prepped us well for any Amazing Race challenge on Tuesday night. We got in Milan around midnight, and had to succumb to starvation at the nearby golden arches (the one good thing I can feel patriotic about - it may not really be food, but damn Mickey Dees is there when you need it). But the low point managed to get lower...we arrived at our hostel only to find they'd given our reservation away. Soooo, dude made a late-night call to cousin Ludovico (Ludwig as a name should really make a comeback), who took us in at the 'sister hostel'. One more taxi later, we stepped into room 2, but which we deemed 'Aunt Celia's room' much more apt a name. Thanks to Venus coming in to lighten the load when Mercury wants to eff things up, the room ended up quite nice indeed, with glass encased shower included. Hottest shower of life wiped away the snafu in a flash; shoot, even Aunt Celia left us a fan by the bed and a full-length mirror! Not even her dog barking at 2:30am outside could break me. But what almost did was the long hunt for a working ATM 3 hours later, when we had to get more cash to pay for Luda's grand hotel (they don't take cards, of course). ATM #1 wasn't having it, but luckily #2 was - which allowed us to not only have to hit and run without paying, but also to make our train to this bliss.
Thank you, Venus. Thank you, Cinque Terre. I put my heart in your five fingers, and remember utter relaxation. Utter joy in earthly speak. And utter shock at the thought that tonight, we get to top you off with Florence.