I awake from the floor of a apartment where I passed the night in the warmth of 5 towels and a small pillow. It wasn't the most flattering of sleeping arrangements, but after 10 hours I am well rested. My friend Sherri has been kind enough to host me in her flat at the last minute, after my original plan fell through. However, I have no room to complain. Her apartment is in Cinque Terre, a famous fairytale along the west coast of Italy, where five famous towns await lovers and adventurers alike.
Two nights sleeping on the floor is worth seeing paradise.
The boardwalk, the beaches gleamed with bronzed bodies. The waters, literally sparkling as if littered with floating diamonds. We are in Monterosso, the town furthest in the North and want to work our way to the other towns for the day. Taking a train from town-to-town would be fastest, but would leave no beauty to the landscape in between. Our options are to go by boat or hike.
We agree that Cinque is beautiful, but cannot compromise on how to experience it.
"You're going for a hike in the hottest part of the day?" she asks.
"Yes....I think so."
"Well...I'm taking the boat. So, call me whenever you make it."
The next town over is Vernazza, which the map says will take two hours, 3 km by foot. I considered none of this, nor the fact that I may need water, as I begin to ascend into the forested trails. It wasn't difficult to know which way to go as there were red and white markers along the trail. Also, the occasional panting and sweating hiker would pass letting me know that I was at least still on the path.
It's been about an hour and there are no signs of Vernazza. The Sun spares no one. But a beautiful thing happens. Somwhere in between giving up and perseverance a breeze blows. Coolly at first, then swiftly. The air at this height is so pure to breath, and each breath gives me the will to go on until finally. Finally, I cross a ridge and look down upon Vernazza.