The rain has not let up all night. The wind is fierce against the apartment windows. I wonder if the wind will carry away the crucifixion scene lights on the vineyard across the way and what the path through the vineyard to Corniglia will be like tomorrow. I don’t have to wait long to find out.
At daybreak it is still raining and blowing. We hear someone outside our door and look to see who it is. A large picnic basket filled with warm bread and pastries has been tied to the door.
There is already ample cereals, milk, jams, and assorted coffees and teas supplied in the kitchen, but who can turn down warm bread and pastries? We take our time eating breakfast hoping the weather will perk up.
It doesn’t. I ask my husband, “What shoes did I bring to wear in the pouring rain and look good in mud?” Hmmm…… Hmmm…… Didn’t I see a hiking supply shop on the hill walking up here yesterday? We bundle up and step outside. The wind is buffeting us through the small passageways and moves us right along. I’m freezing. I keep hearing running water. I look down at the drain along the side of the road and realize there is a river running through it. The river is about six feet below the ground and moving right along. The wind keeps us moving too. In 2011, Vernazza, one of the Cinque Terre villages, was washed into the sea by a massive flood. They are just now getting things back to order from the massive mess. That is the kind of day it is, will we be washed into the sea? The hiking shop is small but offers shoes, socks, jackets, scarves and a washing machine that is washing away at the front of the shop. Hikers can wash their clothes here. I bet they do a big business, what a great idea. I look over the hiking shoes. I see a pair that looks just like me. Practical, comfortable, and a little weird.
The laces lace all the way to the end of the toe. I haven’t seen shoes that look like this before. As we leave the shop I ask about the river below the street.
“As long as the river is moving below the street it won’t wash us out above the street,” is the reply. “The water moves from the hills to the sea underground.” Well that’s a relief.
Along with the hiking shoes, I bought a scarvy thinky that can be wrapped in several styles around my head, neck or just ears and I think it looks spiffy and keeps my head warm. We continue our walk down the hill to the main street of Manarola. Restaurants are closed and so are the shops. It is eerie. The boats in the street are covered up. At the sea wall we take the path around the sea edge. There are not too many people out, too blustery, too rainy. We make our way back to the main drag after a while and decide on a cafe that has a terrace covered in a heavy plastic wind shield so you can still dine outside and see out. We take our seats and take our time. No need to rush about. Several other guests have done the same. Suddenly an Italian woman sitting at the front table near the exit gets up to go. She starts screaming that her borsa (purse) that she had hung over the back of her chair is missing. The screaming turns to frantic cussing as she goes to all the tables looking for her bag. Her husband helps her look and tries to comfort her. She still screams. The women all check out their purses to make sure they are where they put them. This would be a nightmare for any woman. She eventually leaves none too happy. The manager did try to talk to her, but it was useless. Lesson learned again: Nevah Evah place your purse on the back of your chair when dining out. Keep it in your sight. We finish our dinner/supper and head back up into the hills. It is still rainy and cold. Housekeeping has been to the apartment. There is a bottle of champagne and a note to let us know we can get our linens changed twice a day instead of once a day. There are candies on our pillows. What woman changes linens twice a day, I think? My husband picks up the remote control for the TV. I guess it will be our introduction to Italian media, our first experience since we arrived in Italy. It breaks my first commandment. Thou shall not watch TV on vacation. I hope the sun comes out tomorrow!
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