The other day in the news: "flip-flops forbidden for hikers in Cinque Terre". (Italy) My thoughts go back to the hike that my husband and I made a few years ago in Cinque Terre. And the unusual meeting with a gardener ....
The gate squeaks as we leave the hotel early in the morning. Without breakfast, without coffee, but with sturdy walking shoes (!) on our feet. The sun is already up and although it is still cool, you feel that it is going to be a warm day.
The hike from Monterossa al Mare to Vernazza is 3.5 km long. During the day the path will be crowded with people, but early in the morning the path is abandoned. The path is narrow and winds high above the sea from one village to another. The views are spectacular.
As we arrive in the neighbourhood of Vernazza, I see some allotments high above the path. In one of these an old gardener is watering his tomatoes. I would have loved to have a look into his garden. Unfortunately, there is no path to climb up to him. And if there was a path, what could I have said? I only speak a few words Italian. Frustrated because I cannot say anything and cannot reach him, I wave and call one of the few words I do know: "Buongiorno!"
In this Buongiorno I express everything: 'What a wonderful morning - sorry I cannot come up to see the garden - do the tomatoes grow well - are the eggplants big enough to harvest?'
From above he waves at me and smiles broadly, "Buongiorno!"
Am I imagining or do I hear in his Buongiorno: 'you are so right to go hiking early - I would have liked to show you my garden- the tomatoes are ripe- and my wife will make a lovely 'melanzane alla parmigane' from the eggplant.
This gardener. I feel connected to him despite the distance and language barrier. Is it because we both love plants?
After this “meet and greet” we walk to Vernazza. To have breakfast and an espresso. In the port of Vernazza we see the first tourists with flip-flops embarking…
Enjoy your week
The village we stayed in. Monterosso al Mare.
We also enjoyed the flowers of Morning glory
The views where spectacular.
the path is narrow...
Vernazza view from the path above, early in the morning.