Cinque Terre part 3
With our quest for adventure now running rampant, we decided to take a day-trip and explore beyond the five villages of Cinque Terre. It was a toss up between heading north to Portofino, or south to Portovenere. For no special reason, we ended up choosing Portovenere.
We took the train to La Spezia and trying to be frugal, we bought bus tickets for the second half of the journey. We had a hard time finding the bus stop and everyone we asked simply waved their hand in the same direction. After finding the stop (or at least we thought so), we waited well over an hour, and no bus. We returned to the station and were told the bus comes every twenty minutes. At this point we gave up and took a taxi, so much for being frugal.
We arrived to what was well worth the price of the thirty-minute taxi ride. A long strip of colorful buildings stood under a cobalt sky and along the shoreline of an aqua-blue marina. Small open boats filled with fishing nets, bobbed along side prestigious sailboats and super-sized yachts.
The ancient town was like a hidden treasure, just waiting to be explored and that is exactly what we did. We first wandered out to the gothic church of ‘St. Pietro’ (Saint Peter), which was consecrated on its rocky point in 1198 and built over a preexisting fifth century church. The church stands on a promontory with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean all around it. Like all Italian churches, the atmosphere inside was cool, dark and serene. At the bottom of the peninsula is a small grotto, called ‘Byron Grotto‘ after the poet, who loved to take refuge here during his stays.
Afterwards we made our way up to the high ground on roads that were built hundreds of years ago, leading to ‘Castello Doria’ (Doria Castle). The castle dominates the landscape and teetering on the edge, it overlooks a steep jagged coastline, the magical Poets Gulf and the village of Portovenere.
We spent hours exploring the castle grounds, its walls, wide slit trenches and watchtowers. Taking pictures and stopping every five minutes to admire the scenery. Next we roamed the tight streets of the village, enjoyed a delicious meal beside the marina, and then took a boat back to Cinque Terre. What a beautiful day…
This is a picture of my house in the distance, its the same house that appears on the cover of my book. The house was built in 1993 and is one of kind. It was conceived deep in the depths of my imagination and then designed and built by my husband. Six children have at one time or another called it home and as for my husband and I, its our nirvana.
My relationship with the house and with Norway are a significant part of my story. Thats why my biggest wish is that Fly Away Home will someday be translated to Norwegian. I have sent it out to Gyldendal, a publishing house here in Norway but have not heard back yet…
I also sent a mail to Hjemmet, a weekly Norwegian woman’s magazine, which can easily be compared with Good Housekeeping in the UK, and America. I told them about the book, sent a few snapshots of the house and asked if they’d be interested in doing a photo-spread in exchange for a little book publicity. Anything the house may lack in design is more than made up for in location, but still I didn’t expect much.
I was in the middle of lunch with a mouth full of food when the call came, Hjemmet was interested and before hanging up, a date was set for the photo-shoot! First I danced around the living room, called my husband, my friends, my family and then danced around a little more. It wasn’t before later that night, while lying in bed waiting for sleep to come and rescue me from myself, that I realized what I’d done…
I invited an entire country into my home!
Yes, I wrote a book and told all my secrets, but this is different. This is where I hide when life is unkind, where I drop my armor and where I go to restore myself. Feeling it was too late to back out, I forged on and soon hit another mountain of worries. The house needed to be painted, the deck stained and the yard landscaped to perfection. It was at this time we were blessed with the most beautiful weather and therefore needed to get busy right away, one never knows when the weather will change in Norway.
I worked on the yard while my husband and son painted. After four solid days of painting (yes, I made him take off from work) and working on the last bits of trim, my husband took a bad fall when the ladder slid out from under him. I was inside preparing dinner, the grandchildren were visiting and the dogs were running wild, when I heard my son yell… “Help, Pop fell!”
I ran out, saw him lying in a pool of paint and blood, noticed the boards on the deck below him had actually broke on impact, ran back in and called 911 (its 113 here). I may have jumped the gun a little on that, it turned out he didn’t need an ambulance but I did have to drive him to the hospital, where he got ten stitches in his forehead. He also had sore knees (from crashing through the deck) cuts and bruises, but worst of all was what happened while we were gone.
A brand new bucket of white paint made the fall with him and splattered everywhere. While my son tried to clean it up the dogs and the grandkids managed to march through it and then ran through the house. Thats right, all my floors were now full of white painted paw prints!
To be continued…