Waves of the Sea 
      by Aileen Fisher

Waves of the sea
make the sound of thunder
when they break against rocks
and somersault under.

Waves of the sea 
make the sound of laughter
when they run down the beach
and birds run after.


On Tuesday morning I headed from Rome to La Spezia (a four hour train ride) where I then had to get a local train that travels between the small villages that make up Cinque Terre.  I was staying in an apartment in the most southern of the cliff side villages Riomaggiore.  The apartment was lovely with the sea air coming in through the open windows and shutters which looked out over the main street of the village.

Once I was settled I went exploring and found a lovely spot on the rocks to enjoy the crashing waves.  I felt more relaxed enjoying the sound and smell of the sea then I can remember ever feeling.  After my spot started getting invaded by tourists… I mean other tourists… I went back to my apartment to freshen up for dinner and try to figure out where the wine bar I had researched was located.  I wandered as high as I could coming to a castle and church at the top of the village and then wrapping above the train station.  I could see the wine bar, Bar Vini “A Pié de Mà” long before I could figure out how to get there.  I spent  most of the evening sitting, enjoying the sunset, the sound of the waves, and wine.  Could life be better?  Before it started to get dark, I left the bar because I was a little nervous about making the walk back in the dark.  I was still hungry though.  The food at the wine bar was good, but not a meal… I had foccacia, pesto and olive oil.  The kitchen was closed for the season, so there was only cold food and appetizers being served.  So once I was back on the village’s main street, I bought a cone of ridiculously fresh fried calamari and walked back to the waves, sat on a sea wall and stared up at the moon.  It was an amazingly peaceful way to spend an evening.

That night I slept with the windows open so I could smell the salt air, except I didn’t really sleep.  I listened to the drunk people yelling at the top of their lungs in Italian.  It made me a little sad I was alone and not having drunken fun with friends.  Later after eventually falling back asleep, I was awoken by the church bells, the delivery trucks and the sound of tourist’s luggage being dragged along the street outside.  It was a gray day and without any plan, it was a little hard to get motivated and decide what to do.  I decided to take the train to the next village, Monterosso, since the hiking trail was closed.

Monterosso had a bit of beach and fewer cliffs, so it was a little surprising how different the villages were.  I went exploring and found the most amazing picturesque point.  This point was shown to me by a French-speaking woman who insisted (from what I could tell) that I was sitting in the wrong spot and had to enjoy the view around the corner.  It was lovely, but… it was like the fountains meant to entertain small children.  You know, the one’s where the water splashes where you least expect it – just when you think you are safe.  The waves would look calm, then as soon as a tourist came to take a picture… CRASH… a wave would explode in the most impressive way.  I don’t know why, but this made me giggle and laugh and even though none of us spoke the same language, we all were amused and none of us got drenched.  Adults running away from water can’t help but be funny.

After a little further exploration of the village, I went to a restaurant right over the water because watching waves I really worked up an appetite.  While sitting over the sea, it started pouring and thundering so hard and so loudly.  I enjoyed my caprese salad and then it nearly stopped, so I was able to return to the train station to head back to Riomaggiore.  I still had to pack, checkout of the apartment and wait to take the train to Florence later in the evening.  Where better to wait then MY wine bar (with wifi)?  So I enjoyed sitting under cover this time, because there was still some rain and enjoyed an Irish coffee in the cool weather that had inflicted the area.  Despite the rain, it was still a lovely day.

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