The last two days in Amsterdam have been beautiful crisp sunny days. Days like this are rare as October tends to be a generally wet month leading up to the very soggy months of November and December. We rolled our clocks back this past weekend and the days are now terribly short. So when the sun peeks out, your spirits are lifted and you soak up every moment of golden goodness allowed by the ticking clock…because you know it’s only a matter of time before the typical fall Dutch weather rears its dreary head.
And that’s what I woke up to early this morning. Clouds of dense fog hovering in the street as if perfectly placed for a Halloween party. The sky is so grey I find is hard to believe the sun could actually exist beyond those layers of gloominess. And you wonder if any minute now, the rain will begin to fall making you a wet mess on your bike with no way to seek cover.
But that’s not what this post is about. While trying to perk myself up with my morning coffee, I read about the devastating rain storms which struck Vernazza just a few days ago. It immediately put my “dreary” morning into perspective. To many people, it’s another freak accident procured by Mother Nature. I realize there are natural disasters occurring at any given moment around the world. But when you read about a town where you spent time and created memories, it tugs at your heartstrings in a completely different way.
Before moving to Amsterdam, I heard small bits about the Cinque Terre region of Italy. Once I moved here, it didn’t take long to meet handfuls of people who raved about the amazing hiking trails, picturesque villages, and breathtaking views. We spent two [short] days in Cinque Terre during our summer holiday in Italy. We stayed in Monterosso al Mare and made the round trip hike to Vernazza on the last day of our vacation. The heat was in full swing by the end of July and I was happy to be burning the countless calories I had consumed in Lake Como, Florence, & Tuscany. The hike exceeded my expectations and I made a mental note that this was a place I wanted to revisit in my future travels.
Cinque Terre (The Five Lands) is composed of five small villages nestled in the cliffs and overlooking the Mediterranean. Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, & Riomaggiore. Due to the topography of this area, it’s difficult to reach by car. The suggested mode of transportation is to hike (some are more of a leisure walk) from town to town. Trains also run frequently along the coast line; however, I think it robs you of an experience unique to Cinque Terre.
The damage caused by the storm and landslide are still fresh. While clean up is the immediate focus, I have faith that rebuilding and recovery will follow close behind. And hopefully the tourists will too. Just like New Orleans, it’s just too beautiful and unique to let it become a ghost town—as some Vernazza residents already fear.
I am awestruck by the force of Mother Nature and what she can do in mere moments. Just a few months ago, we walking around this area snacking on pizza and gelato before hiking back to Monterosso.