cinque terre

cinque1-sm

The place where I almost died.

I was travelling at the time through Italy with my dear close friend Oksana. We rented a car and drove to the most amazing places throughout Italy. Our trip started with two nights in Rome then we took the train to Florence where we picked up our car and we were anxious to start towards the heart of Tuscany, which was our home for about a week. The best part of Tuscany is the number of places within a short drive: Fiesole, Siena, Florence, Grave de Chianti and the famous Cinque Terre – we visited all these places in our little red car.

As a grandiose sweeping generalization, Italy is a lush country deeply entrenched in history, beaming with love and lots of secrets waiting to be unleashed. If one could have a love affair with a country, Italy would be my choice.

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After a long but beautiful drive that took us past the Tower of Pisa (which we waved at from our car) and up the coast, we started to see signs to Cinque Terre. It was raining that day and driving through the winding roads up to the first of four beautiful towns of the Cinques, it seemed like with every winding road the turns got steeper and steeper as we climbed up the mountain.

The tension in the car could cut a lion’s throat. We were both super nervous of the driving conditions and wanted to get there, park the car and simply take in all the beauty. After about 45 minutes of this circumflexed-like type of driving we finally a r r i v e d! We parked the car and started to walk down a steep hill towards the water. The water was rough that day and the waves were capable of swallowing anything that might cross their path. There was a rock walkway tucked alongside the mountain, which people could walk on to get to a secluded mini beach. So we decided to embark on this walk to explore and photograph all the offerings of this place.

I walked quickly along, losing my friend in anticipation of seeing this mystery hidden beach. In front of me was a sharp corner with very narrow steps which you climb up and then down and you are there. I could see the beach from the first step I took climbing up, and as I turned to my right I saw a wave the size of six whales coming directly at me. I had about 4 seconds to decide what I would do. I knew I couldn’t turn back and run because there was not enough time and I knew I couldn’t keep going forward because I would basically have had to hold onto this rope-like mechanism that was now covered in algae.

In that moment I quickly made peace with the Man above, and held on for dear life to a rusted metal hand rail stuck to the side of a rock attached to the mountain, closed my eyes and there it was. The huge wave showered me with the good old cold salted sea water and pushed me along this little cove not very far from where I was. When the wave retracted itself I jumped out and ran out. I weighed about 200 pounds with my clothes and shoes completely drenched. I looked like a mermaid to everyone and they were all shocked to find out that I survived that huge wave.

I needed dry clothes and stiff drink immediately after the affair. So after a 10 minute hug from my dear friend whom I was happy to see again, we were off in pursuit of clothes first. We found this tiny shop specializing in bathing suits, but I found a purple cotton dress down to my ankles, which I changed into. I still have the dress and it holds great memories of the day that Adelina almost didn’t make it.

Then we were quickly off to find a drink and a meal. The drink felt incredibly satisfying as it went through me settling my fast palpitations and all my anxiety. I think we all learned something that day. I learned the power of an angry sea. My friend came out grown more fond of me. And all others “learned” that I am an incredible swimmer – they all thought I went for a swim – LOL.

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