Cinque Terre is blooming after the abundant Spring rains and sunshine. Everywhere from vineyards to gardens are looking lush, windowsill pots explode with colour and climbing jasmine leaves a sweet fragrance that lingers in the air enticing locals and tourists to the cool of the cafes and wine bars.
Even my super cactus – agave has started to bloom; an exciting moment considering they take a minimum of 10 years to 50 years before maturing and then die off afterwards. So it will be sad to see it go in the end.
Il Gabbiano cafe at Prevo, halfway on the trail between Vernazza and Corniglia has a new open air space this year, under shade cloth, with a fabulous view across the water to Corniglia and Manarola. Initially the waiter served on tables but I think by the end of the first week the area changed to ‘self serve’ …..or the waiter may not have survived the season, running up and down under the hot sun! As the sign outside the terrace says “HOW TO ORDER: Dear Hikers, you can sit in the table you prefer. Then, the strongest of you can walk down, 20 meters, in the Vernazza direction. Once at the bar you can find all the drinks you need to take up here and enjoy the view. THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE”
Finally the National Park decided to do something about the swampy area along the trail and two simple canals now take the water away leaving the tourists’ shoes and mine, drier and less muddy. As they say ‘Pazienza‘ ( Patience) is what you need in Italy as sooner or later a solution is found. Volunteers have also repaved the stairs down to the Marina at Corniglia so that’s looking very smart.
Wildflowers are abundant, often sprouting from rather barren rock faces or forcing their way through the verdant jungle – from wild roses, cyclamens, ginestra, poppies and many others I don’t know the name of. It’s certainly a pretty time of year and not just in the Cinque Terre.
Makes me wonder though when the crowds come through how many have really ‘taken time or had time to smell the roses, absorb the ambience, remain disconnected (from wi-fi) for a while sensing the Nature that surrounds them.
I’m so lucky to be able to immerse myself in the Cinque Terre all year round, and hope tourists take home some special memories of this fabulous area too.