I left Genova thinking it was going to be a 1 hour trip; however....3 hours later I was still on the train! I was getting a bit concerned! Four Californian girls got on and helped a bit but they got off at Sant Antonio. I asked a traveller, no English... but we were able to work out that I still had 8 stations to go! I rang Cinque Terre holidays as it was after their opening time...and explained that I would be late...He would wait for me!...We travelled mainly through black tunnels, no lights, no idea which station was Riomaggiore, no one left on the train, no map with detail, a mud map of how to get to CT Holidays accommodation with no street names on it.......”Oh well....!”
Finally I arrived at 22:00 and asked for help at the only cafe I could see. I headed through a tunnel, whose uniqueness I would later appreciate, and emerged into a very lively, social town. One central paved road would its way steeply up the hill. Typically Mediterranean apartments, 4-5 storeys high, cafes, narrow walkways, narrow stone steps, washing hanging from windows ....”Oh where do I start?”....ask....ask... “5 minutes...just up there!” Was this accurate or was it local guesstimation?
I set off dragging my bag, which got heavier the higher I climbed. Wow...I wasn’t planning a workout at this time of night! I met a guy out jogging, who showed me that CT Holidays was way back down the hill! I had found the booking agent and the man playing the piano had stayed open for me! Grazie!
= Getting to my room!....A rabbit warren of paths, stone steps, dark narrow alleys...steps... Turn right @ ATM; steps ...left @ wooden door; steps ....right @ scaffolding; steps .... left @ end of alley; door on left 6H (remember...remember...!!!) Phew!!! Thinking I was there!!! We opened the wooden door and were confronted with 4 more storeys of steep, narrowing, winding stone steps...all 82 of them!...I was so grateful that Giorno was helping. “How will I get my luggage back down?”
Giorno was sad for me as he said that the double room was very romantic! A gaudy, but quaint room with a netted bed, a bathroom and....nothing else!...
”Giorno...Don’t go without me!” I followed him back down to the main street to ensure that I wouldn’t get lost and to reinforce the directions back to my room! I relaxed and absorbed the amazing atmosphere. Many of the restaurants had finished serving meals so I bought a small bottle of Italian Chianti wine, a stale focaccia and successfully returned to my attic...(OR was it...my Penthouse!???)
Proud of myself for having succeeded, I searched the room and didn’t find any crockery or cutlery....so I settled in and necked the bottle of vino which was necessary to soften the dry focaccia ...only to be assaulted by the sound of glass shattering! The next 2 hours were filled with a very angry, Italian domestic in the apartment directly across the narrow alley from my Penthouse.....
“L’amoure e NON la Guerra!”..........”Love NOT War!”
Thankfully my phone rang. GT calling ....good timing! .... I was so relieved to hear a familiar voice, share my adventure and be safely housed in my quaint little room!
My learning curve had been as steep as the steps leading to my Penthouse!
C’est la Vie! ....É la Vita! ....Such is Life!