Monterosso al Mare, Italy Day 68

One, is the loneliest number that you ever heard… or is it? I love going to a restaurant and telling them UNO and holding up one finger, and they look around like, “Where am I going to put this person?” Sometimes they try and put you far away in a corner way in the back. Um, that is NOT where I’ like to sit! I’m in Italy, I’d like to eat al fresco per favore! So, more often than not, they put me at a table for two between two couples, but the tables are all pushed together. Essentially it’s like I’m joining them for dinner. I usually make a little joke or something, because I think it actually makes other people a little uncomfortable to have someone alone sitting right beside them. So tonight, not only do they put me between two couples, but when I ask if they have wine by the glass they don’t, just by the bottle. I can’t drink a bottle of wine all by myself! Then I order a beer and he comes over with an extra large bottle and says, “This OK? “ Oh what the hell, I’m not driving, right?  I make another joke to the couple of my right (Americans again, bless them!) about how I guess I have to drink the beer meant for two all by myself and from then on I felt like I had some dining companions! It’s amazing how welcoming some people are to take pity on a poor solo traveler and let them join in their conversation. I really relish that, I never realised just how much I would miss the basic everyday chatter that I partake in on a daily basis. Until now, I’ve never gone for days without having a proper conversation with someone. I won’t take it for granted again! Having said all that, I really enjoy traveling alone. It’s just finding ways to meet new people that is a challenge, but it’s getting easier as I go along.  So I’m paying my bill and getting ready to leave when another couple come and sit in the seats recently vacated by the nice couple from Phoenix. I can hear them trying to figure out what to order to drink, so I tell them the giant beer is only 5 euro. They decide to order it and we start chatting, and long story short, I wound up sitting with them for their entire meal and we shared another beer together! You guessed it, more Americans from Los Angeles!  I’m feeling the love for my neighbours to the south!
I don’t really have too much to report today. I woke up at 11:00 am with a bit of a sore throat, so I decided to do my big hike tomorrow instead of today and just went and sat on the beach all day. It was awesome. I’m not really a beach person, but I love swimming in the ocean, and this is some good ocean to swim in. The water is turquoise blue, and it seems saltier than the ocean back home. I’ll have to look into it, but I swear I was more buoyant in this water! I settled into my beach chair under my umbrella and just dozed and read my book and spent as much time in the water as I could. Great day. People walk the beach selling stuff. Clothing, jewellery, massages (yes, massages!) and coconut. Coconut is huge in Italy. They sell it at gelato and fruit stands, and from baskets on the beach. I’m not a huge coconut fan, but I was hungry and it was just 1 euro for a chunk of it. It was actually quite delicious and refreshing! I guess I’m pretty desperate for some fruit and vegetables, I’ll take whatever I can get! There are great fruit stands all over Italy actually where you can get fresh fruit cups for a couple of euro. I had one with strawberries and pineapple, one with watermelon and pineapple, and one with fresh cherries. It’s great! You get a little plastic fork with it and it’s healthy fast food.
Limone gelato to DIE FOR!
I had to do it! SPEEDO!
I did a short walk up to the Convento dei Cappuccini.
I had THE BEST focaccia bread ever today. Cinque Terre is all about pesto, so I had the cheese and pesto focaccia. So, so good.  I’m really starting to see the regional differences of the food in Italy. Yes, you see pizza and pasta everywhere, but I haven’t seen focaccia all that much until now. Bruschetta seemed to be more prevalent in Florence. And the gelato. Why is it so much more expensive in Florence? Its more than double the price of everywhere else I’ve been in Italy. Venice, Rome, Verona, it was usually 1.50 euro for a small one. In Florence I couldn’t find gelato for under 3.50. WHY? I want to know!
So, to cut back to dinner again, I really wanted some seafood so I tried this place based on the fact that everything I could see on the tables outside looked delicious and very seafood heavy. Seafood spaghetti, risotto with seafood and stuff like that.  All I wanted was some prawns or shellfish of some sort, so I order the grilled scampi. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture, but did you know that scampi has claws? Why didn’t I know that? I guess it is kind of like craw fish, so it makes sense. It was just prepared simply, with some olive oil and thrown on the grill. It was exactly what I wanted, and I’m now going to bed happy, with a full tummy and a bit of a beer buzz. Yes, it was a big beer!

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2 Responses to Monterosso al Mare, Italy Day 68

  1. Michele June 13, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    Oh my, this place is sooooo beautiful. Sounds like you had a day in paradise for sure.

    And thank you very much for the nice comments about Americans, Andrea. I get so much anti-American BS here so often, I have the impression that everyone hates us. So I really appreciate hearing something positive for a change!

  2. Andrea June 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    No problem! It’s the truth! I’ve even received my share of anti-American sentiment when people think I’m American. It’s sad that an entire country can be painted with one big brush.

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