I´m sitting here trying to sing the title of this post to the tune of Beyonce´s Countdown…and it´s actually going really well. Too bad you can´t all hear me. So guess what guys-I´m still in Europe and I´m still alive and I´m still having the best of times! There have been at least 74 happenings I should have written about in the last 6 months but I´ll just have to carry those memories close to heart and hope the dear Lord doesn’t take my memory for a good long time. This last weekend was a lil´ slice of heaven. Sunday the 12th my dear friend Olivia (check out her blog-she actually writes more than bi-annually) and I sat on her bed, little sunburnt crips, wishing our weekend in Costa Brava, Catalunya hadn´t just ended. So what do two burnt little wonderlust-struck crisps do? They thank their lucky stars that they have friends driving back from Switzerland the next weekend and immediately book flights. (Thanks Tim & Dennis. PS-you’re great dancers.)
I’ve been trying to get back to Switzerland ever since I left just after Christmas. Just outside Geneva there’s a little town named Cologny. In this little town sits a not-so-little home filled by a not-so-little family. The Masters family of 9 was kind enough to open their home and family to a Christmasy-homesick vagabond (me) this last December. By some magic stepping through the front door of the Masters’ Geneva home was like unlocking a trans-Atlantic portal back to my own warm, white, Virginia home. I guess it was some mix of the Christmas pies, brother fights, blankets-on-floor-movie-watching, bookshelves full of adventure and theology, guests gathered from corners of the world, and most of all-the love of Christ encircling the rest. All that to say-I’ve been wanting to make it back to that home away from home.
So-Tim, Dennis, and Olivia picked me up from the airport and we headed to the Masters where everything was as perfectly homey as always. After a lil’ QT with the Masters we figured we should decide a route back to Barcelona. OBVIOUSLY that meant I needed to write a list. Now guys-about this list. If 14 year old Hannah had been told this list was full of real possibilities she would have dropped dead as a doornail. The list went something like: Portofino (Italy), Nice (France), Monaco, San Sebastian (Spain), Cinque Terre (Italy). Yep. Little Hannah dead. There’s that. Somehow or another a pros and cons list never happened and Cinque Terre was the final call.
So back to 14 year old Hannah-at this point she’s clutching her beloved Cinque Terre wall calendar, library checked out backpack travel guides, and is for SURE jumping up and down. Present 23 year-old Hannah is right there with her.
We loaded into the Porsche ( L O L ) and headed South. Within that “headed South” were Alps, traffic jams, good music, more Alps, and lots of smiling so hard it hurt.
First stop: Genoa
Genoa was pasta and pesto, little backstreets, limoncello, a pretty gross beach, and a hotel with grand piano in the lobby.
Second stop: Vernazza
Woke up bright and early to catch the miraculously 6€ train from Genoa to Vernazza. Got on the train a bit groggy and croissant-stuffed. Exited the train to yellow tinted sunrays bouncing back and forth from one color-drenched building to the next. The kaleidoscope Vernazza street dipped slowly down toward jewel-blue, boat-lined sea. To the right of the street was a little supermarket where we bought apples and lemons. Apples because they are the best and lemons because having Italian sun-bleached hair is also the best.
We made our way to the end of the main street where white boats bob up and down on Mediterranean blue. Next to one of these boats stood a little old Italian man. By some miracle he decided to try to strike up a conversation in Italian with the pretty clearly un-Italian Olivia and myself. By some extra miracle we answered in Italian/Spanish decent enough to make him keep talking. Francesco comes to Vernazza 2 months every summer. He comes back because he met his “amore”-Margherita-there many decades ago. The Francesco and Margherita that met those many years ago now return with their grandchildren to the timeless, sun-stained streets and waters of Vernazza every summer. So yeah-it’s cool. We all just want to be Margherita and stuff but WHATEVER. NOT JEALOUS.
Francesco took Dennis, Olivia, and I out for cappuccini and we all felt pretty darn good about life. Still not sure how it all could have been real but here’s a picture to prove I didn’t go all 14-year old Hannah and just daydream it up. (photo cred: Dennis)
After this time got lost. I’d rather keep the rest of the day a dream-like blur. The blur is all half-opened eyes in blue, salty water, sun-warmed stone, sunBURN, barnacle rock scraped fingers, melting gelato, cliff jump weightlessness, kayaks and coast, and absolute failure at skipping rocks. I could write an essay on every one of those things. But Lord knows this is already ages too long so I won’t do that to you.
Sunburnt and burned out on late Italian trains, we finally made it back to our hotel and slept like lil’ angels (JK woke up like 72 times but whatevs). Woke up the next morning and had THE breakfast of champions. Not even going to go there. Let me just tell you it was a BUFFET. Scratch that it was about 12 buffets: yoghurt/toppings buffet, fruit buffet, pastry buffet, bread buffet, meat buffet, vegetable buffet, omelette buffet, coffee buffet, EVERYTHINGBUFFETGAAAAAAH. I can’t even talk about it anymore. Just trust me-it was gosh darn delicious.
We began the trek westward to Barcelona. The westward trip included a Tim Keller sermon, word-association game, lots o’ musicsss, maybe a little speeding, and finally, a stop in…
Yeah Monaco…I’m pretty tired and this thing is so long ain’t nobody going to read it. So I’ll just tell you this: Everybody and everything in Monaco is rich. The cars are rich. The casinos are rich. The boats are rich. The roads are rich. The parks are rich (like…you’re not allowed to walk on the grass so what even is the POINT!?). Probably the cockroaches are rich (L O L . As IF they even know what cockroaches are).
Well folks, there’s a wrap. I’m all written out for the day. Here’s to hoping I can do another one of these before another 6 months pass.
And disclaimer-only 3 countries were mentioned in this post BUT-technically we passed through France AND ended up back home in Spain. So there’s that. 5 countries fair and square.