The things I miss after leaving the Cinque Terre

After raising a family and living in Monterosso for 27 years, I decided it was time for  another change. This time I chose to move from the sea towards the sky, to the magnificent peaks of the Unesco Dolomites. leaving the laid back way of life of a coastal village to the more efficient German way of the mountain town of San Candido. Actually, this efficiency,punctuality and preciseness is more like the life I left in South Africa. Monterosso will always have a place in my heart as does the beautiful setting in which it lies, but now it is time to enjoy these imposing and spectacular mountains. The Cinque Terre is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, so I have left one Eden for another.

The harbor at sunset

Blues, greens and pastel shades

One of the things that stand out in the Cinque Terre are the incredible colors that hit the eye from all sides. The grey cliffside that fall into the clear turquoise sea. The green woods and Mediterranean scrub. The pastel colored houses that fill the narrow lanes and bring a sharp contrast to the other natural colors. This colorful setting helps to make this area the happy and lively place it is.

Cinque terre

At night even the sea is lit up by the lanterns of the fishing boats that can be seen far out on the horizon. Even the full moon has a color all of it’s own as it slowly creeps up behind the rocky cliffs.

Those Summer nights

The warm Summer evenings spent pot in the fresh sea air. Dining on a small tight table set out on one of the many narrow lanes, or sipping an Italian Cosmopolitan along the sea front. When it was really hot the nights were spent having a picnic on the beach and swimming in the black night sea. Or just sitting on a bench in the square watching the tourists walk by.

Colors everywhere

That turquoise sea

I miss the sound of the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean that I could hear from my window in Umhlanga Rocks. The silent sea of the Cinque Terre when it is calm, but when it is rough it shows it’s anger by beating against the rocks and eating away at the beach with extreme force.It is an unusual sight to see  that usually calm sea change so drastically so everyone rushes out to witness this mesmerizing and forceful event. But swimming far out when it is calm and being able to look down into it’s secret depths is a special emotion.

The beach of Monterosso

Hiking with special friends

The Cinque Terre is surrounded by established routes to hike but also has routes which were used to cultivate the steep landscape and what an adventure it can be to find them. Away from the busy tourist paths these unknown tracks lead to the discovery of old ruins and spectacular views. And how wonderful it is to come across a special place by accident and share this emotion with close and dear friends.

Views while hiking

Feeling free

The freedom of movement, of coming and going whenever and wherever. Children running around on their own without any cares or dangers. Sitting on the harbor steps in the evening and watching the fishing boats returning to shore with their catch and everyone commenting on the size and quantity of the fish. You can choose from a swim in the crystal sea or a hike through terraced vineyards and olive groves, enjoying the breathtaking views. The freedom of changing directly from hiking boots to flippers.

rocks and sea

After the flood of 2011, things seemed to change: the colors were not as bright and the people were more on edge. It was time for a change and I moved to San Candido in the Dolomites. The houses here are not all colored and there is no sea, but the silver white snow in Winter, the emerald green expanse of meadows and the mirrored mountain lakes make it a place that needs to be seen. I left behind hordes of tourists for an area that is known only to a select few. These “pale mountains” truly are the most beautiful mountains in the world, as they stand tall with their heads in the clouds and their feet firmly on the ground.

Mirror or lake

Anna Moggia is Owner of Boutique Hotel Zenana.

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