Silence. Dead frickin silence. How unnerving. Living in Koreatown, Los Angeles, or as I call it living “in Blade Runner,” is a world away from where we are now. Here, in Moneglia, Italy, there are no helicopters hovering every night looking for the latest bad guy or news scoop. I do not hear cars and motorcycles screeching or rumbling by. I don’t hear that ever annoying rolling/scraping sound of a guy on a skateboard, who is way too old to be on it by the way, whizzing down the sidewalk. All I can hear is the sound of my brain straining to shut down, relax, and, as Depeche Mode recommends, enjoy the silence.
If you have ever been to or heard of Cinque Terre, or the “Five Lands,” you have probably heard that it is a tourist mecca now. It is busy, hectic, and over crowded. Well, that may very well be, especially during the high season summer months. But we are here in the fall. And we are not IN the Cinque Terre confines exactly. We are in Moneglia, north of there by about a 20 minute train ride. Close enough to enjoy day trips yet far enough to not be bothered with all the negative aspects of the tourist trade.
Here we have found the perfect AirBnB experience. We have rented out a one bedroom apartment all to ourselves for a month as our Honeymoon home base. When our host Michela picked us up at the train station she was very nice and, as awkward as first meetings with linguistic hurdles can be, she was gracious and accommodating. She even took us to the store for some first night provisions, aka wine.
One thing to note, we knew there would be a walk down the hill from our flat to get to the town. While Michela drove us up the hill that walk seemed farther and farther to me, reminiscent of JoBeth Williams run down the hallway in Poltergeist, only without creepy clowns and hungry grabby trees. But she assured us it was only about a 20 minute walk to town. She was just about right. It turns out that the 3 mile round trip walk was not only pleasant, but relaxing and beautiful. And yes, we are truly getting buns of steel.
This place is amazing! It is plenty roomy, has a full kitchen (granted, it has an oven resembling the Easy Bake variety, but it works well enough), a washing machine, a nice comfy bed, nice decor, and an amazing patio for sunset watching over the sloping hills toward the ocean. There’s even a little grill area outside and a pizza oven! A full frickin pizza oven!!! I have GOT to cook something in that. All of this for one month for about $1000. Not too shabby AirBnB. Not too shabby.
As we make our jaunts down to the town and back and sample all the wonderful restaurants, we are getting to know the place as our own. We hit the one (tiny)supermarket that takes credit cards almost daily. You can’t carry too much up that hill at once. We are getting into the local rhythm. We have sampled several wonderful restaurants already. We know some folks by name and will see them again.
So far the biggest standout here has been Assirto, where I saw god in the form of some truly spirited acorn fed Iberico ham served with marcona almonds. Kim had the same experience with the goose cutlets in an apple sauce. We also had the full sea breem, caught that morning about 100 yards off shore in Moneglia, filleted and broiled full body. Then there was the yellow fin and salted cod sashimi style, with olive oil made just down the road in Levanto, crushed with oranges for that hint of citrus. Truly inspired. Before we ordered, the owner, Luca sat with us and told us of every little detail of the menu, in his wonderfully broken English. He spoke in a way that let you know, he was proud and excited to be serving the fruits of his home with you. By the time he was done, we just said, whatever you recommend, Luca, that is what we will go with. So we enjoyed a lovely local Rosé wine with our sumptuous repast. And we will be paying another visit to Luca soon.
After several days of chilling in the area and feeling like a local, I am sure I will find a way to relax and enjoy the slower pace and less ruckus. In fact, we are heading out as I write this for a Halloween weekend in Venice. I am looking forward to heading back “home” to our little hideaway in Moneglia to see how it feels to unwind again from our latest adventure. We have made day trips to Cinque Terre and they are gorgeous and romantic as advertised. I will have much to say about these places for sure. But right now as this train bobs and weaves its way toward Venice, with all the train noise, views whipping by at top speed, and cacophonous screaming children aplenty, I am finding myself longing just a bit for the solitude of our little quiet retreat in the hills and a nice quiet sleep.