In a perfect mirroring of our abandonment of this blog midway through our US road trip two years ago, here I resume it midway through another one.
There were no particular reasons for the previous desertion other than laziness, the distractions of life and the overall sadness brought on by writing about a trip that was imminently to be over. But apologies all the same to our 15 loyal readers who no doubt have been stricken for the past two years wondering how it all ended. In short, Vegas was tacky and full of pool parties. Non of us won our millions, non of us got married, one of us got sent their first dick pic (from a man claiming to be in the MBA). Then LA; which was great and sun drenched and full of cute boys on skateboards and delicious food but also pathos as the trip, and our bubble of American freedom, was coming to an end.
But here we are! Two years later and it is a lone bitch who is tripping this time. While George slaves away in NYC creating plant based fast food magic, I (Laura) have temporality absconded from my East London railway arch for a solo road trip through Italy. The trip actually started a week ago, in Bologna. Initially I had no plans to document it in any particular way, but it turns out that Italian is a pretty difficult language to just jump into speaking, with a very basic working knowledge of French/Spanish hindering rather than helping matters. So with two weeks looming where the extent of my conversations would be limited to ordering wine or apologising for things, I decided maybe an outlet for my repressed internal monologue was a wise move.
A quick precis of that first week. Two nights in Bologna, immersed in the spirit of Italy’s communist heartland – there is a thriving community of independent businesses made possible through the city’s lingering socialist business policies. The sizeable Antifa student rally I stumbled upon while exploring the city’s many university streets hammered home the underlying spirit of the city.
My first meal was quite terrifying. I clung to the Italy Food Companion phrasebook my sister had given me for my birthday like my non starvation depended on it, dutifully reading out ‘vorrei una etc etc’ and the patient waiter answering in slowed down nursery grade Italian while I desperately thumbed through the book looking for my next phrase, stubbornly refusing to level myself with the many American tourists around me not even attempting a ‘ciao’. Either my phrasebook Italian wasn’t completely unintelligible, or the waiter helped me out, but the food that arrived was totally perfect. The thinnest, most al dente ravioli, packed with seasoned ricotta and happily drowned in browned butter and sage. Throw in a bread basket the size of my head and a personal bottle of white wine and I found myself coming over all insufferably Julia Roberts a la Eat Pray Love.
After a long and strenuous planning session (a hasilty written Facebook status) I decided my next stop would be the much Instagrammed Cinque Terre. Comprised of five of the prettiest, least arcitechially feasible looking towns I have ever seen, it really is worth the hype. Two very contentedly sweaty days were spent hiking the trails between Corniglia and Monterosso al Mare. Corniglia is the smallest of the towns (250 residents) and from its position perched high on a cliff top, simply one of the most idyllic places I have ever watched the sun go down. Monterosso is positively metropolitan by contrast; being home to 1500 people. Although it lacks some of Corniglia’s cutesy charm and has a few too many tourists, my lovely hotel Hotel Marina, serves free pasta and wine every afternoon which is the surest of ways to my heart.