Thursday, July 11, 2013

little pieces of real life

Preparing the anchovies for salting
Sometimes during the summer months of July and August, it's hard to see the quaintness and small pieces of daily life that go on as normal in the village.  Monterosso al Mare is unbelievably tiny, and when people come in for the day, filling the streets, beaches, snapping pictures and then trickling out to get on the boat or train to the next village, it can sometimes feel like tourists are all that make up the town.

Then, you turn left down a small street and see women from the village preparing fresh anchovies to be put under salt, in the traditional way the villagers have been preserving their most famous fish for centuries.
Salting stand

Punta mesco from the sea
You rent a paddleboat, and in a few minutes, are far from the crowded shore, full of umbrellas fanning out in bright colors setting off a backdrop of the clear blue sea.  You look to the left, and it's just flat ocean - to the right, the protected marine area the runs alongside Punta Mesco, the mountain the looks down over the village.  Rocks meet waves, and underneath the water, you can see fish happily going about their day, a jellyfish bobbing lazily in the waves, and even a lone swimmer joining in on the peaceful fun.  Turning back towards the village, it seems like a long, narrow stretch of color built into an impossible nook where the mountains meet the sea.  Another boat rides lazily by, waving and smiling as the fisherman squints into the sun.

Turning around, sailing

Looking back towards home - literally.  My house is high up on the left.
back towards the village, Monterosso again grows and fills up your vision.  Sounds of laughter, cars, a ferry boat gearing up to make it's next round fill your ears.  But if you close your eyes, you can still hear the water.  If you go a few minutes out, you can reflect back on what you see from far away, it's uniqueness, it's beauty.

And if you make a left instead of a right, you can always find a scene of real life in what is still a very real, very small fishing village.

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