All better on the morning after
I had driven the four of us from the south of France through Monaco and into Italy. After six hours we arrived at the Italian Riviera town of Levanto, starting point for the picturesque Cinque Terre, and all of us were tired, hungry and ready for rest.
It was dusk and we needed to find the supermarket to pick up, as arranged, the key to our accommodation. I had the details of its location but there was nowhere to park, so around and around we went as tempers were only just kept in check and frustrations grew.
Finally I was able to park near the supermarket and the daughter of the owner told us to follow her. She was on a motorbike and we were in a big wagon. We wound around tight corners, higher and higher, forever circling to the top of the hill. Two of the corners were so tight I had to do a three-point turn.
Once at our destination, we had to walk, with all our luggage, up a steep path and flight of steps. Finally we were inside our lodgings. Our joy at arriving was shortlived, however, as the bedrooms were upstairs and the staircase was not wide enough for us to take up our suitcases.
I felt the responsibility of having booked accommodation that did not live up to the expectations of the group. One friend kindly told me, “It will all look better in the morning.”
I woke to beautiful sunlight, the shutters were open and the view outside revealed a world of beauty — rolling hills of green, terraces of tiny gardens and olive groves with groups of houses clustered in the folds.
Dotted among the houses were churches, painted in pink, peach and yellow, each with towers. Bells at the church closest to us tolled out the start of a hymn at 10 minutes to the hour.
Once they finished, the bells of the church on the neighbouring hill began pealing the next part of the tune before passing the baton, as it were, to another nearby church.
All of us loved being on top of that hill. We soon forgot about the drive and the walk. We delighted in the panorama from our home for the next few days. And yes, it did look so much better in the light of a new day. Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader: firstname.lastname@example.org. Columnists receive copies of Lisbon by Rebecca Seal and Dalmatia by Ino Kuvacic, newrelease hardbacks featuring sumptuous photography and recipes from the heart of Portugal and Croatia’s Mediterranean coast. $95. More: hardiegrantbooks.com.