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The Epicure Abroad

How to Spend a Day in Paradise

ITALY | Saturday, 7 June 2014 | Views [857]

I’d been gazing at the beautiful terraced vineyards across from my hotel balcony all week, so when I woke up this morning to a wonderfully wide open blank on the schedule, I took my opportunity to go for a hike. After climbing the countless, jagged stone steps up and down there seemed to be only one obvious choice for how to spend my next free hour as the day got hotter: a swim in the Mediterranean Ocean. Though I’d seen it every day for a week and even skidded across it on small boats, I hadn’t had the chance to go for a dip.

With my swimsuit on, I walked down past the gathering of tourists at the water’s edge by the picturesque center of town and turned around the corner to a more secluded location I’d found earlier. From there, I dove straight into the water, which was so cold it stole my breath for a few moments. I swam until I warmed up and then floated on my back for a while, trying to believe this is my life. 

In the afternoon, I headed to a local cafe, Aristide, to prepare a traditional Cinque Terre meal with three generations of female cooks: Grazia, the grandmother who had been at the restaurant from the start, her daughter Monica, and the youngest, Elena. When we realized we shared a name, we got to talking and I asked if she’d always known she wanted to work at her family’s restaurant. Yes, she responded, laughing. Her mother had tried to get her interested in other careers and sent her away for college to make sure she knew her options, but Elena had realized at a young age that she always wanted to be in the kitchen with her family. I can understand the feeling. 

Tags: cook, hike, swim

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