A perfect moment. I’ve had a handful of those in my lifetime. Moments where my cup was topped with pure bliss and love that any more of either of those things, I feared my cup would spill over causing my heart to explode. Can one die from too much happiness and love?
In May 2017, my friend Karina and I flew to Europe for two weeks in honour of our 30th birthdays! We were a couple of years late in celebrating our 30th birthdays with this trip, but still this incredible adventure was to mark the new decade we were both embarking on.
Photo by Sara Groblechner - @groblechnersara
Karina and I lived together for the 2008-2009 year in Panama. We travelled to Australia in 2012 for our friend Steve’s wedding to the lovely Rebecca. Living three provinces apart (she in Alberta and I in Ontario) we planned our entire trip through technology over long distance. When we discussed visiting Italy, I excitedly told her about a group of five towns perched on a stunning coastline along the Italian Riviera that I had only learned about a year or two before from my sister Natalie. This area is called Cinque Terre. Natalie had made the trek over while living in Spain and could not stop raving about the beauty of this northwest part of Italy. Shortly, after that conversation with Natalie, I came across photos that Vanessa Hudgens had posted online from her trip there and it furthered fueled a desire to visit this rainbow looking place.
Photo by Brooks Rice - @brooksrice
Cinque Terre is located within Liguria, just north of Pisa. The five seaside villages stacked on top of each other along the rugged Italian Riviera is like a picturesque postcard that you buy, put on your wall in your room and dream of one day visiting. The old multicolored buildings are breathtakingly stunning against the Ligurian Sea. People travel across countries and continents to explore this heavily touristy part of Italy and try their best to capture the magic on their cameras. Houses and vineyards are crowded together across steep terraces and many tourists are thrilled to hike from town to town, which according to the internet can take about six hours with short breaks. Karina and I preferred to dedicate more time in each town, so we opted to ride the train to each of the five villages. Trains may be my favourite form of transportation.
Some of my predominant memories from our few days spent in Cinque Terre are:
1) Heartfelt conversations with Karina about relationships at the train station.
2) Eating delicious Italian pizza for lunch in one of the quaint restaurants.
3) Bright yellow lemon trees everywhere. It was the first time I had seen a lemon tree and wished I could have my own.
4) While sitting along the water, we witnessed an older groom and his young bride take photos with the gorgeous backdrop of the pastel houses, blue skies and blue water. If I recall correctly the couple seemed to be American. The photoshoot took place in the town of Riomaggiore.
5) My purchase of a pretty small grey Italian purse from one of the shops. Karina had bought one (I can't remember what colour she picked) while I had been in the ocean.
6) Seeing pesto advertised everywhere as Cinque Terre is known for its pesto. I made sure to buy some, and this is when my appreciation for pesto truly began.
7) It was May but it felt like mid summer as the sun was blazing. Mid day sweat would drip down on me.
8) Pretty flowers scattered across terraces and door frames. There were purples ones that stand out in my mind because there were so many of them against a yellow background.
Photo by Dirk Gonçalves Martins - @kokaleinen
But my favourite memory of all occurred on May 23rd when I spent over an hour swimming in the Ligurian Sea during our day in Monterosso. Karina was content to wander through shops. I never would have thought that I would be swimming in any ocean in May. In Canada, the water is always too ice cold for me to even dip my feet in, but the heat in Cinque Terre was so high that the cool water was absolutely refreshing. Give me sunshine, sand and ocean and I am the happiest girl. On that particular May day as I floated in the water, and stared at the heavens, I felt so loved by the Giver of all good things. That moment of feeling loved by God, knowing that what I was living was a gift from Him is something so precious that it will forever be etched into my heart.
Photo by Robert Anitei - @speedyroby
Perfect moments like I just described make me feel alive and grateful for the blessings that the Creator lavishly gives. I hope you’re able to reflect and thank God for special moments He has given you as well.
When I stop to reminisce about this specific trip, I almost can't believe that my feet walked the well-worn roads of Cinque Terre and swam in the Mediterranean Sea. It feels like the most magical daydream that warms my heart and brings a smile to my face.
In an instant, I'm transported back to May 23, 2017, my happiest day in a little village in northwest Italy, when I had the most refreshing swim of my life and a sacred time with God. With joy and peace,