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The Best Stroll in Italy

We "normals" live in a well-defined alternative universe the corporate media has yet to acknowledge. According to the "standards" big media have set by the images they spew at potential consumers of the country, tourists are all extremely fit young people whose stout hearts are monitored by expensive wrist watches as they stand valiantly on just-conquered mountaintops, hair waving in oxygen-deprived gusts, the world below embraced by a fog of dim remembrance...

Doesn't anyone simply stroll any more?

I mean, according to an extensive survey I've done in my head, it's us old folks, refugees from better economic times, who've escaped the current corporate cash-grab with a few shekels we can spend on pure pleasure, having abandoned the whole idea of developing "six pack abs" during the Cretaceous Period.

We're the ones who dream of an absolutely dead-nuts flat castle-to-castle walk along the turquoise sea for a distance of slightly less than two miles. Just enough to stretch the legs and make our hearts deliriously happy. We see benches spaced reasonable along the way, tucked under shade trees. There shall be beaches. There shall be well-buttered bodies on the beaches.

Why not dream of starting here, at San Terenzo castle?

We refugees of lost youth would do well to start our stroll in the shadow of this castle and continue along the main drag of San Torenzo. You haven't heard of it but poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife Mary Shelley, author of the famous novel "Frankenstein" knew it well. You'll pass their big, white house on the way towards another castle town called Lerici.

Once you pass the house of the Shelleys, you can stare out into the sea, which starts a shimmery turquoise as you look directly downwards at it and blends to a deeper blue as the sea depth increases.

It's time to do your eye exercises.

"Honey-Bunny, look at that! It's a perfect day, you can see out to Portovenere! It's so romantic!" your wife exclaims, chin up, toes curled slightly in the excitement of the moment, her eyes focused on the deep blue sea of the Gulf of Poets.

You glance at her ever so slightly to make sure your head has taken the same chin-up appearance pointing to Portovenere, a stately appearance, as if you see God on the horizon--just in case she looks.

Then, ever so slowly, you rotate your eyes to and fro, focusing eventually on something you enjoy, young, buttered, and not toast.

"Yes, honey, it's a fantastic view! It's as if the earth had thrown off it's covering, and appears naked for all to admire!" You exclaim with a bit too much enthusiasm and arm-waving.

Now, in the final movement of your eye exercises, you snap your eyes back toward you wife, because she's looking at you like you've just seen a topless young woman. Your eye exercises have ended. You may now continue your stroll.

The path meanders, hard working immigrants sell beach towels in case you yearn for an impromptu dip, benches beckon your tired legs, endless sun lights up your life.

And then as the path curves the harbor of Lerici comes into view. Like this:

If you pass this way in summer, you will see all the little ferries that take you to Portovenere and the Cinque Terre. In the off season the port is a color riot of little boats bobbing in the sea.

Hungry? The port is awash in restaurants. Want to eat right above the sea? Turn left and find the tunnel under the castle. Sometimes there is an art exhibit inside. When you pass through look up and to your right. There's a beach in front of you. Go up to the restaurant, Ristorante Ciccillo a Mare and eat well and inexpensively and stare out at the sea. Or wherever you like.

Celebrate your perfect stroll by starting your meal with a flute of Prosecco. You've earned some bubbly.

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