Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Monterosso al Mare, Italy
Toronto - April 26th, 2021 - It’s early on a Saturday morning and you and a few friends have just arrived at Monterosso al Mare, one of the five villages in Cinque Terre. As the sun is rising above the cliffs, and the temperature is slowing lifting, you commence your hike across the Italian Riviera.
You’re drenched in sweat, and your water bottle went from room temperature to a low boil (real quick). Your focus is shifting between panting with a dire need for freshness (water, rain, anything really), and your breath being taken away by the heaven-like view as you ascend. You enter a point of the hike where the path becomes thick with trees only to find a small, cliff-side garden… Need I go on?
Back in 2014, this story was my reality. During our hike across the Cinque Terre, we met a small, elderly man who was growing fruits, mainly grapes, amongst the path. We had no idea where he came from or how he managed to build this garden amongst the hills. But what we did know was that we were among the blessed to have been offered a taste of the sweet green grapes he was picking that morning. The grapes from God. The epitome of freshness. In that moment I knew I would never look at grapes the same ever again.
To the man on the hill, I hope you have shared your garden with your family, neighbours, at the local market, etc. They are a force to be reckoned with.