Horrific Storm

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Uncertain Future…

 

Horrific Storm
by Charly

 

I drove the backroads to find when I arrived at Vernazza, I had to park on the steep, narrow road above the village and walk with luggage downhill. Yes being in shape is a good plan if visiting Italy, as many of the villages and towns I visited had very steep streets/paths that were a tough walk. Then there are ones like those in Cinque Terre where steps seem to never end to reach your destination. Unbeknownst to me though arriving on a beautiful sunny day, a horrific storm was in my future…

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While exploring Cinque Terre for the first time, I stayed in Vernazza at an apartment rented by La Marina Rooms. Besides the near 100 steps to get up to the apt., it was lovely. I especially enjoyed shopping the markets for food and cooking in the full kitchen.

For my stay In Vernazza, I took the train to the other villages to take in what they had to offer. I walked the Via dell’Amore trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola. It’s one of the flattest trails in Cinque Terre, winding around the cliffs and the Ligurian Sea always in sight.

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There is much to see in Cinque Terre, which is located on the Italian Riviera in the Region of Liguria. Cinque Terre means the Five Lands, which is comprised of 5 villages; Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The hillsides, cliffs and villages are part of the Cinque Terre National Park of Italy.

Overall the weather for my trip around Italy was great. On Oct. 24, 2011 it threatened rain most of the day, with a bit of drizzle on and off. Still captured some wonderful shots. Without TV or Radio, I had no idea what was coming….

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I arose early on the morning of Oct. 25th; my last day in Cinque Terre scheduled to leave that afternoon. As I descended down the stairs to make my way to the harbor, the wind was strong. I could hear its howl as it whipped through the village. Wasn’t sure how my shots would turn out with that kind of wind, even with a good tripod.

When I got to the harbor, the wind seemed to pick up. The Ligurian Sea roiling with waves and hitting the black sand beach. I walked out to the harbor landing and watched in the low light of early dawn, as a wave crashed over it. I set up my tripod in the hopes of getting some good wave shots. After about 10 mins., I was looking through my camera, when all I saw was a wall of water. I quickly grabbed my tripod and jumped back, the wave pouring over my boots….

Thankful not to be swept away by the large wave into the rocks, I stood there for a moment. The storm building, sea getting angrier and I had a bad feeling. I walked back some to get other shots, as a fisherman told me to get off the pier, bad storm coming, too dangerous in Italian. Well I think that’s what he said, my Italian wasn’t very good. I told him I understood and made my way back towards the piazza; getting a few more shots along the way.

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I stood for awhile watching the storm as it worsen over the short time I was out. Again that feeling came over me and decided at that moment to pack and leave Cinque Terre as soon as I could. By 9:30 am, I was on the steep, windy road heading up out of Vernazza to make my way towards Verona. When I reached the top of the mountain, I stopped to get some more shots. The wind was so strong, I had a hard time keeping in place. About 5 mins. later the rain began….

I hopped in the car and started for Verona, which is 290km away; about a 3 hr. drive. I wasn’t far from the mountain top overlooking Vernazza, when the skies literally opened up. Torrential downpour that never let up! It took me 5 hrs. to drive to Verona and much of it was at fairly slow speeds. I had never seen that kind of rain, for that length of time ever in my lifetime. Finally a couple hours after arriving in Verona it let up.

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Via email, I received a message from the wonderful people who’s villa I stayed at in Tuscany, asking if I was ok. I wrote back yes, though I was clueless why such a question. It wasn’t until I was on the plane to return home, that I saw a newspaper in some language I wasn’t sure of. I asked the gentlemen with it what was in the story on the front page. I deciphered storm and 10 dead.

Then I knew and my heart sank. When I walked in the door of my home, I went straight to my computer. The images and video of the devastation was very hard for me to see. This beautiful area of Italy hit hard by the storm of October 25, 2011 and those who lost their lives in that horrific storm that sent a rushing wall of water, debris, cars and other things down that road I walked on. Downhill to the harbor to this boat, beached on the black sand with an uncertain future pictured above… I took that very morning.

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“My heart will always be in Italy, especially in Cinque Terre” ~ Charly

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You can look up videos and images online, but here’s one that shows the before and after

This video is by © lifetimetravels on YouTube

(At 1:54 of the video are umbrellas buried in mud where I ate the day before)

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