POST 218 19SEP2015 SECRET OCEAN - MONTEROSSO TRAIL Phan Hoang Letter
THE MONTEROSSO TRAIL
PHAN HOANG’S NOTEBOOK
The spontaneous writings presented in this collection are first drafts, not edited texts
Post 218 19SEP2015
Monterosso is a picturesque town among five enchanting sites in Cinque Terre (Five Lands): Monterosso , Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, in the northern Italian coast.
The section of Cinque Terre trail that runs from Monterosso to Vernazza is the most rugged and physically demanding portion of the 12km long trail ; the scenery is absolutely magnificent.
THE MONTEROSSO TRAIL
ĐƯỜNG MÒN MONTEROSSO
On November 13, 2008, early morning, I left the Tibetan Temple in Pomaia, Italy, to move to Monterosso, a small town of Cinque Terre, I had visited before and I loved it. Although the distance is less than a hundred and fifty kilometers, it took me a whole day to reach it, by bus, train, walking, and taxi. I arrived to the rented apartment, uphill, at 8:30 p.m., exhausted and hungry.
Nestled in the foot of a long mountain Monterosso faces bravely the wide open ocean and turns firmly its back to the modern society. Out of the summer season you could hardly find an Internet Café here; the small local population did not seem having such a need and a few visitors who came to this quiet place at the time I arrived were not coming here to sit in front of a computer screen. Planned to stay for two weeks I will surely discover many picturesque aspects of this old town along with some interesting stories and customs. But at first, to me Monterosso is a good starting place for many narrow trails through isolate mountains. In this season, when the winter is soon approaching, the challenging trail could immediately bring you back to the ancient time when you tread the crooked path. The trail runs endlessly up and down between the blue sky above and the deep ocean below. At some places it becomes so narrow and dangerous that two persons cannot cross at the same time.
I started hiking early in that cold morning. It was not easy to find the entrance of this trail from Monterosso to Vernazza, and all the way up there was no one on the horizon, no sign of human activities, no coffee shop, no water, nothing. On this trail, you find yourself alone in the middle of the unbelievable beauty of Nature: colorful trees, beautiful rocks, green woods, white cloud, and a light blue ocean below. All seem to be a dream. By the silence of the trail one can get senses of some vague fear of an animal attack, a human aggression, or an unhappy accident that could take place at any time. Who knows if on this narrow trail one could be forced to encounter a surprise attack of wolves or wild boars, or an unexpected hit of a deranged guy trying to push you out of the trail making you fall down to the abyss. In fact, you are hiking alone on this trail because that is your choice to be alone, walking your own path, testing yourself, waking up your surviving instinct which was steadily diminishing less with age but more by the comfortable life in modern urban cities, even you keep doing your martial art every day. Still, whether on a deserted trail in a foreign country or in the day to day busy life at home, you are always in need of a loyal companion: an effective companion, a companion for life and death who follows you anywhere, in silence. Could that be possible?
That morning, alone on the narrow trail from Monterosso to Vernassa, between the sky and the ocean, facing some potential dangers, I was happy for having my companion with me. Do you know who was he?
-My Chi-Kiem Wooden Sword. Yes, my Wooden Sword is my loyal companion.
(to be continued)
Charles Phan Hoang, 2008