So on our first night we visited Vernazza (photos in a post below) for dinner, we spotted a sweet little Enotica on the square, with a little group of older Italian men perched on some stools out the front. They drank, smoked and talked amongst themselves energetically, and Bre and I decided this was the perfect place to get a glass of wine and soak up the last of the warm sunlight. Later, after we took some pasta down to the bottom of the bay and watched the sunset from the rocks, we decided on an early night and headed off to the train station.. Walking past the Enotica was far too tempting, however, and we ended up perched on those comfy stools that had been occupied by the men, sipping away at one last red for the evening. It was here, that we befriended Enzo and ‘Uncle Jack’, who came back to claim their seats. We got on very well, very quickly. I had the most lively conversation with the lovely Enzo; about the incredibly interesting life he’s lived so far, his childhood in Vernazza, the underwater caves around the bay, his travels, my travels, my dreams, life in general etc. Soon enough a group of locals had gathered around us, teasing Enzo and Jack over their new friends, and we were introduced and invited to dinner. Whilst we had already eaten, and politely declined the invitation, we were told to come back the next day to use the boat that three of the men joint-owned.
Enzo said he was surprised by how happily we were spending our evening chatting away with a group of ‘old codgers’, and implied most young, attractive tourists seem to shy away from interacting with the older locals, especially the men. The thoughts makes me a little sad, for there is so much life, laughter and wisdom that can be gleaned from these beautiful little moments. Besides, we trusted our guts and there was nothing but extremely good vibes coming from these people! We were told to come back the next day to take out the boat that Enzo, Tino and another of the men owned. We assumed they had a boat to hire, and were happy to do so. The next day when we returned, we just so happened to bump into Enzo as we both walked down to the bay. I did a double take, as wearing a casual white tee and shorts, he looked awfully different to the night before when he was all dressed to the nines in chinos, blazer, silk neck tie and white leather converse (trendiest old gentleman, ever). When we asked how much he wanted for the boat, he look baffled/offended and said ‘don’t be silly, no one’s paying anything, we’re friends now..’ and pointing gesturing behind us; ‘but don’t tell those other tourists’.. He apologised for the messiness of the boat (as it was the first day this year that it had been taken out), helped us in and off we went. The motor was having some difficulties, and so he spent the afternoon rowing us around the bright blue, sparkling water as we explored that cave, swam and nattered away.
As we rowed back into the bay, he invited us up to his BnB (with ‘the best best views in all of Vernazza’) to make use of the guest shower, as we wanted to wash off the all the dried salt from the sea. Again, nothing but good vibes here.. And he was right, his gorgeous guest house really DID have the best views of both the endless expanse of sea and the whole village. After freshening up, we sat for an hour or so with (incredibly strong) aperitifs (SO italian) on one of the balconies as the afternoon sun began to fall. We heard more about his life, and told him stories from ours. He is clearly very perceptive, as he made comments about our personalities that were pretty spot on, and even guessed our star signs!
We learnt that every day, rain hail or shine, the group of friends met for Happy Hour at the wine bar. So much to our delight, we joined them all again for another wonderful Vernazza evening..