Cinque Terre refers to 5 towns that grasp the land upward from the Mediterranean Sea. They are small and naturally exhausted with tourists, but not as much as Rome or Florence. Cinque Terre is where the Italians go to vacation, and the Germans, and the French, and the Swiss. It is a jewel. And honestly, I don't like thinking of it as an it. It is 5 towns. And I loved them all. Maybe Corniglia the most, but I try not to play favorites.
All of this is beside the point; this post is about heights, balance and, well, the two never meeting.
I have vertigo. Escalators make me stop breathing. Railings need to have something solid under them blocking the dizzy below. I never go above three steps of a latter.
Most people take it as a fear of heights, which it is in part, but it is a fear that stems from the fact my head starts swimming and I think I'm falling. And I can't move.
Cheryl and I did Cinque Terre backwards. Most people start in Riomaggore and move towards Monterosso. Not us. I became reacquainted with my long time friend, Vertigo, somewhere outside of Vernazza going towards Corniglia. I stepped out onto the path, way up high, and the world disappeared next to me. No tree, no handrail, nothing to filter the void, no balance. And everything spun away from me. All control, reason, the normals that keep me pieced together. But I crossed that narrow trail. Turned around, and came back. Losing balance, but at least, not losing time too. Who knows, maybe next time I'll just keep walking, claiming the spinning air for my own, making it all the way to the Corniglia in time for sunset.