Mamma Mia – what a beautiful trip!

Mom and I chose to stay in Monterosso, the biggest of the five villages, because mom wanted to stay close to the beach.

And actually, I didn’t mind either.

Monterosso’s old town was gorgeous.

And we couldn’t have found a more lovely Bed & Breakfast.

L’Antica Terazza was a true traveller’s dream; clean, comfy, situated on the cutest little cobble stone piazza with daily fresh foccaccia and croissants for breakfast and a stunning roof top terrace where local wine and limoncello was put out for free every evening.

The atmosphere in Cinque Terre is really romantic and lots of people go there on honeymoons. Of course, it would have been nice to snuggle up with someone in the couch on the terrace or have someone to hold hands with while walking on the beach at night, but at this point in my life, I couldn’t be happier to share this holiday with my mother.

On the day of my birthday, our last day in Italy, she woke me up 7 a.m. to wish me a Happy Birthday. While we lay there next to each other (yes, there was only one bed) she told me about the night I was born. We went downstairs and had breakfast before I ran off quickly to an internet café to check our flights leaving from Bologna to Stockholm the next day. 120 new e-mails – most of which birthday congratulations from friends and family.

I was so moved! So grateful!

There was also a pretty sweet message from The Universe. Now, I know, they probably send the same message to everyone on their birthdays, but somehow, I still took it to heart.

You’re the kind of person, Helen,
Who’s hard to forget
A one-in-a-million
To the people you’ve met.
Your friends are as varied
As the places you go,
And they all want to tell you
In case you don’t know:
That you make a big difference
In the lives that you touch,
By taking so little
And giving so much!

Mom stayed on the beach while I headed off for a few hours of hiking.

On the way I popped into a bar for a coffee and some chit-chat with the local old men. When I mentioned that it was my birthday they insisted on paying for my coffee – and cheek kisses.

I love speaking Italian! And apparently I have a knack for it. A man I met on the hike said I didn’t even have an accent, but then after a while he changed his mind, saying I did have an accent, a Roman accent. I pick up languages and accents like a sponge, it is almost embarrassing.

I got to practice my Italian a lot. Mom contributed to the conversations by smiling and nodding. Like I used to do, ten years ago.

It was our last evening in Monterosso and our B&B had booked a table for us at one of the town’s best restaurants; Miky. We had a seafood platter for starters and a great spaghetti with pesto Genovese as main. When our desserts came out, the apple pie with vanilla ice-cream had a lit candle in it and they turned off the lights and everyone sang Happy Birthday for me.

A Happy Day it was indeed.