This is the third installment of how Keith and I went on our honeymoon with the intention of living a healthy lifestyle and found some challenges along the way, but more importantly during this leg, we grew stronger as a couple and our relationship blossomed. This is what I often refer to as Primary Foods as taught by my alma-mater, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Primary Foods are not foods at all, but rather other aspects of your life that nourish our minds and bodies. Career is a great example. When you are working 70 hours a week and are miserable with your boss, this Primary Food is out of wack. What often happens next is you make poorer food choices (Secondary Foods) either because you feel you have no time or you go to emotional eating.
The same goes for relationships as a Primary Food. When you and your partner don’t have enough time with each other or maybe you happen to be in a very toxic relationship, often times we find ourselves choosing comfort foods (Secondary Foods) or find comfort in binging. The gut is often referred to as the second brain and 95 percent of the Serotonin in the body lies in the digestive system. So sometimes these comfort foods can increase your mood. Unfortunately, we all know this does not last very long.
This trip brings us to the Cinque Terre and the beautiful town of Manarola. Lets first finish the evening where the last installment left off in Venice:
The final evening in Venice turned-out to be more excitement then we had bargained for. Our bags were semi-packed for the 6 a.m. ferry which would bring us to the train station where we would head off to our next destination. Keith and I both vowed to make this an early evening to rest for the long day of travel which was to come.
This evening was going to be chill and we headed out to one of our favorites: Cafe Duchamp, one of the spots that our tour guide, by way of our state-side Venetian friend Manny, had once cut his teeth in the restaurant world and had many friends who still worked there.
Being a small town, we had gained somewhat of a celebrity status in the small piazza as news had spread that we were Americans and friends of a local. Drinks were sent to the table. We were welcomed with embraces by the staff and felt completely at home the way only Italians can make a foreigner feel, especially with a big language barrier.
Just as we were about to retire for the evening, an energetic older gentleman came to our table and began to speak exclusively in his native tongue as if we could understand what he was saying. More drinks came as he sat down with us and a server leaned over and whispered to me, “Manny’s papy…” His Dad had caught word that his son’s friends were in town and was determined to show us a good time!
Somehow we communicated the fact that we had an early ferry and told our new friend where we were staying and he was going to escort us home, after a few stops. One bar after the next: First stop wine. Second stop a sort of Italian port. Third stop grappa.
So much for taking it easy.
Finally getting us to our B&B, our gracious host left with a few hugs and a “Ciao, ciao!” and what seemed like a statement that he would be visiting Chicago soon. We set two alarms and hit the pillows hard. Needless to say the next day of travel was brutal. One ferry and two trains, we got off at a wrong stop and it was pouring rain the whole trip.
I woke from a nap just as our train came out of a dark tunnel and with a huge flash of light we came out into the bright sun of the open air and the gorgeous aqua of the Ligurian Sea with waves crashing against rocks and cliffs spraying white foam into the air. It was like heaven on Earth! We were a few stops from our destination of Manarola, the fourth city of five small towns which encompass the Cinque Terre.
We left the train and entered a long walking tunnel and our excitement grew as we entered the quaint town of steep hills and winding streets. The word romantic just doesn’t do it justice.
We found our gorgeous, newly-renovated hotel and quickly freshened up and began to explore the town. The views of the ocean were spectacular and we soon settled on a small cafe for an apertif overlooking the crashing waves. One thing to note is that this town is revered for being a city for lovers even the Via de Amore (path of love) begins in Manarola.
This place was newlywed central. It seemed to be inhabited by couples on honeymoon and shop owners almost exclusively. This time of evening was particularly gorgeous as the sunset cast a hue of orange, then pink and finally purple over the cliffs and colorful facades of the the town stacked on top of itself.
We had noticed quite a few same-sex couples walking together and taking photos and this somehow put us at peace and I feel like for the first time on this trip we were able to let our guards down and really appreciate our relationship. This was time to focus on our Primary Foods and what a perfect place for this to happen.
We made a reservation at Trattoria dal Billy and were looking forward to local fare and eager to try the “seafood sampler” we had heard so much about. Having cleaned-up and prepared for a lovely date, I really began to feel a deeper love generating between me and my husband. The air felt electric.
When we arrived at the restaurant, quite literally built into the side of the cliff I noticed a younger gay couple we saw walking the trails earlier that day. When we were seated, we had an older gay couple to our right. Once again a level of comfort came over us as we talked over a bottle of local wine about our wedding and our favorite parts of the honeymoon so far.
I mentioned this in a previous piece, but how different it must be to honeymoon for a heterosexual couple then it was for us. It was great to be in the company of other men in loving relationships and Keith and I held hands across the table as we started to talk about other great same-sex couples in our lives. It’s true, focusing on your Primary Foods, especially your relationships (or at least getting yourself ready to be in a relationship) is very helpful in living a healthy lifestyle!
The Secondary Foods we dined on here of local seafood and fish were amazing. How wonderful to know that the food was sustainably sourced and from a few hundred yards from our romantic table.
Check-in next week for our last installment of our travels as we finish this two-week vacation in the historic city of Rome! Do you think we were able to continue our healthy lifestyle in a city known for pasta, cheese and bread?