She’s got everything she needs
She’s an artist, she don’t look back
She can take the dark out of nighttime
And paint the daytime black.
Leggi in italiano
I have travelling between islands.
First stop was Elba, historic, gorgeous, almost impregnable. I came to Elba for a wedding, a wedding that I had been looking forward to for a long time and that turned out to be even more than promised.
The weather was changeable, windy. I met with some of the other guests to travel to Elba and connect with the others. Most of us were staying in the same place, the reception place. And most of us who sort of knew each other and were coming from Rome were, originally, a million years ago, school friends.
You see, I went to a special school. Not special in the bad sense, but in the good one. Partly also due to the fact that I left Italy immediately after graduating high school, I have remained friends, and in some cases I have become better friends, with people I’ve known since I was around 14. To some, this might be weird, to others not at all. To me, it is nothing short of miraculous. But the story of our school and of your friendships is for another day. Suffice to say, a good group of friends (and actually several groups) have emerged from that experience, and though separated by geographical location, we still get on like a house on fire.
So it was that this disparate group of people was to be found traipsing around Elba, killing time, chatting and gossiping, sometimes irritating me – I have been travelling solo for so long that suddenly being thrown into group dynamics threw me for a loop for a while. And the distinctive Roman knack for just being completely indecisive and dilly-dallying about everything was quickly driving me up the wall. I think I snapped a couple of times. So yeah, sorry guys!
The other explanation for this was that, the night before the wedding, I felt really sick, and was convinced I was going to come down with something. I cocooned in the bed, people brought me blankets, I even skipped dinner (and those who know me well know that I NEVER miss an opportunity to eat – so this must have been serious – I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel hungry). A night full of weird dreams was followed by a sickly morning, but amazingly, by the time it came to go to the registry office, I was fine and fit and enjoyed myself immensely.
The duration of the wedding rivalled that of Indian weddings: 11am to midnight, with dancing and eating, and playing football, and some people sneaking into the hotel pool for a midnight dip (not me), and some other people attempting to light flying lanterns that got caught in some trees :/
I cried a little a the wedding (I often do, dammit) and it reminded me that I feel ready to have a serious relationship again, with eyes open and not my head in fairytale land. We’ll see what life brings. I am hopeful, but maybe that constitutes as having my head in fairytale land.
I stayed in Elba a few more days. My home was in Via dell’Amore – fitting, wouldn’t you say? I ate good fish, took walks, and worked (as usual). Unfortunately the weather was too cold for beach time.
Then came Rome, and we shall say no more about it…
After Rome, I embarked on a 14 hour ferry trip to Cagliari, as my auntie gave me her car to take. I had to dose myself with an anti-travel sickness medication, the sea was a bit rough (I get sick even standing on a floating pontoon) and the whole thing went by quite quickly. I drove west from Cagliari and then took another, this time short, ferry to the Island of San Pietro, the town of Carloforte, the south-westernmost tip of Sardinia: after that, all you’ll meet is Tunisia…
So I’m on an island off an island off a nearly island. I don’t think I can get more isolated than that. Moreover, my internet connection here is VERY temperamental so I am mostly cut off. Not a bad thing. I am spending my days alone, driving to the beach (so far only two days were warm enough for sunbathing and swimming), working, writing, reading. I’m detoxing my brain (I hope).
In a few days, my mum and auntie will arrive and we will enjoy the Girotonno, a yearly celebration of this island’s most precious product: tuna. HINT: I will be eating A LOT.
The other aspect of this trip is I find it very introspective. Since I was very little, my father used to take us to Sardinia once a year for two-three weeks, usually at the end of summer (for my birthday) when it was quieter and cheaper. Days were shorter, true, but the water was warmer and the fishing was good, though not all the time.
Setting foot on Sardinia again and smelling its unique smells, tasting its amazing foods and drinks, I am reminded of all those summer trips, of going fishing with dad and almost always having to make do with fish soup (though I once caught a seabream!), of preparing the bait, sticking it in the fridge with its pungent smell, of having to dive off our little boat for a swim every time I felt seasick (and it was often), of possible sunstroke, of skin so dark I looked like a different person, of saltiness, of sand-smoothed legs, of fresh tomato sandwiches, of snorkelling looking for octopus, of ice creams in the afternoon and playing with my brother and cousins, of reading for hours and hours on the beach, not feeling the heat so much. Of not wanting this to be over because when it was, school would start for another year.
I never came to Carloforte with my father, and in truth it is a bit different from the rest of Sardinia (it has had various influences including a strong Genoan presence), but in many ways it is exactly the same. Here I feel like my dad could come through the door any minute, after having gone to get fresh croissants from the bakery, eager to get the day’s fishing going.
Hope we catch a big one this time.