Anyone who knows me well knows that I drink copious amounts of water. When I am unable to drink such a large amount of water I feel often feel dizzy and confused. I am a fish. On waking up in the strand hotel the next morning after our drunken night in the bar I could feel my brain, a shriveled up dried out flower, dissipating into dust. I reached for some water I had saved for myself the night before and slammed it. More. More. I need more water. I felt my mood was suffering from the lack of h2o. I jump into the shower that looks like Luca’s grandmother and imagine my body soaking up the water through osmosis. The shampoo and soap (no conditioner.. God help my hair) certainly held the smell of someones grandmother. I got out of the shower and felt frozen. I hopped back into bed and felt sickened at the smell of my newly scented grandmother’s curls. Luca wakes up.. and is starving.
We go downstairs for our free breakfast (how nice) and I see jugs of assorted fruit juices. No water. I grab a small cup and slam about three of these and take one to go to the table. The food doesn’t exactly grab my appetite but I force myself to eat.. some. A waitress comes to the table and asks if we would like anything else. Water – Vassa. Luca wants coffee. She comes back with his coffee, no water. Luca doesn’t try to hide his smirk. I go back to the juice and throw back a few more tiny glasses, Luca suggests we should go so we can make it to this ferry on time. I am finding more and more that Luca is more often than not, late. Thankfully this is a quality I most enjoy in people. I leave my breakfast (bleh) and put on my sunglasses and head outside with him. I struggle to keep up with his quick long strides.
Aboard the ferry I go straight for a bottle of water. I quickly pay for it and sit down hoping to have this bottle in my system in less than three seconds. In my hurry to buy it I didn’t realize it was carbonated. I am sure I am shriveling up and look about as old as my hair smells. The ferry starts moving and the hangover does too. I ask Luca where the bathrooms are just in case I have to run with no time to speak. What I would give to lie down and sleep through this. Luca does exactly what I was thinking and props up his bag as a pillow and lies down and closes his eyes. I join him. Laying down feels so good on my brain. I relax a little and feel my anxious alcohol infused stomach unknot itself.
After a time I looked up to see us approaching land. “That’s it” Luca comments. All of my fear for the ferry was for nothing. We walk off the ferry and the wind is cold. We walk onto a little narrow street with old brick buildings on both sides. We both seem to be lost in the energy of the island. It felt good to slow down and take it all in here. We take a left turn and Luca tells me we’re here. A man is outside the big house and greets Luca. We go inside and head up a beautiful stone staircase. How good it feels to have cold stone on bare feet. All of the sudden I am so exhausted. Luca wants to show me around the island and so we borrow a car and go for a drive to a sandy beach. It is windy and Luca is rejuvenated at being back on the island. For whatever reason I am chilled and exhausted, I struggle to keep my eyes open. He points out a kindergarten class in the woods. They aren’t on field trip, the class is actually based out of a tiny room in the woods. The island, only 36kms big, is like a hippie commune, with traditional german farming, a beach/surf community and stunning european homes and buildings. As much as it takes my breath away I am feeling burnt out. Luca brings me back to his grandmother’s house and I sleep – for seven hours.
When I wake he wants to try again to show me around the island. At this point the wind had died down and driving around the island was a lot of fun. The slow way of life here paired with the beach side feels so good to be in. We go for dinner and once again I marvel at how much better the food is in Europe then in Canada. From cheese, to dried fruit, chocolate and especially icecream.. sadly it really puts Canada to shame. The ingredients here are simply far better. We eat our dinner slowly and watch the people around us. Everyone seems to move at such a slow relaxed place here. The idea of living on this island has both of us transfixed in a state of feeling as if we were in a place where time stands still.
We walk through tiny narrow streets and along the seaside and sea facing small shops. We get to the car and Luca drives us to a big beautiful white sandy beach. I’ve never seen anything like it. Tiny shells peek through the sand and we walk towards the water. Luca warns me that the sand after a certain point isn’t good for shoes as there is so much salt in it. I really couldn’t be bothered to feel sad for the shoes that had so badly blistered my feet. It was about time they suffered a little too in my opinion.
The wind had died down and the sun’s warmth felt good. The beach felt so good on the soul. It was hard to not feel like everything on the island was good for the soul. Luca throws a piece of seaweed at my face nearly hitting me in the mouth. Of course he does. He is laughing hard and I can’t help but smile. We walked back up the beach to the loose sand and plunked ourselves down in it. Oh to feel that white, cool sand run through my fingers. We lie down in it and I feel intoxicated on how good it feels to be here. For the first time in a long time I feel as if I’ve stopped if only for a time, running myself senselessly into the ground. It feels like I am able to once again stand on my own two feet, with my head lifted towards the sun. I am able to see around me again and remember what it is to feel happy. To feel lifted.