From Tuscany to Crete and back, via Malta. TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED miles of family sailing: anecdotes and reflections of a somewhat epic holiday.
We have always been four. An incurable passionate and expert sailor, my father Paolo, our captain, and three unfortunates dragged by the captain into the world of sailing as soon as it was possible: my mother Cecilia, my brother Gregorio and I – who were tripping happily between ropes and rudder already at a few years of life.
A family but also a well-tested crew, therefore: since I can remember, every summer at least a few weeks have been dedicated to the Mediterranean – and the more we little sailors grew, the more the miles traveled. Sailing was taught to us early on, and the passion for what we were learning was born almost at the same time: now that I can really understand the beauty of what seemed like a simple game at first, the journeys are becoming more intense, full of nuances. , lively – and with the amount of experiences the desire to share them by telling them also grows, to transmit in turn some crumbs of a great passion.
This year we started in SIX: the whole family and an acquired member who has brilliantly passed the entrance tests in numerous previous experiences and is now part of the team. His name is Luca and he has been mesmerized by the wonders of sailing and the sea like us, he is in his 20s and always the joke ready – which even gives him honors in the entrance exam in the group. , since she drove us far and wide, it is she, Blue Mystery, our beloved boat, an evergreen model despite being 16 years old, from a well-known Swedish shipyard.
We dived into the Mediterranean in early August. In Tuscany, we let go of our moorings and set the bow towards Taormina, Sicily.
An ambitious first step: the entire Italian coast in one breath, without pauses – forgotten. This is because as soon as we calmly enter the flow of the elements, life changes: the mainland no longer matters, and stopping becomes a sin. The hull glides smoothly for three days pushed by a weak northwest wind, and we cancel haste, delays, stress, appointments. Everyone enters harmoniously in tune with others and with himself: we depend solely on nature, now. It is the wind that pushes us and that really decides our future goals, that governs, that directs the rhythm of the days – and it is from the disarming simplicity of this concept that the harmony that surrounds us derives. Let’s rediscover calm, reflection: for the first time we can let time pass, thoughts, avoiding to shiver or gnaw at the sense of guilt.Time expands and boredom does not exist: three days fade in an instant, surrounded by the sea that dances and perfumes and drives us, without haste, to Taormina.
Here we spend a few hot days zigzagging among the tourists in the microscopic cobbled streets of the village, trying to capture as much beauty as possible between flying arancini and semi-dissolved ice creams and selfie sticks. We only get a few fragments of it, and the chaos combined with the ferocity of the temperatures has pushed us away from the coast, starving for the sea: three hundred miles in one bite, destination Pilos, in the Peloponnese.
We arrive at our destination slightly disheveled: in two days we have gone from feeling like we were in a washing machine – the wind was notably bizarre – to savoring the calm night under a carpet of stars, serene and now forgetful of rain and lightning.
The same peace accompanies us until the next day – when satisfied and enterprising we leave by car to get a taste of Greece, a mixture of grandiose history and controversial current events in an immersion of about ten hours. The latter turns out to be funny and fascinating: we discover that life, in the country villages, was pleasantly stuck in the 60s. The mopeds are driven without a helmet and the women are accompanied to do the shopping seated with their legs crossed on one side, elegantly. You breathe tranquility and a slight hint of indifference in the face of problems: it is as if the glances caught along the way said “Don’t worry, sooner or later the problems will be solved. Maybe we can try to participate if they struggle. Otherwise, we wait.”And in this unusual semblance of perennial waiting surprisingly they proceed, slowly, but advance: they coexist and clearly we can see a latent disorganization combined with the calm and happy tranquility that people emanate, inhabitants of a land devoid of concrete and covered with olive trees, perhaps eager to preserve its charm, to continue listening to the whispers that hover and tell of millenary legends and, in the end, enchant everyone.anyone.anyone.
And after the hinterland the coast awaits us: we find a bay with deceptively bewitching Caribbean features – a moment of refreshment after the dizzying experience in the car, and before sailing to Crete, which we suspect is just as confusing. Here the Addams confidently welcome a newbie, Giulio, my boyfriend, who arrived directly in a suit and tie from London but with the sunscreen cleverly hidden in the inside pocket. Promoted.
We are in Rethymno, north west coast. The port represents the shrunken version of the entire island: we are in a place where contrasts coexist without colliding, where next to a wonderful old Venetian village there are modern horrible buildings of blackened concrete and busy streets; nature ranges from the sea, to the fields cultivated by farmers with old-fashioned methods who live in villages in the company of more goats than people, to the real mountains where you can ski in winter and trekking in summer. All this, we have seen, has a common denominator: what is modern is ramshackle and what is ancient attractive but, especially in the countryside, worn.
For this reason, after only one day of visit, we decide to challenge the Ionian Sea, to face the five hundred miles that separate us from Malta despite the unattractive forecasts. In reality, we are thrashing with the desire to become drunk again with the spell of navigation.