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Adventures and Misadventures

End of Season Madness

ITALY | Monday, 26 January 2009 | Views [790]

Our hope to be home in Italy by the end of September was dashed as the weather forecasters predicted the arrival of some powerful winds over the next week. We had 2 choices – stay and wait in Fiskardo (beautiful, elegant but small and quiet) or head up the coast to wait in Corfu (big, bustling, beautiful and good shopping). Guess what Anita and I voted? 

In Corfu we were in a huge marina where many people leave their boats over the winter season. We hired a car and trooped into old Corfu town for dinner and explored all the lively side streets as we followed Dudi on a wild goose chase to find an old favourite restaurant. Corfu is a venetian style town with a distinct Greek feel which makes for an enthralling mixture of elegant, towering architecture and an energetic , bustling atmosphere.  The town itself is dominated by a huge old fortress which guards the peninsula and Anita and I spent hours exploring the town and the nearby area over the next few days including indulging in some famous shopping. On our last day in Corfu we all piled into the car for a trip around the island. The sun was out so we explored a few little coves, stopping in a small beachside tavern for lunch and drove around the coast. I marvelled at the olive groves lining the sides of the roads and made a vow to come back to Corfu one day – it is one of the prettiest Greek islands.

A short break in the weather and we made a break for Italy. We quickly settled into a routine with many miles to cover over the next four days. At 5am it was out of bed and into normal uniform, jacket, full wet weather gear, socks, boots, beanie and harness as the air outside was freezing at that time in the morning. All of us woke up to get the boat going – anchor up/anchor in/dinghy secured/main up. After we got moving Anita and I would head to bed for 3 hours then change shift and Dudi and Ila would go to bed until lunchtime and on we went with 3 hours shifts all day until we arrived around 11 or midnight.

Our second night in Italy we arrived at midnight to the island of Stromboli (the famous volcano) and anchored offshore. The next morning as we sailed around the corner at 5am we could see the mouth of the volcano spewing red lava and rocks into the black night sky. Pretty spectacular! Our final 5th day of passage back to Riva was magical. The sun was shining, the sea was calm and a pod of dolphins came out to play.  As the last superyacht back to port for the season we were welcomed back by all our crew friends and shouts of ‘Bionde, Bionde!” (Blonde, Blonde – mine and Anita’s Italian nicknames!)

Anita and I had three weeks left in port and therefore Italy and we were determined to make the most of them. Life had calmed down as Dudi seemed to be in vacation mode and although we were required to be on the boat weekdays we spent most of our time packing and repacking our bags after we realised that multiple shopping trips does not make for easy packing. Cries of “can you sit on this for me while I close the zip” and “do you think it would cost much to send this home?” echoed throughout the boat. 

One Saturday night we organised to meet a sailing friend from Australia in Rome. At 5pm we caught the train into Rome complete with beer and pizza. We have discovered (better late than never) that the best pizza in town is actually at the train station cafe... who would have guessed? Straight to the Spanish steps – our favourite spot in Rome which was packed with revelling young Romans and then on to Piazza Navona for a take away beer. We stopped to watch a circus busker and I bent down to fish my camera out of my bag and all of a sudden there was a tap on my shoulder. Eeeek – how did he sneak up on me that quickly? NO NO NOOOOOOo I squealed as I was dragged out into the centre of the crowd. However holding and throwing firesticks at an Italian man on a unicycle appears to be my forte – perhaps I should consider changing professions. We met the 4 Aussie boys in Campo Di Fiori and spent the night downing cocktails, dancing and enjoying some company from home.

We had one last jaunt out to Ponza on the yacht for a long weekend with the owners which was fairly relaxed and thankfully the weather stayed favourable. Our last night in Italy we celebrated with a typical Italian dinner at a country ristorante near the port with friends. What menu could better describe Italian food than antipasto (bruschetta and cold meats), a first plate of wild boar fresh pasta, grilled steak and tiramisu followed lastly by an Italian coffee and accompanied by plenty of wine.  Anita and I were on the same plane to England so when we arrived we enjoyed a nice English breakfast together before waving each other goodbye with tears in our eyes (a lifelong friend) as I headed to France for the start of a new era and Anita headed off to the USA.

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