Blue water, dream beaches, villages all over the hills along the coast, one “Trattoria” after the other and of course “Gelaterias” everywhere. That’s what you expect, when you’re planning a trip to Italy. What you do not expect is long streets through the mountains with holes inside, that you almost have to drive a real parcour to get through this nightmare of a street. As well as empty beaches, with rubbish, dry, boring landscapes and building sites everywhere. Do you know these houses, they started to build, but than realized that they need more money, which they don’t have, and everything stopped, so, that the houses now look like skellets? It somehow scares me a little bit, because it looks so empty and deserted.
Now imagine you arrive to this in the middle of the night. It was a saturday evening and as I usually know the Italians they like to go out and party a lot, but the streets were empty and you could barely see people all around. In Germany we say in a situation like that that the people hold up the pavement (“Bürgersteige hochklappen”). This fact made it very difficult for us to find the way from the airport to our little house. After cruising around for one hour, without finding any road in the right direction we landed on a small market with one small shop opened. It was a small shack where you could buy pizza and ice cream. The lovely shop Assistent gave us a bottle of wine, showed us the right way and saved our first evening in Calabria, Italy.
Waking up to nice weather, taking a bath on the houseown beach and having breakfast on the terrace sounds nearly perfect, but the truth actually looked a little bit different… It was more like getting out of bed, because you had to move to get warm, because the blankets were way too thin. The weather, 18 degrees and partly cloudy, couldn’t bring the mood up. As well as the fact, that you had to walk down 500 steps to get to the water, well, to be honest, that was still okay, but the thought about walking all these steps up again gave us all stomach ache. At least there was the breakfast… we thought. But unfotunuately it wa a Sunday AND a christian holiday, so because everything was closed we all went on a involuntary diet.
We still made the decision to get into the car and drive trough this dry landscape to a small village called “Zungri”. In Zungri we met the lovely Julia and her husband, who had a small shop with loads of italian specialities. They literally saved our day and made us all so much happier!
The next few days we did a lot of things, next to the visit of beautiful Tropeia we went on a long car ride to finally see the other side of “the shoe”, which surprised us all a litte bit, because it was wonderful and the landscape totally different. Along nice beach stays and a lot of sport, in form of running up and down all the stairs, because “we forgot the sunscreen or the towel”, we of course couldn’t miss the the late night dinners doesn’t matter if we went to the restaurant next door, tried out some “Marco-Polo Insider-Tips” or just stayed at our terrace and watched the beautiful sunset. All of us totally fell in love with the italian way of having dinner.
Even if I started my text with high expectations and the depressing way of exploring the reality, I need to change that now and have to decribe the first time, when we finally saw the island “Stromboli”. “Stromboli” is an island, which is actually a small vulcano and one of the Aeolian islands. There was just this one special time on the day, when the sun slowly went down and the sky was clear, when we were able to see this island, and it was absolutley magical!
I could actually write about so much more, what happened, like my mosquito bite in my eye I got in our first night, so that I had the pleasure, to walk around with sunglasses for the first two days, or my first experience with lions’s mane jellyfishes. OMG in the first moment I thought it was a shark, who bite me in my arm, because it burned so much, but than I realised that it luckily was a jellyfish.
But what I actually wanted to say is, that sometimes the first impression is not always the right. It might be, that the south of Italy may not be the most beautiful place, but there are still people, who can make the situation so much nicer and there will always be good things, you just have to do the best out of it!