December 28, 2008

Favorite islands…

Apropos nothing, just sitting and gazing in to the blue the question arose.

For Mona that is Martinique it suits her temperament to a ‘T’. She loves everything about it. The modest display of money, the apparent sophistication of its inhabitants. Small houses with never ending views and above all, no snow.

Charles is not partial,
as long it is surrounded by a rough sea to sail.

Peter, my brother, escapes to Samos.
Lives high up on a hill with access to the sea to sail the Turkish coast.
He enjoys straddling the dividing line between East and West.

Sylvia is permanently anchored to the Black Forest
and nothing and no one can extricate her from there.
Amazing. Neither sea, nor air can entice her.

For Brigitte it had been Ibiza. She called it the greatest escape island in the world. Whenever she needed some place to go to forget her trouble Ibiza was the place for her to go. She said it seized her soul. The natives have a saying: ‘Leave Ibiza at ones or stay forever’.

As for me, I am not partial either.
I am also lucky to live but a short trip of the island of Catalina, which I visit often.
I have drifted through the holidays on the island of Kauai. Explored on foot its wild northwestern shore and sailed the islands.

However, my heart belongs to the blue Adriatic and the islands of the coast of Dalmatia; Pula, Rabac, Lovran, Opatija, Rijeka, Pag, Trogir, Vis, my personal favorite Hvar, Brela, Mljet, Korcula, just to name a few. Those I began to explore during my married years. Rene had spent all his summers during his school years sailing up and down the Dalmatian coast. He had intimate knowledge of the Adriatic her moods good and bad. I learned her winds the Bura, Jugo, Maestral and the Tramontana. The towns and cities of Dalmatia, strung out along the whole length of the Adriatic Cost. From graceful, Renaissance Koper down to the ghostly, menacing fangs of Stari Bar and Ulcinj, the hideout of Utudz Alija, crazy admiral of the Islam pirates, who made war against all the navies of the Mediterranean. Each of them has its special history, thousands of years of it. It is impossible to travel without coming across stone monuments recalling events past, from antiquity to recent past.

Dubrovnik is only the best known. But there is Trogir, Split, Pula, Porec, Zadar and Rab entire chains of towns, large and small, with Gothic and Renaissance buildings, religious and secular alike, equally lovely and restrained, and all skirted and surrounded by the blue mantle and white lace of the sea, the warm, sunlit sea, which has provided a way of life for so many nations, has been the meeting place of so many cultures.

The sea is not for the summer months only. It is perhaps even more so when modern nomads depart and leave only the stubbornly incurable romantics. Then, for the lonely walker the shore puts on a special and magnificent performance. The air becomes heavy, full of the smell of rotting leaves, and the warm, damp, southern wind comes, driving heavy, thirty meter long waves to break on rocks pounded by centuries of braking waves. And nostalgia sets in, that quiet, consoling, Chateaubriand nostalgia that merges into the mood of the white foam under the heavy, grey southern clouds. Then a frozen blue sky opens up, and snow covers the ridges of the endless, high mountain chains, the sharp, dry northern wind, the Bura, begins to blow, and we can sit in our lair, sheltered from the wind and look out at the sea with waves dashing on the shore like scattered pearls.

After that, spring, early spring almost in the middle of the inland winter. Everything changes again, now it is all white from the thousands of flowering trees and the Mediterranean fruit trees, and beyond this white the cobalt blue sea and overhead the deep blue sky. And peace, a splendid feeling of endless peace. These shores have the power of imparting peace. At all times of the day, at all times of the year, these are the shores of tranquility.


Jasmina said...

Dobro jutro,

thank you for writing so kindly about my country


from Zadar said...

Hvala, nice

fan from Hvar said...

vrlo dobro