Minutes from the Johannesburg airport we’re in countryside that (once again) looks decidedly Australian, scattered as it is with eucalyptus trees. Strange, elongated, pointy hills dot the flatness – possibly mine dumps. We pass flat fields of sorghum and dead corn. Boomsprays sit in furrowed fields. I see cattle, red and glossy black, on the verge of the dual carriageway. What’s to prevent them wandering onto the road? A moment later I spy the man wandering alongside them trailing a thin, supple stick. They are grazing the long paddock, as we say in Australia.
We dropped 30 degrees the day we arrived in England. Singapore released us at a sultry 29 Celsius. Heathrow was making some effort at spring with 4°C and when we arrived in Warwick at around 10pm, it was one of the colder days of my life at minus one. Meanwhile, my family were sweating it out in an Australian 38 degrees. So, welcome to England, Anne.
But the temperature was not at the forefront of my mind.
Films do it; books do it: the physical journey as metaphor for an emotional journey that illustrates character. As movie-goers, we expect it. We don’t necessarily anticipate it will play out in front of us in reality as it did in Canyon Gorropu, Sardinia.
We had been told we must leave early and on time in order to get back for the start of the conference. Very few of us were there. Camera pans across front of white hotel. Two or three people stand talking. Another rounds the corner stowing a water bottle, a hat and a camera in a small backpack. In the background, away and below the tiled orange roofs of the hotel apartments, the sea lies like a blanket.
We were hot on a restaurant recommendation from our relatives. They heard about it from the owners of their holiday rental accommodation, Pietro and Maria. There’s no way one would stumble across it, tucked as it is in the hills of Sardinia behind Cala Gonone. So we trundled along behind them. But we were going first to Pietro and Maria’s holding on the ridge of one of the hills. Continue reading
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking. By John Masefield (for the complete poem, see the end of the post)
This is a longing that is almost visceral; a longing that rides the rhythms of a physical place and speaks of loss and hope.
I saw my first mountain when I was thirty-nine. I was standing on Italian soil with my children and my mother. Across the border, the Swiss Alps filled the spaces between land and sky. Continue reading
On a German road: a young man is zigzagged low over his rollerblades; legs, ankles and feet fast together like a dart; his hair streaming as he is pulled along by a galloping German Shepherd. Continue reading
Posted in Germany, I Spy, I Hear, I Smell, I Taste
Tagged Black Forest, butterflies, carpark, cemeteries, cobblestone street, flowers, footpath, forest, Germany, Jesus statues, landscape, Rhine, rural life, travel