El Capitano April 2009
I was embarrassed to see that our last update was in October2008. It would be convenient to say how busy we have been but maybe we are just dropping into the Mediterranean way of life in general and the Italian way of life in particular.
So what have we been doing? Well Anne is still doing her Italian lessons and I am still on boat maintenance and we have had two trips back home.
In both cases there were surprises. On the first visit in November, we found that there was a planning application to demolish the modest bungalow at the bottom of our garden and build a four storey apartment block on the site. I immediately set to and mustered the local protest and submitted a lengthy objection and a petition with about fifty signatures. Six months on we still await a decision.
On the second trip back in March I found that my neighbour had installed a VERY expensive gate at our common entrance and expected me to pay a share of the cost. I declined so that is three out of our six neighbours who are on bad terms with me (or is it the other way round!!)
So, I dread to think what is in store if we come back again.
Anyway, you didn't come to this site to read about this domestic stuff!!.
At the moment we are in Settimana Santa (Holy Week) between Palm Sunday and Easter Monday. The town takes this very seriously and all the street lights are covered in red cloth which changes the appearance of the town dramatically. Several times per day there are processions through the narrow streets with lots of Catholic symbolism i.e. crosses, mystery boxes incense and stuff.
The previous event was the Carnivale which celebrates Local History. In 1353 a large Spanish fleet supported by Venetians took possession of Alghero and forced all the locals up to a mountain town which is now called Villanova. We've been up there and they still look pretty bitter about it! Anyway the town became the major port for traffic between Sardinia and Spain. Alghero remained Catalan until Sardinia was taken over by the House of Savoy 1720 which, as the Italian Royal family, survived until 1946. There, you will not find a shorter history of Sardinia anywhere!!! All this is relevant to the Carnivale which represents all these cultures .There are girls in Spanish costume, people in Venetian masks and Sards in wild, primitive costumes made out of deerskins, bearskins, festooned with bones and bells etc-------nobody seems to know what it's all about. Check out the photos.
Another outcome of this history is that five languages are spoken here. Italian, Sardinian, Catalan and Algherese and a little English. I find sign language ie hand waving works best for me.
Working backwards, the New Year celebrations are taken very seriously and there was an international standard firework display about 200m from the boat on the harbour wall. Our friends Carol and Malcolm were here and we had a fairly solid eating and drinking and scrabble time of it!
We have also been to Rome for five days. Ryanair flew us there for €10 each way and we had a great time. Our first hotel (see photos) was in an old castle. The tower with the small archers windows impressed us until we found out that it was our room! We then moved to a more sensible place in the centre of Rome. Overall we had a good time and managed to do some Roman things. We went to an excellent operatic recital and visited the Villa Borghese which was just fantastic!!!!! We also saw Slumdog Millionaire in English with Italian subtitles for the Indian bits----confusing. We must have walked tens of miles but Rome is-----Rome is amazing!!!!
More recently, Jerry and Lindsay came over for a long weekend of eating and socialising, which was fun although the weather was wet and cool. Erik was back for a week at the same time and Francois and Virginie have just been back to their boat for a couple of weeks, so we have had an enjoyable few weeks.
We seem to have made a decision!! We think we will head home this summer. It was always our intention to do maybe five years of liveaboard and if we do that then it will be almost six. Just as it seemed the right thing to do when we set off it now seems the right time to head back. So tis summer will be a retracing of steps. Revisiting some places and visiting some new places as well.Should be interesting.
Watch this space!.