16th January, 2020
So both me & my legs think choosing Messina as our first bike ride of 2020 might not have been the wisest decision. Man, it’s hilly!
Fueled by the Italian espresso that’s barely enough for one sip but definitely enough to wake the dead, spaghetti carbonara - cause you can’t avoid carbs when in Italy, the January sun - don’t be fooled into skipping on SPF - even with my SPF50 my face is on fire as I write this, little bit of vodka from our farewell flasks (thank you, Gill!) & to the soundtrack of Lizzo blasting from a bluetooth speaker in David’s backpack, we paddled up to the two amazing viewpoints - Santuario Parrocchia S.Maria Di Montalto & Sacrario Cristo Re.
Churches smell the same as back home, but the enthusiastic Italian decoration often slips below the level of good taste, sometimes into downright creepy (a life-like mannequin representing one of the saints surrounded by children burying their faces into his tunic will haunt my dreams for days to come).
And old man greeting people at the entrance to the church showed us where we can top up our bottles with a fresh water coming down from the mountains surrounding Messina (at least I think that’s what he said) & I sneakily got two sprigs of lavender for our cabin to help with sleep, that’s becoming your most treasured & guarded commodity when living on the ship.
We’ve found a little hidden spot in between a closed board yard & a post-apocalyptic fun fair overtaken by rust, cats & weed (no psychotic clown killers sadly), where we listened to music, maybe slept a bit, watched the ships coming & going, dreaming up the shapes & paths life could take after the ship.
There’s something profoundly bizarre about coming to work on a port day. The shops open again the moment we sail away & we’re ready to serve our passengers whos vacation day continues, whilst you hang onto the still fresh memory of whizzing through the streets of Messina, lined with orange trees with fruit ready for taking in mid-January.
Two days to Israel!!!