Bella Ponza

One of my closest friends came out to stay for 8 days, we went on a little trip to the island of Ponza. In Beautiful Ruins it used a metaphor which went along the lines of people's lives being like walking on your own winding path. Occasionally you find yourself walking with other people but it comes and goes. With Jonnie it was great for us to just click back again, to pick up from where we dropped off in the summer.

We both can be quite deep and intense with what we do, we require a subtle harmony in our lives for us to function on top form. It was great to mutually help prepare for our respective next steps and to return to our adopted new reality's with a renewed sense of focus. 

The few days in Ponza were some of the best I had all year; freedom to explore and experience a different world without any requirements or pressure. Jonnie arrived late Monday evening, with no previous plans and a meagre 30 minute Google search we made our way to the train station early on Tuesday. We picked out Ponza as Google maps made it look intriguing, plus we had never heard of it before which made it consistent with the spontaneous way we wanted the trip to be. After a successful airbnb search on the train and quick wrong detour to a neighbouring port, which was no longer sending out boats, we arrived at the port of Formio and hopped on a little ship heading out across the med.

We set out at late afternoon and caught a spectacular early evening sunset. I missed this view, of being surrounded by water as the sky briefly explodes into colour before descending into the darkness. When I worked in Greece, the staff used to occasionally go sailing after work. You could almost entirely justify living there for this spectacular 45 minutes of sailing, basking in the fading orange glow of the sun.

It was dark when we landed and with only some hazy instructions on my phone from the airbnb host we headed towards the lights on the hill looking over the harbour. The solitary police car on the island spotted our unusual shorts and flip flop appearance and duly questioned our presence. Apparently they personally know everyone on the island so were easy to spot. One of the guys saw that I was from Chester and couldn't hold back his enthusiasm that he too had been there only a few weeks ago. Italian police had a traditional moody appearance to uphold so the uniform clad italian struggled to quickly regain his stern composure.

We wandered to the harbour in the morning and saw a desk with a piece of paper and various images of speed boats for hire. After a quick phone call and the arrival of the daughter of the family business we had our vehicle for the day. I mentioned the golden rule of living in Italy when I first moved here, the combination of one section of society blocking your progress at every opportunity and then the other side with a complete disregard to following the rules. This was one of the beautiful examples of the latter, to let two 21 year old English boys have full control of 140HP speedboat without having to hand over a single document or any kind of money. They had Jonnie's address but compared to the vast amount of health and safety requirements in the UK we couldn't help but think it was too easy to be true.

We spent 6 hours on the boat and did a full circuit of the island. The weather was still great but the combination of it being October and mid week meant that we were practically alone at sea. We spend so much of our lives ticking boxes, even on our moments away from work we put so many obligations on ourselves. Being out there just motoring along was such a freeing, fun time. We had an anchor at the front so we pitched up at an empty beach and swam ashore. The island mostly comprised of dusty cliffs, the occasional intriguing cave and some expansive sandy beaches that were only accessible by boat.

I had some uni things to get back to so it was only a brief visit. Rome fluctuates between being impossible and incredible. I have moved again, I'm now found in a beautiful little studio in the historic centre. Hopefully I will be here for a long term and can make it more of a home as opposed to the last flat which felt like I was merely stopping by.

A dopo.