Despite over a year of living with Covid (or hiding away from Covid), we’re all still up in the air about what the future is going to bring. What’s the right thing to do? Should we be in Australian-esque-style lockdowns, or should we be celebrating Freedom Day? The government has an opinion, the scientists have an opinion and the people have an opinion… they don’t always agree, and no one really knows who’s right… if a ‘right’ actually exists.
In Austria, following the removal of almost all our measures in early July, our numbers are steadily increasing again, which is hardly surprising. So what do we do now? Half the population is already vaccinated, yet Delta is threatening to plunge us back into chaos.
I tell you what we do. We get in the car and we drive to Italy.
The water, and especially the ocean, was a big part of my childhood in Australia. I learnt to swim very young, as a teenager I sailed, and most of my t-shirt collection still advertises the various ocean swims I have participated in over the years. It’s now been 18 months since I was in Australia, and there’s no relief in sight on that front. But the trip I took to Italy last year went a long way in lifting my spirits, so in 2021 I was adamant I would get to the coast, smell the salt air and dip at least part of my body into the ocean. I could do that much. So I signed up for my vaccine, I patiently waited my turn, and I got my EU-certified pass to allow travel.
And with Covid cases steadily climbing, I figured it was now or never. We hustled in the car and off we went to Italy. Initially we considered a few days in Lignano (where we usually go), but unlike last year where most people were nervous about travelling to Italy in summer, this year is another story and it’s absolutely teeming with crowds. So instead, we opted for Hotel Riviera & Maximilian, a 5-10 minute drive out of Trieste. Perched atop of the rocks and with its own private beach, meant crowds were non-existent. Our apartment was big enough if the weather turned, but we were still within walking distance of a good meal.
It was bliss. The weather was a little muggy and overcast at times, but it didn’t bother us. We soaked up the sun, we walked along the promenade, we ate Italian food and we floated around in the ocean.
After checkout on the Sunday morning we headed down to the beach to say goodbye to the ocean. And I promptly burst into tears at the edge of the water. Apparently, not knowing when I was going to be able to get back to the ocean brought the homesickness straight up and out of my eyes.
But I felt rejuvenated. So after my little cry, we got in the car and drove back to Austria. And it was nice to be home.
Look, I will be happier if my planned trips to Italy and Croatia in September go ahead, but for now I’m just glad that I could get to the coast at all, for a little breath of salt air, and a nostalgic reminder of home.