Sunday, 4 May 2014

Two days, two countries

Not to generalise or anything, but usually when you tell people you are going on vacation to the Mediterranean, they imagine you coming home all sunburned and with several hours' worth of slideshow material to bore them with, when all they really did was be polite and ask you how your holiday was.

My story is a bit different. Mostly it involves bad weather and getting lost. I covered bad weather in my previous post. But did you know that the weather did actually get better for one day? Yeah! I even tried to go for a long run.

J and I set off before the sun had climbed so high on the horizon that it might pose a heat problem, but we needn't have worried because an hour later the problem we were facing was of a different nature altogether.

But first things first.

Think: Pine trees. Dry, almost red earth, powder beneath your feet. Clear blue skies. Breathtaking views of the sea.

Think: Salt. Weaver's broom flowers flooding your senses with yellow colour and such a powerful, dizzying aroma that it almost makes you faint.

Think: Healthy legs, all the time in the world, all the dirt roads in the world.

And then, a wrong turn, blue skies turning black, the threat of thunder while you're lost on top of a hill. A part of me wants to go on exploring, another is trying to listen to reason and head for lower ground. Reason wins this round and we find a road back down to the sea. 

Clouds are starting to gather on the left...

This road is not so much a road as it is steep, washed off rock alternating with loose earth, and soon enough my mood is great again. I let my legs relax and carry me downhill as fast as they want, my eyes darting from left to right and then back to left again, to make sure I don't miss a step and go flying instead. Running on a tough trail, with the Mediterranean in the background fighting for your attention, it's easy to make mistakes. Yet somehow I make it down in one piece, J not far behind me, and the first thing I do is let the cool sea water splash against my calves and thighs because I just know that they are going to be screaming tomorrow.

The threat of thunder went off scaring people some place else, I was disappointed that my attempt at a long run was only about 12 km long, but my legs were cooled down and I was happy.

Two days later, I was running on a different hill far from the sea, spectacular in its own way, with endless vistas, both rural and urban. The same evening we took a flight to Stockholm and then spent the night tossing and turning in the airport.

Airport fact number one: If someone sees you trying to sleep, they'll walk as close to you as possible and talk as loudly as possible.
Airport fact number two: Those cleaning machines that airport staff drive around in? They seem to find the floor around you particularly dirty - if you are trying to sleep.

This morning I woke up in a different country than the one I woke up in yesterday. This one is a stubbornly cold country struggling to be prepared for the summer season that is racing towards it. Yesterday's country was struggling too, to achieve season appropriate temperatures, shake all that water from its wings and take off. Europe seems to be in suspended animation right now.

But guess what. I got to go for a swim. It consisted of me easing into a much colder sea than the one that had splashed against my run-warm legs, throwing my arms around trying to make it look like I was swimming while in reality mostly trying to survive death by exposure to freezing temperatures, and then twenty seconds later running out of the sea to wrap myself in a warm towel. Let the summer begin.

No comments:

Post a Comment