After one week away from the ocean my gills begin to close over and I hanker to be saturated by salt water and sea breeze. I had crossed Sicily from east to west on public transport, and was ready to dump my bag for a few days and avoid more hot hours at dubious road side bus stops in the less appealing parts of town. I decided to visit the Egadi Islands off the coast of Trapani, and was recommended a place to stay by a wwoofing host. "Call Antonia, she has a room to rent and there is nothing between your door and the ocean." Sold, to the woman in the floppy hat.
I rang Antonia and was met with a giggle and definite "no" when I asked "do you speak English?" With my stuttering Italian I managed to reserve a room and relay my arrival details, then with a gelato and macchiato in hand I envisaged my balcony overlooking the turquoise water.
Once the small group of disembarking passengers had dispersed I was left on the wharf with one man. "Antonia?" he asked. I had forgotten to give them my name, so his wife's name was the best way to connect. She had gone to hospital with a broken arm and left her husband, Pietro, to collect the wandering Australian. I followed him on foot through the single paved street, almost levitating with joy at the charming village. It was one of those peak moments that eclipse the long waits beside a rubbish bin in 40 degree heat. We got to his car and I thought we must be going to another beach or village, so was intrigued when we drove along the island's only road into the rocky interior. We pulled up at a house miles from the sea and I had a brief thought, am I being abducted? I was shown to my room, a neat vintage caravan with a kitchenette and a bathroom so small I had to sit on the toilet sideways. From the patio were distant ocean views. I think the beach side room must have been occupied, or I misinterpreted the description, but I was happy in my curious lodging.
Pietro launched into the grand tour with detailed instructions in animated Italian about the water, power and cats, most of which I understood through common sense, and I nodded and smiled and answered with an enthusiastic "si, si". I could have agreed to sleep with him and his mates, such was the limit of my language. When Pietro was satisfied I was comfortable in my new digs and wasn't going to break anything, he disappeared into one of the many rooms on the property, appearing soon after with a box of tampons. I speculated they were from a previous guest and he was asking if I needed any. Not right at this moment, thank you for offering.
The next morning a smiling Pietro brought three plump figs for breakfast, and a translator. His foremost question was "how the hell did you end up here?"