The first night we met a civil engineer from Brazil. Aged 30-odd with a kind, round face. We had just arrived, still slightly shocked from the mediterranean sun and on a mission to spend the week relaxing beside the sea. He told us about his boat trip which moored along the coast of this seahorse-shaped island we had found ourselves on. Without knowing our intentions he reminded us that a holiday was not a time to simply lie tanning. It was a time for searching and discovering the extraordinary in the space around you.
Swimming was endless with vast turquoise water spread out toward the horizon. It melts into the sky so that one can’t distinguish between the two. The soft lapping water fools you into thinking you could swim forever. Beneath the soft yellow warmth you can float beside the reflection of clouds. Those clouds brewed that evening and the next morning we woke to a muggy atmosphere.
The ocean now seemed tempestuous and a hike up to the nearby, “nearby” being a thirty minute walk zigzag going straight uphill, village proved to be an idyllic alternative. Fruit seemed to be in abundance, tumbling over fences with eager fingertips outstretched to pluck you as eagerly as you are to pluck them. I made many pinky promises with blackberries who sealed the deal with a kiss. We listened to old silver jewelry, sold surprisingly in an otherwise copy-paste souvenir shop. The silver was tarnished black each with its own character. Separate pieces eventually spoke out to both of us and now hang proudly on our bodies. The third day was not complete without the nutty syrup of a traditional desert lingering on our tongues and a meandering walk back down the long winding road.
The fourth day, a German girl joined us who longed for dark rye bread in face of the white slices offered for dinner. She taught us a card game we already knew and spoke of hiking in a way we didn’t think was possible. A French couple not longer after confirmed that walking for days, all the way to Israel, is not only possible but the journey they were undertaking. I shared with them the rules of the card game quickly becoming an international phenomenon. The French wife wrapped the leftover white bread abandoned by other guests for food on their way. They had bright eyes and seemed to glow when we said goodbye.
An older couple had visited South Africa, our home, in the 1970s. We were thrilled to find a guest who not only knew of our country but didn’t find us so exotic. They were inspiring, after studying to be a chemist he opted out to become an oboeist. With his wife, the pianist, they had traveled to countless countries to play music in orchestras. The stories they could share are a treasure chest waiting to be unlocked. We enjoyed the locally made red wine with them and spoke ceaselessly.
When the heavens cry they do not hide, they sob mercilessly. The sky broke above us while we were sightseeing. The tears drenched the earth, soaking us through shorts and shirt. The three of us ran; we had picked up a blonde young man along the way also staying at the same place as us and hoping to similarly visit the Old Town. Taking breaks beneath the shelter of doorways we eventually made it to a stuffed street-food outlet. They had our homegrown rooibos tea, the only place on the island which seemed to sell it! When the sky had partly cleared we continued walking; a total of 30 000 steps seeking out heritage sites. My favorite being the 500AD temple, taking us far out of the way only to reveal ruins where just a few stones remained.
The two of us were some of the last to leave, people from all corners of the globe coming and going. We watched them for seven days drift in and out. Gifted with a glimpse into a multitude of lives and adventures. The owners of Sunrock watched us all, just another handful over the 39 years of them running the hostel. They are home to the wanderers, the deserters, the curious and the brave.
Thank you for the stay at SunRock Madalena’s- Korfu, Greece 🇬🇷
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