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E + 12 : Trespassing and Breaking in

The rolling hills of Calabria

We did not see much of Crotone yesterday. It was already evening when we arrived. We managed to go for a walk on the sea side boulevard, which was full of people of every age. Some went out for a drinks, others to watch a beach football game and a few were listening to a street band playing 1980s pop music. Summer evenings at the sea are always magic. No wonder every coastal town builds a promenade.

Outside Crotone's South Harbour last Night

During the night, the wind freshened up. At 3 pm the sea became bumpy and high waves woke us up. We had anchored just outside the old harbor on Crotone’s south side – the port was too shallow for the AFAET. The strong swell from further out could reach us.

By 6 am it was coffee time. There was no point of staying in bed. The sun rose beautifully over the sea, the first sounds of awakening Crotone crossed the waters. We could see the delivery trucks with fresh fruits and vegetables coming into town. Departure was set for 10 am so we went to visit the old, Spanish town, the former Acropolis. At the foot of the Renaissance town walls there was the Fresh Market. We had to restrain ourselves from buying everything. Aubergines, red peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, onions - all were just 1 EUR a kilo. There were also fresh apricots, peaches, cherries, blue and yellow plums, grapes and of course the giant red Tropea onions. It was almost overwhelming. We moved to the fish market and settled for clams for linguine vongole tonight and tiger prawns instead.

Crotone's fresh vegetable market below the giant town walls - every veggie was 1 Euro/kilo

We settled for Scampi and Vongole instead

The plan for today was to sail to the ancient towns of Sibari and Thurii – about 65 miles to the north. The strong winds had stirred up the water though – we had to slow down and were forced to use the engine for most of the time. The wind was head on. But time is on our side. We are under no pressure to arrive tonight. Maybe we sail additional two hours after dinner. Or tomorrow morning. We will see.

The Calabrian Hills are ideal for Barley and Durum Wheat - the Greek noticed immediately

Sailing a full day along the Calabrian coast is a must for understanding how this part of Italy works. Calabria's sand and pebble beaches never end. Most of them are empty. There is occasionally a beach club where noisy animators try to lure people out of their deck chairs. But often there is just one single family sitting under an umbrella, their car parked on the road above, cooling boxes, a small table and folding chairs to the ready, their noisy children screaming in the water. It is idyllic. The continuously moving sand of the beaches was a head ache for the Greek though. Without constant dredging, their ports silted. This is where their ingenuity and the fertility of the land fused. Magna Graecia was not just discovered – it was created. This delicate balance was and is always present.

Calabria's endless Beaches are endless indeed

Not only the beaches but also the rolling yellow hills between continue for hours. As do the mountains to the back. Almost motionless and quiet, were it not for the local train that runs clonking along the coast. I can imagine how the Greek marveled at this landscape when they saw it first. Used to steep mountains and narrow fields at home, they immediately got the potential of Calabria. With the durum and barley fields already yellow, it is easy to imagine the picture of Greek working in the fields with sickles and rakes. Harvesting day was one of the most important events in their calendar. Today’s fields are empty. A single tractor can do all the work today.

The "Saracen" Inn we discovered - looks almost too pretty to be real

We stopped for lunch after Ciro Marina and trespassed into a modern lounge which claimed to be the site of an ancient Saracen Inn. The stalls looked right but their arrangement was weird. Usually an Inn is arranged around a central square. Our modern stock exchanges are copies of Inn’s. Have a look to the Royal Exchange in London. You find the ancient design, including central square and side stalls.

The "Inn" terrace is now a cool lounge bar for people who flock here for the sunset

The stalls here were arranged in parallel though and in perfect shape. Given that Spain suspended all trading with Muslims in 1492, it is unlikely that they survived so well preserved. Since the Inn was closed and would not open until 19.00 h, we could not find out. We returned to the boat, crossing “illegally” the single railway track again – just a minute before the old, clonking train passed by again. Down on the beach, our tender was waiting. We are actually getting better in boarding it. Nobody got wet today.

Can you spot the lone fishing boat far out in the middle

of the photo - you may have to zoom in

Dinner was on the way whilst floating on the sea – we switched off the engine and drifted for two hours on the flat sea. Horizon and sky were fusing in the evening light. It was almost impossible to say where one started and the other ended. The lone fishing boat far out seemed to be floating in the sky. It was so peaceful. The moon rose – we could clearly see the Sea of Tranquility where Louis Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed in 1969 and swapped stories of where we at the time of the landing – I still remember the restaurant in the vineyards high above Lake Geneva my parents took my brother and me to – we were allowed to stay up all night to watch the landing live! What a treat!

Linguine Vongole tonight - the clams were alive this morning!

By 11 pm we reached at Sibari – as in most of the cases, the Marina is too shallow for the AFAET – we will have to anchor in the open sea again.

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