Calabria has always stood still in some villages. This is the reason why it is so unique, but during the coronavirus lockdown, it was a different stillness. An eerie-like feeling to hardly see anyone around. A period where people have to stay at home (for obvious reasons). It is so quiet here that you can hear a pin drop. If the scenery was beautiful before the lockdown, then somehow, it was even more so than ever. The sea is so calm except for when the dolphins come close to the shore. They play with other sea-creatures wondering why all of a sudden, it has become so incredibly quiet.
There is no one to be seen like time really has stopped. This is a proper lockdown. Everything seems so surreal. Where are the occasional walkers who regularly walk their dogs? There are those who breathe in the sea air sitting on a bench. People admiring the turquoise-emerald green waters, kids playing and laughing, entire families enjoying their Sunday ritual walk along the promenade. They are all at home, and for good reason, including myself.
The coast is far, the beach is out of reach and all you can do is think about how wonderful that stretch of nature really is. This is when you fully appreciate what you had and only wonder how long it is going to be before you can enter that piece of paradise again. Calabrian coastlines such as the Viola Coast, Coast of Gods, Jasmine Coast, Cedro Coast and Coast of the Oranges are paradise. For most of the summer starting from May to October (except July and August) you can have the beach to yourself or perhaps with a few bathers. During this lockdown, it was not possible to go to the beach. Read more about lockdown here.
To relax on one of these beaches is another experience. Having spent many summer days on different beaches in other parts of Southern Italy, I was pleasantly surprised to find very few people on the beach. Swimming in the sea along these coastlines is a joy. Besides transparent clear water, the scenery is breathtaking.
All the stunning landscapes surrounding me as I swim. The sun turning my skin to golden-brown and hearing the sound of the waves seems like a distant memory and the idea of living it all again seems far. And yet… it might just be round the corner for many of us. It is only a matter of WHEN “in these darkest days”.
The tranquillity of Calabria
Seeing people in the squares drinking coffee in pavement cafes, going to church is only a matter of time. When I see the emptiness of some of the squares in Italy, I look around Calabria virtually and really, I don’t see much of a difference here.
Calabrian villages are always quiet. With 2 million people spread out all over the region and people who have left their villages, It is like this every evening when the shops close at 8pm. It is always quiet except for the summer in July and August when the whole of Calabria comes alive.
This is why Calabria is a haven for nature and tranquillity. If you are looking for a peaceful holiday with paradise beaches and plenty of sunshine, you will find it in Calabria.
The supermarket and lockdown in Calabria
The only way you can look (that is all you can do) at the beautiful square, streets, green parks, bright blue sky, etc… is on your way to the most important place, the supermarket. Desperate to get these all important essentials, I noticed going around the supermarket that it is not easy to find ingredients such as flour and yeast. The most sought after items as Calabrians take to making their own bread.
Calabrians have always done home-cooking and make their own bread, but during the coronavirus, these items were no where to be found. This meant that more and more people were making their own bread. I also learnt through skype calls that many people are baking and eating more than usual. For some Calabrian families, every day now is like a Sunday lunch with the exception of having no relatives, close friends, perhaps fewer family members or even completely alone.
Neighbours shout hello from their balconies and quickly disappear inside their homes. Calabrian people are really respecting the rules. The coronavirus cases in Calabria are very few compared to other parts of Italy. There is hardly a soul in sight. They are all at home waiting for the day just like myself to leave the house. They are looking forward to enjoying their beautiful Calabria, its nature, beaches, landscapes and pleasant climate, their beautiful country Italy. You can read about what happened after the lockdown here.