Alghero, Sardinia

FROM ‘MARA, MARIETTA’
Intermezzo 11: Pavlina

Marietta, I’m writing this letter in the arcade of a cloister, sitting at a table of a hotel that once was a convent. I like the spartan tranquillity of this place, the dignity of its Romanesque solidity. I like Alghero, the charm of the medieval city. Two hours ago I was in Olbia, seeing Pavlina off at the airport. She’d written to me when Self-Portrait with Sphinx came out. Czech, she’s doing an MA in European Culture at the University of Konstanz. Wrote a very fine essay inspired by Jan Patočka’s conception of Europe (‘care of the soul is the central theme around which the life plan of Europe crystallized’). It happened to be her birthday when we met; I asked her what present would please her. ‘Some sun’, she said. ‘Well then’, I replied, ‘let’s go to Sardinia!’. And so we did, spending three days together on this island.

She got her sun, she got the white sand and transparent water of Spiaggia della Pelosa…

…cycling the road between Alghero and Bosa, she got green mountain and blue sea.

Photo: Wouter Weerkamp

The second evening, as we savoured fruit-and-almond Vermentino on the lantern-lit terrace of a café, we pursued our conversation begun earlier.