One of the great things about Italy is that it is legal to sleep on the beach (or at least that is what my cousin has told me). The only problem with this is that beaches in Italy get cold at night. When the sun sets the wind blows in from the sea or rolls down off the mountains and pretty soon you are left shivering huddled together wondering why you thought this was a good idea.
Except this time it was different.
It was meticulously planned.
We set off early in the morning (well early by our standards, the reality was it was around 10am) a ragtag bunch weighed with rucksacks of blankets and warm clothes. The train took around an hour and 40 minutes with a further 15 minute taxi before we arrived.
The plan was we were just going to find a sand dune to sleep in dump our stuff there and chill out swimming and sunbathing. When we found that the beach was a natural deposit for a veritable shit-ton of driftwood we had a better idea.
We would build a hut.
Nick and I spent hours dragging gargantuan logs over the beach. The oppressive midday sun beating down on us. Our skin, tanned, bruised, occasionally bloodied and slick with sweat as we worked. Pausing occasionally to cool off in the sweet blue waters of the Mediterranean.
By late afternoon our pile of logs had begun to resemble a crude structure. and we set about collecting smaller pieces of driftwood. Interlocking them to build the wall.
By early evening our crude structure had begun to resemble a hut and we set about draping the outside walls with sheets to further strengthen it against the wind.
And as the sun slipped back into the sea we sat back, lit a fire and rested and drank and talked.
Our hut was warm that night. The heat from the fire radiated through the door (oh yes we even had a door) and the four of us slept. That very deep pure sleep that comes after a day of hard graft. Dreamless, dark soft sleep.
And in the morning we woke to the waves kissing the shore. The gulls lazily circling.
I felt cleansed.