The title of this blog post is a palindrome my Mom used to say to me when I was a kid. You can write the phrase backward or forward and it will spell the same thing. So when an acquaintance of ours told us Elba was the place to swim in the ocean and that it was nearby, I was completely on board.
Get it..."on board".
"Haha. Good one, Mommy!"
Florence to Elba is only a short train, bus, ferry, and rental car ride away. But the views make the time go by very quickly.
I want to put a little side note here. We encountered so many helpful people on our trip to Elba. They recognized we were unsure of how to get to our destination and went out of their way to help us along. One woman helped us navigate the train and bus connections. Then at the bus station, a man and his dog (the dog didn't help much, but was sweet anyhow) told us when the bus was coming, how to buy ferry tickets, and the best modes of transportation on the island. Another gentlemen helped Travis and I carry the stroller off the ferry, down three flights of stairs. At the car rental office, an elderly woman spent half and hour explaining to us, in Italian, how to put the car seat in the backseat. She ended up doing most of the work, but was so patient and earnest in her desire to help us. We made it to Elba by various modes of transportation, but mostly we made the trip through the kindness of strangers.
We finally arrived at our (semi) all-inclusive hotel in the village of Lacona on the southern part of the island. It was a beautiful, ecologically friendly hotel located in a reserve. The people were very friendly. The seafood they served was delicious. The best parts, though, were the view from our room and the hotel's private beach.
The island has a long history. It was used by the Etruscans to mine iron ore. Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to Elba for a brief period of time (Not much of a punishment in my opinion). The Medici built a fort on the island to guard the sea. So many historical places to see. All of them important. We saw none of them. Sun and fun was on the agenda.
The beaches on Elba are made up of (mostly) small pebbles and larger rocks. Once we convinced Willa that rocks are not edible, despite how pretty they are, she had fun playing in the "sand".
The rocks are hard on your feet, but the lack of sand keeps the water crystal clear. I kayaked a few hundred yards from shore and could still see strait down to the sea floor.
The water is so beautiful and so clean that it's easy to forget that it's still saltwater. When you get out of the water, you still have that sticky feeling all over (without the sand in every crack and crevice). So it was nice that the hotel had a beautiful pool to finish the day in.
We did make one small trip to Porto Azzurro for dinner and to visit that nice man and his dog, who was a shopkeeper in the town (the man, not the dog). I don't have many pictures, but here is a nice one as you drive down the mountain and toward the port.
One day we'll go back to Elba and see the historical sites and visit more of the beaches. My Nana told me that we should leave some things unfinished so that we have to come back again. Elba and it's history are one of things we'll need to come back to. On this trip though, the beach was all we needed.