Hi everyone, my name is Archibald Complaints, and I travel the world in search for ugly places. From this perspective, I was really disappointed by the Island of Elba. Here are the 10 things I especially disliked.
1. You may find a sunny weather even in winter
Are you looking for a cloudy, rainy weather? Then the island of Elba is not the destination for you. Over there, a mild and sunny climate persists practically all year round and the chances are low that it gets cold enough to show off my new 5 cm-thick gloves that I couldn’t wait to wear…
2. Food is too good
I left home on a diet and in a perfect shape, but one day, my neighbor let me try a fish stew called “Cacciucco all’elbana”. Now, unfortunately, I can’t stop eating it! They should warn you: Caution, it may cause addiction.
3. Perfect sunsets over the sea
If you hate pictures of sunsets over the sea retouched with filters on social media, stay away from this island! Here, you cannot avoid breathtaking sunsets that need no Photoshop! Now the memory of my mobile phone is full with sunset photos. I am even considering printing and framing some of
4. Long, green trekking sessions
I decide to go for a short walk with my girlfriend and what do I find out? That the island is not only about the sea. We climb a green and fragrant path and it gets even worst: guess what we find behind a grove… an 11th century Romanesque style church! Does this seem normal to you? They don’t even give you time to digest a surprise and … BANG, they throw another one in your face without any warning!
5. Wild – and too empty – beaches
After a long trekking session, we decide to have a swim. We follow the sign to a beach with a bizarre name that someone recommended and have to walk for as long as…10 MINUTES to get there! An exhausting walk to end up in a Caribbean style oasis. Here they are such perfection freaks that they even put a sign to inform how much they care for the environment and for their UNESCO heritage – the Thyerrenian Sea. But no one is there to appreciate my lovely, white and gold bathing suit…
6. Intrusive animals
For the first time in my life, I wake up by an irritating sweet melody, hummed by a robin bird. I even have to get up 5 minutes before the alarm clock rings! Then I look out and what do my tired eyes see? 2 squirrels on the pines right in front of my window. An experience to forget!
7. Impressed – in all senses
I was expecting the usual, bland wine without personality (the local cuisine was enough for me, with its strong and fulfilling flavors). I must say I was hoping for it. What do I get instead? A glass of Ansonica wine. Affectionate, sweet, passionate, deep, harmonious, full-bodied… I cannot believe my taste buds. It’s not the usual lukewarm water. I have to accept it: it’s fabulous for dining, fragrant, enveloping on the palate, and it goes well with all dishes from Elba. Phew!
8. In the mine!
Okay, not that I was expecting hard labor, but I hoped that at least the mines would be as dreary and sooty as my usual mood. And what did I find instead? Sparkling quartzes, magical magnetites, molten metals in the strangest forms … After two hours of non-stop surprises in the
kingdom of Hades, I went around visiting all the mining and geological museums of Elba. An endless discovery. A museum keeper swore he saw me smile … but don’t believe him.
9. Finally in exile
Five things I learned about Napoleon:
1- that he considered Corsica a slightly over-sized Elba;
2- that the end of the exile on Elba was imposed by the British for some speculative construction project: there was a plan to build two horrible buildings for tourists on the foundations of the villas of San Martino and of the Mulini, but luckily the local authority did not issue the permits;
3-that Napoleon’s water spring contains a mysterious element that can stop hair loss – and the emperor knew it well: in fact, some jars of this water were found in Sant’Elena, too;
4- that Napoleon sprinkled salt on food with a small table cannon made of burnished brass. A great man indeed… too bad that he had a passion for bees.
10. Deep down, I might have liked it but…
I know one shouldn’t do it, but I was looking for a just a little shell to take home as a souvenir. Mask, snorkel and fins, I started diving near the reef of (I cannot say the name). No way. All too friendly colored fish, cute blue jellyfish (to keep at a distance), yellow seahorses, a pair of suspicious green turtles, petulant coral red sea anemones… in short: I was breathless (and not just because I was in apnea for almost three minutes) but because I was thrilled. In the end, I didn’t take anything away – I couldn’t have taken anything away – but my eyes are still full of all those colors. Ah yes, the swimsuit is full of white sand now… no place is perfect!
11. Too many surprises all at once
Let me conclude with an anecdote. What I am about to tell you was a shock for me. We went to the so called beach of the Re Litto – which Google translated as King Litto. At first I thought: I did not know that the monarchy was still on the island; then, I decided to take a dive and…what did I find
underwater? A sunken merchant ship that makes a suggestive landmark.
I heard that an Italian underwater photographer took a photo here that won the Grand Prize Nikon Photo Contest.
The island of Elba is full of surprises! That’s unacceptable…