On Holidays

This postcard was written in the summer of ‘21, and sent out in the winter of ‘24. Lived in Dutch, written in English. 
Saturday morning, gazing at the flip flops worn by the woman next in line. Her nails match the colour and structure of the plastic strip that seperates her toes. The boy who is about to put a stick in my nose promises to be gentle. He didn’t lie.

Sunday morning, figuring out where the line begins and ends. A boy who wears the hotel uniform seems happy to see us. He points at the different type of jams, and calls them all by name. We nod in admiration. 

Sunday afternoon, waiting for a beer on top of the Sacro Monte di Varese. We passed fourteen chapels on our way there, all dedicated to the mysteries of the life of Christ. I stretch my legs and praise my hiking shoes—Jesus had to do without.
Varese, Italy
vintage postcard
Monday morning, inspecting a red painting that mimics the fabric of the sofa underneath. It's painted on sandstone, we learn from a British retiree who guides us. He settled in Varese because of the gentle weather and real estate prizes, but still hopes to die under the Tuscan sun. 

Tuesday morning, following a path that is flushed away by rainfall. We descend in silence, in respect of the warning signs that surround us. I try to say something about the violence of it all, but my words are buried in the noise of the waterfall. A girl tries to pose on a wet boulder, her body bending like the letter C.  

Tuesday afternoon, slowly circling around one of the Great Lakes, I decide to navigate us to a ski lift that could take us up the mountain. We’re stopped by red/white barrier tape. A smudged a4 sheet informs us that one of the lifts fell down a few months back, killing everyone in it. We remain seated.
Alfonso Fratteggiani’s Red Painting
Villa Panza, Varese
Wednesday morning, waiting for our coffee in the living room of a once glorious hotel. We share the table with a German sculptor. After talking about the cat who sleeps on the chair that separates us, she solemnly declares the end of democracy. I take a bite of my sugary croissant and tell her we do like sculptures.

Wednesday afternoon, hiding in the shadow of the hills, overlooking another lake. We see a white van driving downhill, backwards. Dua Lipa’s Levitating blares through an open window, blending with the sounds of cow bells. Pimpa, the fat golden retriever who is supposed to protect us from harm, sighs.

Thursday night, listening to the muffled voices of two German couples sharing a room across the hallway. They all sing. One of the women takes her phone calls in the middle of the night, endlessly repeating the word “Ja” in a shrill voice. I wonder what she's saying yes to. I dream of The Handmaid's Tale.
Villa Adriana, Varese
booking.com photo
Friday morning, climbing a mountain top, 2360m above sea level. We run into a man who carries a sleeping kid on his back while giving us a faint smile, a group of men who yell “ciao!” while riding their bikes off the steep path, and a man who takes a sprint up the mountain while producing the sound of a snorting horse. 

Friday evening, sharing a €4,- pizza around a white plastic table. It's the best one we had so far. A Dutch family is seated next to us, asking for more and more ketchup. We try to disguise our own nationality by ordering in Italian. The waiter switches to French. I smile.

Lago d’Idro 
Vintage postcard