After more cappuccinos and hot chocolate croissants, Justine, Barry and I headed to the beach for our first day of classes. I was teaching Greenland rolling, and Justine and Barry were teaching “Fun and Balance.” It was wonderful to work with Tatiana Cappucci, an Italian woman woman with a talent for Greenland rolling and instruction. Tatiana was kind enough to translate for me, and I realized once again (this happens to me often), that it is somewhat pathetic that I am only fluent in one language, when most people in Italy speak two or three.
Gravita’ Zero, an Italian outfitter, lent me a Tahe Marine Greenland to use for the classes. Tahe Marine sponsors me, and it was nice to use a kayak that I was familiar with. The students were wonderful, and despite the language barrier and the intermittent thunderstorms, all of us were laughing and having a wonderful time in the water.
After the classes we headed to lunch. The food in Italy is wonderful and unique, and a very tasty but unexpected combination that I especially enjoyed was cheese with honey poured over the top. None of us were scheduled to teach in the afternoon, so we came back to the hotel for a little rest before Justine and Barry’s slideshow presentation on a circumnavigation of New Zealand’s South Island.
The following day I had a another Greenland rolling clinic in the morning. I spent the afternoon exploring the town and decided then and there that I want to study Italian. It was somewhat of an adventure to find an ATM machine, sunblock and postcards, and it was days later before I found stamps so that I could mail them. The thunderstorms were still rumbling in the distance, but nobody at the event was bothered by the flashes of light and the loud rumbling filling the air. That evening I did a slideshow presentation on the Greenland National Kayaking Championship, which I attended in 2008. I had never had a translator for a presentation before, but Gianfranko Liotta made it very easy for me, keeping the humor light and the audience captivated.
The following day was a race. I opted out of competing and instead decided to hike along the volcanic headlands to find a high spot overlooking the sea to watch the competitors charge between the islands. The clouds were starting to clear, and the beautiful scenery was mesmerizing with the sparkle of the late morning sun. When the first racers came back into sight, I made my way along the rocky hillside to watch the finish. Eugenio Viviani soon crossed the finish line, exhausted but with a huge smile on his face.
That evening Tatiana and I did a Greenland rolling demonstration in the swimming pool at the hotel before heading to a restaurant for more slideshows and another fantastic meal. The symposium was coming to an end, and the following day a four day tour of the islands would begin.
To be continued…