> SlowTrav > Italy > Postcards

Postcard - On the Bus to Olbia, Sardinia

Leigh Vincola from MA

At 8:30 the 8:00am bus pulls into Santa Teresa di Galla, a small port town on the island of Sardinia. I am in Italy and the bus is right on time. My destination is Olbia, a much larger town where I will catch a train to the opposite side of the island. There I will explore some more before ending my five month stay in Italy and heading home. I am standing on the street corner refreshed after a few days spent drinking in the Mediterranean landscape. All around me salty turquoise waters roll into thirsty desert and the starkly vegetated mountains beyond.

I cross the street to meet the bus. Out of nowhere it seems, a group of school children appear, and with the help of a handful of teachers and mothers they begin to climb aboard. The children laugh and shriek and the adults attempt to keep order. I am not talking here about a small group of ten or twelve children. No, suddenly I am surrounded by forty or fifty six-year-old Italians. They are taking a field trip today, and dio mio, are they excited.

I stand in line, cutting before a few kids in order to secure a seat on the bus. I do not feel badly about this and when one of the teachers looks at me shaking her head and says, pobre donna (poor woman), I feel validated in my decision but do not dread the ride ahead of me. I love kids, especially little ones who speak Italian. What I do not realize is that amidst the chaos of boarding, all the other passengers choose to wait for the next bus. It would be the school kids and me, packed tightly, riding for two hours down the coast of Sardinia.

Anxious to shed my coat and backpack, I find a seat and settle in. I am surrounded on all sides by beautiful children. Their deep brown eyes and olive skin tell the stories of a nations people completely in love with themselves for thousands of years. The bus starts to move and we are on our way. Looking behind me I make contact with a pair of those enchanted brown beauties. She is a longhaired girl who whispered ciao and blushed as I paid for a couple of oranges at her family's fruit stand on the way to the bus. We exchange smiles of recognitions and she tumbles into giggles with her two best friends. The three of them sit side by side in a two-person seat, their feet dangling dreamily above the floor.

Voices are flying. The voices of Italian children. Names ring out offering a soundtrack to the countryside that passes outside my window. Rafael, Daniella, Tulio, Francesca, and of course, Mama. Songs can be heard from the back of the bus and soon the melody catches on, row by row, until it reaches me about halfway up. And so, there I am, on a public bus, curving through the mountains of this ancient island that is dotted with the crumbling casualties of old stone walls. In my view a Shepard gathers his heard, the Mediterranean Sea stretches out towards North Africa and these children, these brilliant children, have managed to keep a smile on my face for a solid hour.

When they reach their destination, the gaggle of school children and their chaperones, one by one step off the bus. The mothers and teachers wave apologetically at me, as if to say sorry for ruining your ride, now you can really relax. But the children wave as if a heartfelt goodbye is in order. I smile to each of them as they passed my seat.

As the bus driver pulls out and continues on to Olbia, I am the only passenger aboard. It is quiet. But the sound of those voices, each one yelling above the other, will ring in my mind forever.

Leigh teaches writing in the Boston area. She is also an avid traveler, always making plans for her next slow travel.

© Leigh Vincola, 2005

Back to Top

Car Rental Hotel Booking Flight Booking Train Tickets Books, Maps, Events
Europe Cell Phones Long Distance Cards Luggage, etc. Travel Insurance Classifieds

* Advertise on Slow Travel | Post your travel questions on the Slow Travel Forums

Copyright © 2000 - 2014 SlowTrav.com, unless noted otherwise. Slow Travel® is a registered trademark. Contact Slow Travel

RSS Feeds - Link to Us - Terms of Use - Privacy Policy - IB Cookie Policy - Currency Converter - Colophon - Sponsors - Become a Member
Home | Forums | Slow Travel? | Europe Trip Planning | Photos | Trip Reports | Search | About Us | Classifieds