Playing with fire09.26.09

I was brought up being told every now and then that it was dangerous to play with fire. Well, maybe it is. At least if I play with fire. I can’t know for sure since I have not tested that concept yet. But one of my very first memories is standing in the window one afternoon or late night watching a nearby school burn down. So maybe someone else had tested the concept and found out that it was not such a smart move.

Anyway, I am still a bit amazed whenever I see someone skillfully playing with something I would not dare to do. And doing it in such a manner that they even dare to involve someone from the audience to take part in something which could turn out to be a bit harder than what it looks.

On walking the harbour of Marciana Marina after a nice dinner we saw a crowd standing there in one of the piazzas and we ended up checking it out. Turned out it was Istvan Goldman ‘Goldi’ doing one of his shows. Sadly we only caught the last few seconds of it. But chatting with Goldi he could tell me he would be moving down the seaside walk and do another show a bit later. So the flip below shows the last few seconds of the first of these two shows and the first minutes of the second show. Turns out the Flip-camera does not behave to bad under rather dark conditions even when there are some very bright spots (the flames).

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Climbing 700 meters in less than 15 minutes09.25.09

So we went to Elba (Isola d’Elba) on the Tuscan coast. And with only six days there we had to work hard on the priorities in order to get most of it all in addition to hours on the different beaches. Of course we simply had to visit Napoleon, even though he was away on one of his many excurisons. But that is a totally different story. Except that during the 300 days he was there he spent some nights in a tent halfway up Monte Capanne, the highest mountain on Elba.

Monte Capanne is 1019 meters, and there is a decent footpath going all the way. There is even a decent footpath for hikers going all the way from the east coast of Elba to the west coast bringing you to all the interesting mountain- and hilltops if you’re into that. It’s said that most people would make the hike in three days or less. I, for one, would probably spend the week. And also just climbing Monte Capanne would take too much of my few days of holidays. So we took the easy way out, i.e. we went with the Cabinovia lift.

You could say that lifts are lifts and nothing special about that. I disagree. Time and again since the early sixties I have used Fjellheisen in Tromsoe as an easy start in walking a mountain (ok, more than 10 years since the last time, but that doesn’t mean they need to have such a silly website). And smaller hills/mountains which may be enjoyed by rail like Drachenfels. What makes the Canovia on Elba interesting is the sheer size, or lack of that, of the cabins. Each cabin can carry 2 grown-ups, standing room only. If you add a third person to the cabin you may feel like you’re on the tube in Tokyo. And the cabins themselves are more like baskets with a railing lower than waist height which you easily can open if you like that.

But it is forbidden to open the cabin during the ride. That’s smart. (hah) It’s also forbidden to make the cabin swing. (another hah) That does not cover the swing which lasts for some minutes after you have entered the cabin, a swinging sensation brought to you just from the sheer movement caused by you entering.

That said, riding the Cabinovia is a pleasant experience. Even for those who may have some difficulties with heights. The ride starts softly among the trees, just a few meters above the ground. After a while you climb through to the tops of the trees – all the while the trees getting shorter. Until you get to the bare mountainside.

Halfway through the flip below there is a short scene looking back at where we came from. The base station for Cabinovia is close to the city Marciana at about 300 meters above sea-level. And the city you get a glimpse of all the way down at the beach is Marciana Marina where we stayed in hotel Gabbiano Azzurro Due. The feeling of climbing to the skies was strengthened when a fighter plane passed “just above my head”. They were not looking for me so I made it safely all the way to the top and was greeted by staff for “having made it”. The last few seconds of the flip just pretends to show parts of the scenery which may be enjoyed from the top of Monte Capanne.

There is a bar at the top. But, alas, as we spent every minute until closing-time enjoying the scenery they had closed the bar when we came to to the Cabinovia mountain-station (some 20-30 meters below the top). No birra per me a Monte Capanne. Ma, prosimma volta?! Certo!

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  • the tuscan cat
    I for one believe that Leonardo (da Vinci) was really smart. And I also believe cats are smart creatures. So when I spotted a nice cat sleeping on a scooter carrying "the signature" Leonardo somewhere in beautiful Italy I just had to "shoot".

    For all you non-norwegian readers: older entries are in Norwegian only. Sorry.