Photos by Claudia Lundahl

We land in Alghero and the air feels like a warm bath, tepid and gentle, soothing my senses – a corporeal lullaby that triggers an immediate shift in my mindscape. I’ve been here before, several years ago, and my body seems to remember. I feel recognition within me without knowing where it comes from – a body remembers what it has loved.

The drive along the coast down to the village adds to this alteration in my being and enhances it with every inch of space I pass through. My lungs fill with soft salt air and I feel that even the tiniest tendrils of curls along my hairline can sense that something has changed. They quiver in the breeze rushing in from the open window and the tickling of hair on my forehead invites me to surrender myself to my surroundings – to break free. Something barely perceptible has shifted and yet the atmosphere is bursting with gravitas. I am electrified, like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster with that first jolt of harnessed lightning, I am suddenly alive.

The sea comes into view over the cliffs, glittering and impossibly blue, against the deep red clay of the hills freckled with sage green. Plants I recognize pepper the rocky cliff face – oleander and prickly pear cactus are polka-dotted bright and colorful against tufts of rough scrub. The palette of the moment is delicious. I already want to paint. My fingers twitch in my lap. Maybe I even salivate. Colors do this to me, confusing my senses in a flurry of excitement that makes my heart beat rapidly in my chest. Do I want to paint it because I want to own it? Because I’m afraid of losing it? Because I know it won’t last? Is my desire to create art a battle cry against impermanence? I try to exercise patience. As the landscape blurs out of my view, I accept that this I could never possess.

The village comes into view as the switchbacks we have been winding through on the mountain road even out. Like pastel cardboard cutouts, the buildings teeter on the face of the cliff, catching the afternoon sun, an illumination that feels spiritual even though I am not religious and we have only just arrived. The castle at the top of the mountain stands solidly above the buildings and the river below flanked by lush reeds sparkles in blackness as it winds its way toward the sea, crawling home where the current will take it back into the open arms of the vast blue surrounding us to the point of oblivion.

After parking the car under an olive tree on the road that leads up to the castle, next to the cemetery, and dropping our bags at the house where we are staying, we head straight to the beach. It is four o clock, the sun is dipping lower in the sky with each moment that passes. I can feel the change in time by the way the wind is beginning to gather force. As the sun sets, the gales will increase, the mistral blows sand off the dunes as waves crash tempestuously into the volcanic rocks jutting out into the sea. We have an hour – maybe two – and I plan to take full advantage of the Mediterranean.

Claudia Lundahl is a writer from New York who currently lives in London, England. You can find out more by visiting her website at