Reprinted from: http://www.appleby.net/feature/elvira.html

A letter from an anonymous guest of Opatija, in spring of 1929, writing to his sweetheart, and capturing Opatija's charm as it has been from the very beginning :-

Abbazia, Spring 1929 

My dearest Elvira! 

......How true is the saying: "shared happiness is double happiness". If you were only with me, we could enjoy this beautiful spring together - sun would be warmer for me, the flowers would have a more appealing scent, and the bird's songs from the tree-tops would sound more musical. 

......This morning I opened my window, which overlooks the sea; soft sapphire which comes from the sea touched my face tenderly. The morning air reaches upwards from the park. The air brings peace, it brings contentment. For us town dwellers it is the only healing substance. I have been here only three days, and already I have committed my various nerve soothing medications to the eternal biosphere, that is to say, I threw them in the rubbish. 

......In Vienna I avoided humanity - here I yearn for companionship. Depression having made way for life appreciation. Before I take breakfast I go for a walk in the park. Oh, how beautiful is the spring in Abbazia! We are coming up for Easter; the lovely festivity, flowers beginning to bud in the fields and in the forests. The evergreens are here, their fresh shoots are greener, somehow trying to compete. 

......Small peasant girls approach me and offer me violets. I buy their small bunches and experience a strange feeling. How many of those flower girls with their violet bunches did I pass on my way to the bank or office! They used to irritate me, those little peasant flower girls with their violets. Now, I enjoy seeing them; I even wish to have a chat with those little "gutter-snipes". How beautiful, how pure those youthful reminders, those magnificent little blue flowers! Witnesses of my hearts desires, my longings suspended in time and pain. How many times did you see me in seventh heaven, and then straightaway thereafter in the inferno's depths! 

......Slowly I am walking towards the Quarnero Cafe. Plants on the way, the agaves, wink kindly towards me and my heart opens up. There is an awakening rose bush full of buds. Ah, even these roses will be cut just for our enjoyment - how cruel humanity is. This budding life must come to an abrupt end for a very short-lived human pleasure. 

......After breakfast I take a walk along the seaside. My gaze immerses itself into the expanse and depth of the sea. The sun is high above Fiume (Rijeka), and beyond the clouds envelop the mountains. It is nine o'clock in the morning. How do I take advantage of my day? I know! - an excursion into the mountains! The sun does not bother me, the heat is not overwhelming - in fact, quite welcome in the beginning. After a quarter of an hour, however, I am forced to discard my overcoat. 

......The path turns back towards the seaside. The brightness of the clear skies, blinding, warming sunlight; only towards the Croatian mountains there is some fogginess to be seen, the rest is bathed in blue, no cloud to be detected. And this all enveloping blue melts with the sea. What a colour combination! golden sunshine, encompassing blue of sky and sea, dark turquoise sea bottom, competing with old evergreens and fresh green shoots . . . no artist's brush could ever capture this on canvas! 

......The mountain top seems very far away and the sunshine's warmth together with the steepness of the path has almost exhausted me. There is a high bush offering shade, below which there is a bench. 

What rejuvenating air to breath, and what invigorating fragrance - above all, what a spellbinding concert from the tree tops! Above my head there is a flower hanging - it is familiar, but I do not know it's name. I have the desire to pick it and adorn my hat with it, but no, I resist the temptation, let it live! 

......Surrounding me is a magnificent, heavenly peace disturbed only by the trembling leaves and bird twitter. I hear music in my heart . . . Schubert . . . "You are the peace" . . . 

......The atmosphere is drenched with hot poetry. It has an irresistible effect on me; I turn into a poetical soul and start to translate a beautiful poem written by the hungarian Tyrtaus Petofis. Here are the results of my efforts:-

Should God ever speak to me so: 
"Now, my son, you are permitted, 
that your death happens as you wish" 
I would lift my head imploringly to the heavens. 

It is autumn, beautiful soft leaves are falling 
yellow foliage, shining sunshine 
in the treetops there should be 
a song a song sung by a bird that misses Lent. 

Equally, as tired autumn sets in 
and death can approach unnoticed, 
so it comes near to me, touches me, 
unobtrusive, so I don't know of it. 

Then, just like on the yellow leaves the bird 
just like that, I sing my good-bye song to the world 
magical, so it touches the bottom of the heart 
and echoes high into the heavens. 

But when the magic song is finished 
a kiss should close my lips 
your hot kiss, you beautiful golden girl 
you, the most beautiful creation in this world. 

Should however God not give me this option, 
then I would like to die in spring 
during a battle in Lent, where roses bud, 
bloody on breasts of fighting men. 

Where the thornbirds sing with enthusiasm 
and the trumpets, shattering all, 
there I should be with a budding rose 
growing deadly from my heart. 

Deadly wounded brought down by a rose, 
a kiss closes my lips, 
your passionate kiss, long awaited freedom 
you, the most beautiful creation in this world. 

I embrace you with love,

Your Walter


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Created: Wednesday, August 11, 1999; Last updated:Tuesday October 02, 2007
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