Tue. Feb 25th, 2020

«I have never made a” selfie “in my travels»

This time, his inexhaustible curiosity and literary passion have brought him back to Italy. In «Italian suite. A trip to Venice, Trieste and Sicily »(Plaza & Janés)Javier Reverte feast on beauty and literature on a route “full of aesthetic sense” in the footsteps of Mann, Joyce, Rilke and Lampedusa. Reverte does not like the plane or the “selfies” and after almost twenty travel books published since the unforgettable «The dream of Africa», he still prefers to travel alone and does not understand life without that need that pushes him to go in Search for the unexpected.

– After a season living in Rome, he returns to Italy. In search of what?

– In search of the beauty that emanates from Italy, which for me is almost a feast of the senses, and also of the stage of some books and writers that I deeply admire: Thomas Mann, Rilke, Joyce and Lampedusa.

– Do you travel in search of something or fleeing from something?

-Both ways. On the one hand we go in search of a dream, that of going to a place that attracts us, and on the other fleeing from boredom and everyday life.

– I am surprised that he is able to feel alone in Venice among the tourist shack.

– I love loneliness. It is always great when it is wanted, not when she looks for you, which is another story that should be called “soledumbre” and it is horrible. But when you look for it it is magnificent. Finding myself alone in front of myself, even if surrounded by people, in an unknown place where I don’t understand the language always has an adventure component.

–To feel free, do you have to travel alone?

–To feel free and to write. If you travel with friends or with your partner, it is very nice, but you are in a bubble. Instead, you are only open to everything and stories and ideas also arise. I just love traveling.

– Is there anything left of the Venice of Thomas Mann?

– Well, yes, of course, because it is a city little altered from the urban point of view in its historic center. It remains the same. Even the hotel where it was reopened. The atmosphere is the same.

– He writes that Venice must be reached by boat and Trieste by train. You don’t like the plane?

– No, but not because I am afraid, but because it is very uncomfortable and I feel a package. And besides, time loses its meaning.

– Recognizes for the first time a certain existential fatigue. Is traveling therapeutic to scare her away?

-Yes. It is therapeutic for everything, it is a good medicine. I have many friends who are entering that age when death is closer than ever and there is a certain tendency to depression and to lock oneself. I recommend the trip as a therapy against depression.

–In this book it goes behind literary footprints. Does literature also walk?

– Literature is an adventure that looks a lot like travel: you go after something you don’t know.

– What is left of Javier Reverte who began to walk along the lost roads of Africa?

–The same curiosity. I still love being alone and I still love the unexpected, what I did not imagine, in short, the adventure.

– Mrs. Africa?

-Yes, but I have been so much and I have written so much about Africa that I believe that I will no longer … I will go once more, I imagine, if I have time and the circumstance, but I do not think I will write about Africa again, now I have written too much.

– He said of China that he would only return to Shanghai. And from Italy?

–To Sicily, especially to the western part.

–Kapuscinski wrote that traveling teaches humility. What else?

– To know yourself more and your limits, to listen to others, teach not to be a nationalist and teach to live, which is not little.

– After so much travel, what is your place in the world?

–I have no specific places. Well, yes, I have one: Valsaín. I go as soon as I can.

– What would you recommend to someone visiting Italy for the first time?

– Of course going to Rome and, above all, not following a very strict program of visits to museums, but letting go in the streets of Rome and its churches. In Italy, beauty is on the street.

– In these times of tyranny of social networks, do you travel with internet connection?

-Nerd. Lately, on the trip I just made to Iran I have taken it to find hotels, but I don’t use it much. I always left it in Madrid, went with a pen and a notebook, and I keep doing it.

– Have you ever made a “selfie” on your travels?

-No, I don’t like anything. I don’t like the word, it should be called “mismis.” It seems to me a total narcissism. What’s the point? One goes very wrong, with a very fat head.

He is a regular press reader and likes to browse several newspapers. «I am in love with paper», he confesses. And on his trips, he usually buys local newspapers, “especially to read curiosities.”


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