Pelizzari: Chocolate cake for me
Finally free after a horrific 20 months in captivity in Somalia, one of the first things Bruno Pelizzari did was eat chocolate cake.
Pelizzari, who holds South African and Italian passports, and his South African girlfriend, Debbie Calitz, were freed in a raid by Italian and Somali forces in the Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on Wednesday night.
They were kidnapped while sailing on the yacht Choizil off the coast of Tanzania n October 2010.
The yacht's captain, Peter Eldridge, evaded capture by refusing to leave his boat, despite being severely beaten.
After their rescue the two were flown from Mogadishu to Djibouti and then on to Rome, where Pelizzari's 83-year-old mother was waiting for them.
On their first weekend of freedom, Pelizzari and Calitz relished Italian food and wine with Pelizzari's mother and his sister, Vera Hecht.
According to Hecht, Pelizzari is still getting used to being able to make coffee whenever he wants to.
"He keeps saying: 'This is so nice. I can get up and make coffee whenever I feel like it'," she said.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Pelizzari said little about the ordeal, preferring to reiterate his gratitude for his freedom.
"I feel fantastic. It's really good to be free. I'm overwhelmed by the support."
The few words Pelizzari spoke about his time as a captive painted a picture of deprivation and suffering. During his captivity, Pelizzari dreamed of chocolate cake.
"There are no desserts in captivity," he said.
The couple had their first cup of tea as hostages after eight months.
"It tasted like liquor," he said.
Pelizzari gave very few details about the rescue, saying he had been asked to keep quiet in order not "to put people's lives in danger".
Asked if they knew they would be freed, he said: "No, not really."
He said they had experienced "life-threatening situations" but added that it could have been "a whole lot worse".