When I travel, it is with a certain preconception in tow. Call me naïve, even foolish, but I do not pack up a bunch of “what ifs”. Business types would say of me that I am averse to considering a critical risk management strategy which, while I can see why they’d think that, is not true. I cross ts and dot an i when necessary. I just don’t go looking for trouble. I simply believe my experience will be grand. Period.
This past week was the first of two for spring break and I headed away with a friend. Now, as many of you know, I am a singleton, a solo unit who lives and travels on her own. And while I might wobble about my unhitched status from time to time, the thought of travelling with another person can actually produce hives. You see, historically, by day three of adventures avec friends or even lovers, I’m ready to see the backside of them and head to the hills on my own. It’s just how it goes. So, finding myself planning a getaway I really, really, really needed with someone else was confusing. Was I tempting fate? Perhaps, but I prefer to say I am readying myself to start telling a new story.
The woman at the centre of all this fate tempting is a new friend. I met her where I work as a tutor and in all these months, I’ve been unable to find fault with her. This is a rare thing for me who, given the chance, would most likely find fault with Mother bloody Teresa. Anywho, because of this unusualness, and the fact that she is a published, award winning author who thought hols would benefit our writing every bit as much as our spirits, I agreed. I mean, getting out of the city sure sounded great to me all by itself, but getting out of the city with a view to writing sounded like a piece of zen.
When she emailed with “Check this out” in the subject line, I excitedly clicked the link and a pale-yellow coloured cottage with French blue trim appeared on my screen. Casa Amore. The name made me giggle, but it was described as, among other things, a writer’s retreat. I was drawn to it. I also knew and liked the island it was on so wrote back “Book it, Chica.” “Done!” came the reply a short time later. We were on!
As expected, the weeks between dragged. The last one was the worst. We were both tired and oh-so-ready to step out of our routines, but the day of our departure finally dawned. Accompanied by bright sun and the warmest temps since last autumn, we set off.
B knew about ferry travel, how to get us there and all, so there was no rushing, no stress. The ride over was smooth and offered up stunning views, the landscape and sea sparkling in the sunshine. Fellow passengers shed their winter jackets to catch some rays on the outside decks, and a woman sitting beside us remarked about our laughter, how she liked hearing it. Yep, we were unwinding fast.
It was 2 PM when we rolled into the largest village on the island. Check-in wasn’t till 3 o’clock so we stopped and wandered around some pretty stores before heading to buy a few groceries. The last thing we purchased was the piece de resistance, champagne.
About 4 PM, give or take, we rolled up parking, per instructions, in a kind of layby in front of Casa Amore. We found our way in via the wrong gate (found the correct one once inside the yard) and checked the front door. It was open as promised so we unloaded the car and got a little bit settled before taking it all in. There was a lot to take in.
Art filled walls, books filled shelves, and kitsch filled in the middle bits. As an homage to its name, the paintings, prints, and sculptures were mostly nudes. They weren’t just any nudes, though. They were replications of classics by the likes of Klimt, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt to name but three. We discovered Mona Lisa behind a glass door and talked about moving her to a spot where we could see her more easily. In the end, we left her. She seemed content where she was, which might have had something to do with music. The little sitting room she watched over was chockablock with record albums.
There was nothing chic or polished about this quirky home piecemealed together with wood, stone, and glass. Still, it vibrated an undeniable warmth and provided modern conveniences with one exception; there was no shower. But the kitchen was well stocked, the furniture comfortable, and the linens fresh. During our stay we would remark often about the eclectic, almost eccentric design elements of the place. It all worked somehow, though, right down to the tub.
Outside, opposite the indoor bathroom’s tub, sat a shiny white clawfoot bathtub. It sat atop a wooden deck between two wooden screens. I never quite figured out the reason for the screens. They didn’t offer any privacy. There was no privacy, at all, in fact. None. It seemed a strange feature to us, but the reviews raved about the “tub”. We didn’t quite get it until one day midweek.
I opted to wash my hair outside because that tub sat up high and had a faucet that could be pulled out like the ones at kitchen sinks. Things were progressing well until, out of the blue, I wanted to put the stopper in and hop in. I can only explain that by some kind of telepathic exchange from who knows who, I suddenly understood why people wrote about enjoying it so much. I wrapped my hair up and walked in to tell B that I had come to an extraordinary conclusion.
“There’s something about that tub.” I told her. “I could feel it calling me. It is really hot out there in that spot. I imagined myself laying back in lavender scented water, completely relaxed.” We laughed, but agreed that, for sure, this place was very special.
The week passed with lots of laughter, insights into island life, good food, and fun. And yes, work was done. But the highlight had to be our unexpected nightly rendezvous with none other than the grande celestial dame herself, Bella Luna. This is what B calls the moon. We saw her shortly after our arrival, in fact, while still light outside, and learned something surprising. We were away to this place during the final supermoon of 2019 occurring in conjunction with Spring’s equinox. A rare stellar happening. But, here’s the extra astonishing part. We had cloudless skies the entire week. Anyone familiar with springtime out here knows how rare that is. Each day the sun greeted us and each night Bella Luna did the same, shining clear and bright. Best of all, our location let us see every graceful move she made. From horizon’s edge we watched her ascend over our deck illuminating everything around us. Gradually, she arced across our little cottage, filling the skylights one by one, before disappearing into the dawn. Heavenly entertainment. Nature’s magic.
There is more I want to write about my week away. There is also more to say about telling new stories. But, ending here might be wise. You, dear reader, could be short on time or worse, bored. This is, after all, a rather long post – different from the norm. Maybe I could sequel the experience, talk about the hippies, the seekers and wanderers, the aloof residents, in shorter pieces. Not sure. So, for now, how be I finish with “To be continued… “.
My wish is that you take a moment to rest your weary soul in the warmth of the sun, the glow of the moon, and the bosom of Mother Nature.