Bulgarian roses16 May, 2019
Spain, May 14, 2019
On Saturday evening we received an unexpected message from a Bulgarian couple that was looking for a place to sleep for one night the next day. They were supposed to land in Alicante and had found our resort on the internet. Despite the fact that we only open on June 15 to receive guests, we still got the jitters to receive them. Especially since it was clearly about naturism, and the lady was a bit shy to be naked in public. Because our concept is clearly also aimed at accessibility, also for people who are clearly exploring their limits if naturism also works for them. This triggered us much more to answer their question positively. We clearly indicated that the domain and the houses were not yet 100% guest-proof and that cleaning the garden and a bit painting work still had to be done. This didn’t seem to be a problem, we could expect them Sunday after lunch. They also enjoyed the fact that they could join us for dinner and breakfast, even if it was just the home made kitchen.
Of course we wanted to give a great welcome and get everything in order that was possible. At 6 o’clock in the morning we started with the preparations, ranging from cleaning the swimming pool, vacuuming (yes, yes!) From the lying area around the swimming pool, spraying the terrace with the high-pressure cleaner to tidying up the villa and the bathroom. Wim was particularly responsible for the heavy cleaning work. I had quite a bit to cook, but I also wanted them to have enough drinks and an appetizer with a snack and of course a dessert. Fortunately the neighbourhood shop was open where I could still purchase the necessary items.
The villa also had to be further decorated, so they quickly started looking for a frame and some nice things for the cupboard. I went looking for a nice fresh flower in the garden to finish it all up and even quickly put together a mood lamp.
Completely according to agreement, they informed us well in advance when they would be there, and at 3 pm we received a message that they were at the gate. We went to meet them with a hammam cloth, full of expectation and full of curiosity about our first guests. A broadly smiling, tanned man with big happy eyes and a smaller lady who seemed somewhat shy, met us. We welcomed them and asked about their journey. For a moment we doubted whether we could give a kiss or not, and it seemed as if they also doubted, but we just didn’t do it. Dima in particular seemed very impressed by the domain and the tranquility. Apparently it had been very busy on the beach in Alicante, as always on Sundays, and you just saw them both breathing in when they noticed how quiet it was here. The birds happily blew their song, the peacock screamed somewhere deeply away, the pigeons from the neighbourhood raced, and the wind made its typical sound in the palm leaves. The sun was shining exuberantly and made the couple shine even more. From the moment they climbed the first slope, they turned in wonder to the beautiful view of the mountain, the city, and the sea in the distance.
We proudly led them through the garden to the smallest villa close to the highest pool. When looking at the clear water, the sun beds, the hammocks and the clear blue parasol, it seemed as if Dima suddenly became a child who discovered his presents from Saint Nicholas. He radiated enthusiasm, his whole face expressing only wonder and impatience. He clearly couldn’t wait to go into the water. Rarely seen such a talking face as his. It immediately made you happy yourself. I felt a hint of pride, because this was our domain. This is the response that makes us so happy that people, guests, see what we see.
In the meantime, Radi continued to absorb everything, a little timid, but I assumed she just needed some time, so we gave it to her too. They also liked the house, especially when they saw the gift and the welcome card. They promptly took out a gift themselves. A true Bulgarian Brandy, a specialty that you should drink very cold. We did not expect this at all, and we gratefully accepted it with the promise to drink it only with “good and nice people like them”.
We also wanted to give them as much freedom as possible and withdrew and asked if Radi thought it was okay for us to swim as well a little later. It was great to see how they were both enjoying the hammock after just a few minutes. I never expected that I would enjoy so very hard myself, seeing someone else enjoying. And especially because I am well aware that we gave them that opportunity.
I had bought a pizza stone the week before to make pizza on the bbq and had already planned to try it out that Sunday evening. I imposed unnecessary stress on myself by wanting to do this, despite strange eyes, and especially with our first guests. But, on the other hand, I also and especially want to tell our guests that we are just who we are, do our best, and that the most important thing is that they feel good and feel at home. And how can you feel more at home than someone experimenting in the kitchen? Strangely enough, I was very comfortable, and I had no feeling of stress. This was mainly due to the fact that I had prepared everything well by preparing my ingredients and by the open attitude of the couple who even asked if they could help. I had conceived the idea of doing a little live cooking in the outdoor kitchen on the communal terrace during the aperitif, as it could be done in our setup. This was a good test, I thought.
The beaming couple arrived very relaxed, and Radi started telling and asking questions.
She seemed completely at ease and apparently the naked swimming and sunbathing was better than expected. They were both impressed again by the surroundings and the accommodation, and contrary to what I thought, they did not sit down at the table, but remained cozy with me. It was as if we were friends among each other, so very ordinary, so very natural. It gave us a great feeling. Everything was possible, and everything was allowed, not only for the guests, but also for us. And that is a very nice feeling. I could honestly say that this was the first time that I would make pizza this way, and that it was not certain whether I would succeed. They made no point at all, more so, it was what it was. Even when my pizza dough stuck to my preparation plate and had to be broken into pieces on the bbq, they found this completely ok, and especially normal. So I didn’t have to worry. To celebrate that they were the first guests, a bottle of Cava was opened and we toasted on our project.
It was a wonderful, honest evening, full of laughter, talking, among friends. Wim also enjoyed himself so visibly, was fully talking and laughing, as if we never did anything else when guests received. This was proof of what we always knew; we are a top duo, fully aligned, and this is reserved for us. We got to know a new world, from the former communism in which they both lived as children, from the new liberties they had since the European Union, a unique story of unique and wonderful people.
Extra souvenirs were even brought out. I wondered if they had a whole suitcase of souvenirs with them and if they did that at every accommodation. Every gift had its story.
And Dimo and Radi talked with passion about their typical Bulgarian customs and riches of the country. Now it was my turn to become the child who was waiting for Saint Nicholas. We received special herbs and handmade soap from real rose petals. It smelled delicious! The scent of the Bulgarian roses will always remind me of our first guests, our new friends … I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to meet people who express positive energy, who enjoy each other and life, like-minded people dare to be themselves, without always wanting to meet the applicable ‘standards’ of appearance. Purity, authenticity, this is also what the name Lavinia means. We have attracted the right people, and it is so wonderful that our first real experience with guests has been so incredibly positive. It only gives us a blissful feeling, and the power to oppose later possible negative reactions or people. We carry this visit in our hearts. This has further strengthened our sense of togetherness as a couple, as a strong and indestructible couple. The joy of making others happy is such a wonderful feeling, so much stronger than I could have imagined.
The nicest compliment came the following morning from Dimo: “I feel so much like home that I forget that we have to pay”. He couldn’t put it nicer. Know, Dimo and Radi: “чувствахме се като у дома с вас като нови приятели, че почти забравихме, че трябва да платим, защото се радваме да ви развалим толкова много, че не е работа за нас” (we felt so at home with you as new friends that we almost forgot that we had to get paid, because we enjoyed being able to spoil you so much that it didn’t seem like it was working).
Annemie or Anna