Disfrutar es un arte (Enjoying is an art)3 July, 2020
Lavinia, Wednesday 1 July 2020
Life in Lavinia has returned to its normal course. The guests find their way back to us, both from the north and from Spain itself.
Wim’s efforts to make us known in the Spanish landscape have clearly paid off.
People who drive a maximum of 1 hour, will find what they are looking for in our day passes. These are clearly an added value here, because in Spain it is not at all customary to go to the wellness area naked. Apparently this is always dressed up here. An opportunity like ours seems to be another niche here. Wim is really good in his habitat. He is very creative when it comes to attracting guests here. How he conjures it all out of his hat is unthinkable. And above all, because we are still able to get the right kind of guests here. Guests with whom we have a good feeling, and who we know are the right people to appreciate Lavinia with her unique concept.
It was not easy not to think too much in the short term, but especially in the long term. That is another of Wim’s talents, thanks to his management skills. Perhaps I would have been more inclined to deviate from our concept for a while, for example to take on dressed guests. And this purely motivated by a feeling of fear that undoubtedly prevails. The fear of not overcoming this crisis. But I am glad that we have kept our own course. Straight through the sea, bravely sailing against the storm.
We feel that our concept is written for us, and that there are a lot of people who are looking for this kind of holiday experience. This can only be a good sign. “Never change a winning team” once said someone, maybe from the football world. And that’s how it feels. We’re stronger than ever, more motivated as if that were still possible.
I had a bit of a feeling of insecurity when our first real Spanish guests arrived on Friday. Beforehand we had had less experience with Spaniards who booked and then cancelled the next day. Maybe we are lucky that they let us know, because I suspect that sometimes they just don’t show up. For example, about ten days ago, we were putting the finishing touches to the clearing of the grounds a few hours before the Spanish guests would arrive. When they suddenly canceled the whole booking, we promptly decided to drop everything and have a nice day with the two of us. We went to the beach, as a prospection, and enjoyed this ‘stolen’ moment.
And actually, these are perhaps the most beautiful moments, which are suddenly thrown into your lap, and which you are grateful to receive. It turned out to be a lovely afternoon which we ended with a terrace. To indicate that we really have become very flexible, and turn the negative that happens to us into positive things. Years ago I could never have done this. I would probably have been moping all day long for the lost income, for the unexpected situation, and for the loss of structure. And miraculously, I seem to have become a totally different person. I can’t say it’s all thanks to our moving to this calmer climate. More than that, Lavinia would never have been there, if I hadn’t grown up a few years before as a person who could detach herself from the yoke of structure and certainties. And I mean that very honestly; the biggest trigger for this is Wim. And of course also my friends who supported me in sometimes very difficult moments. The friends I mean now, know who they are and what they mean to me, and by extension also to Wim.
A while back Wim and I were still talking about why our relationships with certain friends and family have become so much closer. As if we only now notice who our real friends are. The distance that has become so great in miles has become so much shorter in distance in our hearts. I praise myself for this experience. When we were still living in Belgium, I found it annoying that people came by unannounced. Which, by the way, only happened in the most exceptional circumstances. I preferred to stay in my cocoon, in my couch, often putting myself in a blanket again, literally and figuratively shutting myself off from people around me. Here and now, I no longer have any need of that cocoon. Our door is always open, and strangely enough, here, in the country where we didn’t know anyone, we have many more visits and conversations than ever in Belgium. Not to mention the guests.
Also interpersonal relationships with people who ‘coincidentally’ cross our path are closer and above all more honest. This can be in the guise of a guest, as well as in the person of people who work for us in Lavinia, or neighbours, you name it. A strange, but above all blissful experience.
Mati and Manu, the Valencian guests who were here for a weekend, were the only guests. Completely the empire for them alone. And what also made it special was that their situation was actually quite special. Because they have a LAT relationship, they could not see each other during the whole lockdown. For almost 4 months. That is why Manu had booked a weekend with us as a surprise for his girlfriend. It is understood that Mati is also a naturist. 😉 So don’t think he put her here for a fait accompli. Only when they arrived here, she saw where they would stay the whole weekend. And she was really impressed, and we immediately felt that this could be a very nice weekend.
That same afternoon we had dinner (at Spanish time, at 2.30 pm) on our terrace, and talked for hours. And mainly in Spanish, because that’s where we stood on it. To our biggest surprise this went surprisingly well. There was never any silence, and our guests were exceptionally good listeners, so we could tell everything in Spanish at our pace. When things got a bit more difficult, we still had a friend google, or they spoke English. I have to admit, it was quite exhausting, not just a nice chat, but a language bath at the same time.
They had brought a bottle of Cava with which they planned to celebrate their renewed freedom as a couple. However, they promptly announced that they wanted to celebrate this moment with us. And so we were invited on our own terrace, with their bottle of Cava, and typical Valencian dulces (sweet pastries). We experienced this as a great honor, that they would rather share their happiness with us, than with just the two of them. In the end it was their first day together after 4 months. I would think that 99.99 percent would rather celebrate this in private, nice and close to each other. But no, they felt just as honored that we would sound together (in Covid’s way of course).
The whole weekend ran in the same, amicable and wonderful atmosphere. Hours of chatting, exchanging the different cultural habits, telling about the figure of St. Nicholas – who although he comes from Spain – is not known here at all. We fermented with laughter, as if we had met each other many times before. A lovely relaxing weekend, and that turned out to be the case for them as well. They had some comfort to go to the beach, but didn’t even go outside our domain. Mission accomplished. Spaniards also agree with our concept ! Very nice to see that.
In the meantime there are already new guests, breathing new life into the brewery, in their own way, different cultures, and most of all very nice again. Soon another couple will arrive, and tomorrow someone else, and we will be back in a full house. Cheerfulness, conviviality, that’s what Lavinia lives on, that’s what we live on.
This afternoon we had the chance to go on a sailing boat trip with friends. A few hours away from here. Let’s sail into the sea, swim in the endless sea, which had a lovely temperature. Enjoying the sun, the wind and the beautiful beaches of El Campello.
There was a lot of wind, which of course means a lot of swell. Unfortunately I am quite susceptible to car sickness, and despite a preventive pill, I did pollute the sea for a while because I really was ‘as motty as a crab’ and couldn’t keep it inside anymore. I felt quite ashamed, also because I -luckily ankle- had soiled the outside of the boat. Once that got out, things went better again, and I was able to enjoy all the beauty these few hours had to offer.
Enjoy every moment you get. It may be an art, but anyone can do it, as long as you’re open to it.