Today I’m writing about what has probably been the most relaxing weekend of the summer.
Isla Bonita – which is the name her owner, my dear friend Petra, gave this wonderful place in the Drôme, a region adjacent to the famous French Provence – brings together all the ingredients of an earthly paradise.
Isla Bonita looks like Petra:
- The house has a soul. It’s extremely well decorated, up to the smallest detail, and has its own particular style. It reflects with might and main the personality, experiences and trips of its owner, a curious, well-travelled and welcoming woman, while at the same time preserving the distinct charm that is typical of houses in the South of France. Here you won’t find contemporary furniture but chairs bought at brocantes, handmade tables and swings, objects brought back from family trips to Latin America, a collection of watering cans Petra’s been completing over the years with presents from friends who paid her a visit and framed photos of happy family moments, of her dogs and of smiling children she met in Nicaragua, Guatemala or Cuba…
- Nature makes this place magic. At Isla Bonita you won’t find a beach (as the name may suggest) but beautiful horses, cuddly cats, fruit trees, palm trees, olive trees, a forest with a wooden shed for the horses to rest when it’s too hot, lavender, glycine, ivy and crickets.
- The swimming pool unites both children and adults, easily replacing the still far-away beach.
- People make all the difference at Isla Bonita, where the doors are always open. Friends are constantly dropping by. If there are no more free rooms, they are always welcome to sleep in one of the comfortable hammocks in the courtyard or in a tent in the garden. Neighbors pass by for a drink anytime and are always welcome too.
- Days pass at another pace. I’m not even comparing it to the frenetic every-day rhythm (work, kids and self-imposed obligations) but to the sometimes not less hectic holidays we spend. At Isla Bonita there’s not much to do apart from feeding the horses, stroking the cats, going for a dip in the swimming pool before cooking and, above all, talking. Talking about any subject: our daily lives, past or future trips, relationships, education, how hard life can sometimes be, how passionate we all are about it… Talking to friends, to Petra’s neighbors or her own friends, people you haven’t met before and with whom in a few hours you are able to share more than with some of the people you see on a daily basis.
My relationship with nature is not easy, I must confess. I’m allergic (pollen, cats, wasp stings and many other things). Even so, a weekend at Isla Bonita spent relaxing without any sightseeing, enjoying dinners and laughter, watching how much fun Inés and Théo have playing with the cats, exploring the surroundings while getting their shorts dirty and learning lots of new things about horses was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries. Just spending time with friends.
Thank you, Petra, for welcoming us so warmly and to allow me to write about it.