You can take the girl away from the sea, but you can’t ever take away the sea from her eyes.
I like to end the year with a trip somewhere far, far away: there is something extremely liberating in leaving the familiar walls behind, letting my hair down and forgetting I even own make-up.
Well, alright, almost forget that one. 😀
So three years ago I discovered the reason they say you can’t get away from Africa once you’ve seen it: I went to Tunisia. It was almost a random decision, looking for a warm place during Christmas without having to take a plain, because the transportation of choice was a motorbike. Of course, it was an added bonus that I could fulfill all of my eastern fantasies of kaftans and veils… (what can I say, I always loved 1001 nights)
On the first year I went there, I visited Sousse. It’s a wonderful city on the coast, always full of tourists thanks to its many attractions, but mostly it reminded me of my hometown in Montenegro, despite the obvious size difference. The wonderful salty air, the lack of pollution I am sadly use to in Milan, the breeze and the unique mixture of odors: salt, fish, the wonderful Tunisian cuisine, spices – all of it sung to my heart and made me fall head over heels in love.
You know, I’ve never seen a sky so wide and vividly blue as in Africa. There were nights in the Sahara when I just couldn’t get enough of the vast twinkly dark blue, and days in Sousse when the sea/sky union looked as if someone had applied a real-life filter!
Sousse has wonderful beaches with sand so fine that looks like Guerlain powder, which is a holiday fetish of mine.
I’ve never been able to swim because despite popular belief, it’s winter there too at Christmas 😀 but the winter sea has its own charm. What you see in these photos is the first day after 4 straight days of storms, where an insane amount of rain has battered the city incessantly and winds were bending the tall palm trees as if they were no more than countryside flowers: as it usually happens, there is no sky more beautiful than the one born from a storm!
New Year, new (red) outfit: I was so in love with this dress/cape duo that I just couldn’t bear to wear them on New Year’s Eve only. So, at sunset, I decided to let the wind mess my hair and play with the silk, kicked off my shoes and abandoned myself to the winter beach glory.
When I left my hometown of Herceg-Novi in Montenegro (I can see you Googling that 😀 ) in the far 2001, I had big dreams but a heart full of sorrow for having to leave my seaside behind. You see, people always visit sea towns in the summer and fall in love with the happy-go-lucky atmosphere, but those living there keep living there through the rest of the 9 months of the year. That means also memories of winter weekends as a teenager when I would wake up on a Saturday, already happy there was no school, and I would sit at the window looking at the sea raging a couple of hundreds of meters from me. Or I would go directly to the shore, bundled up to the high heavens but happy to have the wind, salt and humidity invade my face. I would feel recharged by nature’s violence, electrified by the savage beauty of the sea, usually so blue but then almost dark grey.
Yes, I admit, I was always a romantic. You know, my favorite book during university was René by Chateaubriand, after all.
Traveling opens your mind in a way that no other activity does: Tunisia taught me to feel free to be just as I am. There is no high fashion there: normally my day would involve motorbike gear and hundreds of kilometers of dusty roads, and I would feel completely at ease with that. But then I would go into a beautiful hotel and dress up for dinner, smiling at the employees that often did a double take when seeing me, failing to connect the biker to the lady wearing Dior.
Sousse – the stage for this photoshoot – is a wonderful mixture of East and West. With all the modern amenities, you still cannot mistake it for an European city, but nevertheless I felt home there from day one.
So it was no wonder I decided to go back this year, to finally unwind and spend some relax time with no roads, just a SPA, walks on the beach and New Year’s celebration. Then obviously a smaller disaster struck (those curious can head over to my Instagram to read just what happened inside the resort I was staying in) but at least I have these images providing beautiful memories of a gorgeous day with my husband behind his camera!
During the photoshoot, there were tourists gathering on the beach and taking pictures of their own. They asked who I was, who designed the outfit, took notes of the blog link – I am curious how their own photos turned out? 😀
And there were moments when I thought I would fly away, cape and all, for how strong the wind was! Normally nobody sees these moments, but I liked the spontaneity of it all: what is fashion without some fun?
Can you notice I stopped wearing braces? 😀 😀 😀
My dentist gave me a Christmas present just before going away by taking the medieval torture out of my mouth, and now I just can’t stop smiling! It’s a liberating feeling, I’m sure many of you will relate: suddenly I felt like someone gave me back an essential part of me. Those who didn’t see me for a long time kept asking me if I did something to my face! As much as I’m happy as any girl for a chance to stop the aging process, I will stick to dentist and good facial cream, thank you very much.
You can take away the sea from a girl – but the sea remains in her eyes, her mind, her soul, the very core of who she is. Can you sense the freedom I felt?
LOCATION: SOUSSE, TUNISIA
OUTFIT: DOLCE & GABBANA DRESS AND CAPE, OSCAR TIYE SHOES