Portugal. I've worked there for Vogue; in Lisbon and down in the Algarve. It was a long time ago, and around Christmas/New Year and it rained like hell and was very cold. They have swung into and out of Communism and I still wouldn't invest a red cent there. Others do, and the real estate in the holiday areas is or was much higher in value than in much of Spain. If you golf expensive you'd love it. I don't, either way. Golf, I mean.
Italy appealed for a while, but the politics are rather doubtful there too and the red tape seems worse than in Spain. I wouldn't suggest an island anymore. Yes it keeps many out but it keeps others, like me, locked in. Ferries make spur of the moment ideas about the mainland or France anything but spur. They are expensive and not always at the most convenient times if you want to move beyond the terminals quickly on arrival, and for a good distance. And islands breed their own particular breed of politician too. This past year, most of Mallorca's ruling party has been pursued on corruption charges, and nobody seems remotely surprised. There are laws governing illegal lets of apartments and villas, but as most of the people running the town halls own such properties...
However, if you have the money for boats, the Balearics and Pitiusas provide beauty beyond dreams. But finding a berth is difficult. And dear because of it.
I sometimes think that those who live in their home town all their life end up having the best of it. They go from school into work and the network is all there, part of their lives from birth. Others, who move from place to place, do so because they chase dreams. But dreams end. Daylight shatters them and then itís time to start looking around again, the history just keeps on repeating itself.
There are times when I look about me and wonder where the hell I am, and Iíve been here for almost thirty years now. I have concluded that travel is just another form of drug. You get that high as you do during a long shoot somewhere, and then you come down to a lower bottom than you had just left. I missed the photo trips like hell at first Ė probably still do Ė but I always felt that I was in some kind of unreal situation, even though it was, in fact, my working life for years, but it never felt it was based on anything solid. It all depended on a clientís whim, and how vulnerable a life do you want to lead? I suppose that travel has been indelibly associated in my mind with work, and even when we started to do it for pleasure (!?) and without work, I found myself obliged to pack all the stuff except the flashes. I used to tell myself it was going to be for stock, but it wasnít really; I donít know what it was for other than habit dying hard. Much the reason I still have cameras today, I guess. Like one of those dogs after Pavlov died.
Iíve had this idea that should I win the lottery (I did last week: got Ä9 and a few cents) properly, Iíd set up the kids and their kids and then buy myself some exotic landyacht and go from European lux hotel to lux hotel until that got heavy. After that, I just have no plans; the trip would probably take me out, anyway. Always liked a lot of things I couldnít normally afford, so why not indulge them? Iíd have no wish to leave Europe. Iíve been to Africa, India, the far East and across the Atlantic and you can keep most of it, thanks. Thereís enough in the old European civilization to keep me interested and movingÖ It would be lovely to be in the snow in some chic resort and not feel cold right now! Could handle that. I have a friend who twenty years ago told me that when a man tires of the CŰte díAzur heís tired of life. Poor guy has five acres and a house to die for, a couple of Mercs, has sold his yacht and his hips have gone; has now discovered Parkinson's. It can suck, too, can life. I always did subscribe to the idea that a rich manís death is a sadder one than a pauperís: so much more to loose.
On that happy note, Iíll go switch on the electric blanket. I dread forgetting. I set the alarm clock!
Ciao (See? I'm almost there already!)