By Linda Lovely
My best vacation ever was the first one I took with my husband. We left Rochester, New York, when it was still tight in winter’s grip, and flew to Club Med in Martinique for two glorious weeks.
The setting was magnificent. Lush green mountains rising out of a clear blue sea. Temperatures in the eighties with caressing tropical breezes. White sand beaches dotted with pink shell treasures. Bougainvillea loaded with red blooms.
The atmosphere, food and entertainment were equally captivating. Club Med was all-inclusive. One price let you try any sport you fancied. Tom and I learned to sail. We even raced each other for prizes—me in an all-women boat, Tom’s all male. We played tennis, snorkeled, and swam. We grazed our way through sumptuous buffets, drank the complimentary wine and beer, and didn’t bother to count how many glasses. We laughed at the nightly shows, played backgammon, danced under the stars.
Every night at dinner we were seated with strangers who soon became friends—even when they wouldn’t admit they knew English. (Ha-they could speak it better than my French!) But I was young and reckless enough to admit I knew a little French. So I made clumsy attempts at translation. I recall a request to ask two French gentlemen how they might ask a woman to go to bed with them. Their answer: “But a Frenchman doesn’t need to ask.”
We even dared to visit a nude beach. There a Frenchman told us he always could spot the Americans—they always kept their eyes glued to your face, afraid to let their gaze wander.
I was in my mid-twenties; Tom, early thirties. The fact that we were newly in love added its own magic. I can close my eyes and remember the smells, the touch of the breeze, the taste of the food.
\Would I want to repeat that vacation today—some forty years later? Absolutely not. It was the fantasy vacation of a twenty-something. I loved it, but I think trying to repeat it would tarnish the memory. For starters, I’ve developed a wine allergy and there’s no way in Hades I’d stroll onto a nude beach.
My fantasy vacation now? Perhaps a train trip across Canada from Banff to Vancouver or vice versa with maybe a side trip to Alaska. Lots of gorgeous scenery, some hikes in the woods, good reads, and my husband seated beside me on the train. He’s still the person I love most.
Fantasies change. That doesn’t make one better than another. Just right for the moment.