Tuesday, May 24, 2016


That "Somewhere over the rainbow" does exist, Oz isn't a fable...And Dorothy hasn't lost her marbles, or else I've picked them up for her... Enough blibber and blabber over the classic tale The Wizard Of Oz, and Frank Baum's genie. There is a reservation on this shredded and beaten up earth where men haven't totally taken over its treasures without asking permission. I'm going to be as vague as possible - I must- in order not to contribute to its ripping.

Because Croatia is too precious and Palmizana is too beautiful. The islands smell sets the tone, the sent of humidity, cacti with a touch of Hermès "Un jardin sur le Nil." The land barely untouched, is preserved by a family going back to the late XIX century who aren't dictated by consumerism and less by greed. Dagmar ( the mother), Romina (the daughter), Marco, Memo, and 35 members of Palmizana respect, and protect the worth of their land. Anyways it isn't news that Croatia has for the longest time preserved a botanical garden worthy of the Garden of Eden.

I headed to Split on a smallish aircraft with turbines for a couple of hours. I had a couple of drinks to ease the worries, despite being used to flying, and always booking a window seat, turbines and I, don't see eye to eye.


Once you're in Split, and when you don't have a yacht, you wait for the ferry. You test your patience at the port, fortunately I'm queen at entertaining myself. Since the journey to Hvar is two hours crossing, and the waiting at the port of Split will be another couple of hours because this isn't - Thank god - high season yet, I used the present time, to live the present, and focus on it. 

You're in a stress-free zone to write, draw the futility of life, take a walk, feel the breeze, meditate, and reason as to why on earth you thought that morning it was OK to wear printed socks with patterned Mocassin's...But you just let it go, rise above it and suddenly notice how you don't give two shit's, everything is amusing.


 Its Ferry time which means cider too. I haven't been on a ferry since I was a very broke ass student, and took the bus and the ferry to head home from London Victoria to Paris Porte De Bagnolet.  Terribly un-sexy, really that journey if you can spare yourself that one - please do - There is nothing to see.

Things haven't changed this much as a matter of fact, I just add a bit of glamour to the art of being broke. I've seen a decent part of this world not to let the illusion of slow cash flow get to me. Through hardships comes training and you just adapt...Ferries are fun, specially when you feel further than where you are, in a country where things are valued in Kuna's it gets exotic.

Sunset on the ferry, I'm curious as a cat and  gaze into everything practicing my humble social/economical analysis. Looking at lorries, advertising graphics of the local beer, to the trucks and all that is charged heading to serve tourism in Hvar.


Relax, sit back, because money can't buy this



And communal commute is fun too.


 Once I arrived in Hvar, its pitch black; not even a full moon to guide me, but a couple of car headlights.
 I can read as I step off the ferry WHITE on the window of the truck, the resort's got my back, they provided me with a ride, which will take me to the other side of the island. At this stage I've lost count of what I've done, where I'm going, as cities in Croatia have  intrepidly complicated names. Anyways the lady driver and Memo (I'll get to him later) is like the foreign minister, she speaks every language  Russian, Spanish, Italian, German, French...And tells me that since us folks seem to love Croatia, so they've got their multilingual skills on point.

We drove through valleys to the other side of the island of Hvar on a one way road for 40mn. We arrive at this tiny village with a little port. Its close to midnight, and I'm escorted to a speed boat, and handed over to another driver, and Memo tags along in the zodiac, we cruise for another 20 minutes.
 I don't know if at that moment I was devided by "Ooooohhh I getting into" or "woooah this is a journey; one you'll remember."  
Of course, at sunrise I told myself "Baby, heaven ain't easy access, otherwise it wouldn't be heaven." 
And I woke up like this...

Literally, like 100% for real - With this geezer showing me his prowess.


Ever since I went to visit Le Jardin Exotique de Monaco, I adore gardens and cacti in particular. I discovered Le Jardin Exotique through the photography of Jacque Henry Lartigue (1894 - 1986). 

I try to capture the symmetry of plants and the abundance of Botanical gardens with the means that I have. The Palmizana art retreat sits in a lush garden that Dagmar's, (the owner and patron of the artists) great grandfather began designing in the XIXth century, importing, and exploring the world for rare plants. 

 To this day, Memo keeps manicuring and preserving the gardens, he's been working in the residence for over 30 years. If he spoke English, I'm sure he'd have to juicy tales. 
I got the " Grazia/Closer" gossip fillers on Queen B, Jay Z, John Malkovich...& Co by the young ones working at Toto's, the infamous bar. The boys and I had a long conversation by the fireplace, and I got the star studded info.

The boys are young, and for the most, they've been working at Palmizana since they're teenagers, a few met their fiancé, mother of their child, or wife here. And explained to me that the shift in popularity in recent years, the logistics they've had to carry out to preserve Palmizana is all that matters.

 Aside from the warm welcoming of Dagmar's family and their humility despite the growing success of the villas, its the cacti standing before my eyes I'm animated by.

Dagmar, the dean of this heavenly place.
 I'll leave the portrait speak for its self.
To quote Oscar Wilde: 
Some people cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go...Dagmar is inspiration to any artists residing by her side.

Above is Memo and I and the Jeep that another visiting artist was asked to customize. I was soon put to work. Marco, another member of the solid and tight crew, ensured I'd do the painting job, but with homemade Croatian liquor on hand, just in case I felt like it...I did!


Simba the captain of it all.
Meneghello has so much respect for all animals as it has for human beings.

Collected sea shells buried into the cement to adorn a stunning pathway to the beach.

 In reality its red pillars and golden sculptures.

Just popping by to say hi...

 Kissing Simba as usual..cos I just can't get enough.

Drawing, talking with newly made friends such as my beloved Claudia.

 The path leading to my villa where I dream, draw, drink wine, relax, unwind and contemplate lions, tigers and bears that fill my imagination; where logic has no place, and a smile is all you can give in return. Its natural E.

My villa for a few days, my heaven to love and admire, my version of a Californian case study house, my dream come true, my isolated little peace of heaven...Meneghello at Palmizana, I'll be back you best believe it. 


Romina, tells me once I'm in Split, to sleep nearby the airport and drive to Trogir...And this is why

Trogir is stunning its a UNESCO world heritage site.

I went to Meneghello because I was minding my own business in the Eurostar earlier this month, and I read an article on Meneghello in a very in Vogue women's daily. The article was substantial enough for me to want to cover it. The journalist mentions that the happy few of this world go to Palmizana, offshore their yachts and take zodiacs to the island to lunch at Toto's. 
The journalist also name drops who are the happy few, and underline's that Meneghello is one of Gwyneth Paltrow's fav destination...
When I spoke about this detail to my friend, she said to me that: 
- "This information is a reason good enough not to go." 
Thankfully, I preferred to judge by my own eyes. 
So Gwyneth, a toast to you;
Thank you for the tip.

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