Despite not having our luggage with us—the airline accidently left it behind in Amsterdam—we managed to enjoy to the max our first trip to the French Riviera—the fulfilment of an invitation rendered by my beloved friend Fitri Hay when the family was in Bali for its annual visit to my parents-in-law. Everything seemed so smooth and it looked like we were going to have a wonderful journey. It was only when we have landed safely at Heathrow at 10am and waited helplessly for 30 minutes on the conveyer belt that I realised that I could not find our luggage.
With high hopes that the baggage would be delivered in the afternoon as promised by the airline, we decided to go home and wait, but to no avail. In the morning, we proceeded to a small airfield to catch a flight to Nice in the French Riviera. One and a half hours later we landed at Nice Cote d’Azur airport. A 6km drive northeast from the airstrip brought us to the Port of Nice, one of the key infrastructural hubs of the Riviera. There, on the grand jetty loomed in front of me the most beautiful sea craft I have ever seen: the Silver Angel.
I couldn’t believe my eyes! Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that this kind of vessel could exist. Suddenly, I was speechless, and my jaw dropped when one of the butlers bid me welcome and ushered me to my suite. Walking lightly all through the aisle to my room, I was enthralled by the luxurious surroundings. I just couldn’t stop taking pictures and I didn’t want to close my eyes either—even though I was still in jet-lag mode. The whole sequence, from the first encounter with this sleek yacht, went way beyond my expectations.
Our first port of call was Saint-Tropez, a place that I had wanted to see when I was living in London many years ago. The glittering Riviera resort favoured by celebrities and the super-rich did not really surprise me much. Actually, there is nothing much to see there except for the expansive number of yachts parked like flocks of bikes along the bay. These circumstances confirmed a decision to spend more time onboard the vessel. It was much more enjoyable, and I could practice my tango technique. On the second floor of the yacht there is a parquet floor that was just perfect for me to rehearse and brush up my footwork. I could also explore and discover new tango step combinations on the sundeck.
We did not do much on our first day in the Mediterranean, so I ventured out to explore the wonderful sea craft from top to tail. Built in 2009, Silver Angel, 64.5m motor yacht, is one of the finest examples of a collaboration between Benetti and Stefano Natucci. Set over five decks, her vast interior volume has been beautifully designed by Argent Design to offer accommodation for 12 guests in seven staterooms. The chic monochrome decor creates a uniquely modern and elegant designed in a contemporary take on the glamour of the 1920s.
We spent the first night on the bay of Saint-Tropez. Still suffering from jetlag, I woke at 5am excited at the prospect of my first Mediterranean sunrise. The sea was so calm, tranquil, and quiet, and I could see millions of fish around. Silence seeped slowly into me, so peaceful: a serendipity that reminded me of a friend who once said: “Ratih, you will find a really peaceful feeling when you are 30m offshore.” Amigo, you were 100 per cent right!
During the four-day cruise, we spent the daylight hours indulging in water sports. Taking a dip, swimming, and basking in the ocean blue are really the things that I like to do. The water is so inviting, fresh, and so cool. And we did some water-skiing too: the Silver Angel provides an extensive collection of onboard water toys complete with diving equipment and a compressor room to pamper scuba divers.
September 16 was my birthday and there was a knock on the door. Surprise! I was already in tears when my daughter, Anda, handed over a beautifully crafted fruit platter complete with candles. This was the first time I had been able to celebrate my birthday with only Anda by my side, although it didn’t seem right to make merry without the whole family around. In the evening, I tried to calm the turmoil with a few minutes of meditation under the moonlit night on the top floor. The Mediterranean, the waves so blue, and the skies so serene.