It's not just a matter of colors or temperatures, it's the air that you breathe that I like: it is an air that smells of rebirth, of hope, that makes you want to start something new, to discover something that you have never considered before.
And, consequently, to travel.
But the air spring is also a sort of curse to me, since I'm allergic to some yet to be identified pollen, that transforms me in a sort of feline version of Sneezy from the Seven Dwarves, anytime I dare to breathe them with my nostrils.
Now I don't mean to quibble about how each rose must have its thorn - I'll rather make an apparently nonsense connection and tell you about the most beautiful place where I've ever have an allergy attack; that is Whitby , a small gothic pearl, beautifully gloomy, perched along the coast of Yorkshire.
The very first impact with Whitby gives you the impression that it kind of is a a bit' cheap and second floor seaside resort, which strives to attract tourists, but that ends up slipping into something a little kitsch.
But it's a British kind of kitsch, which, I do not know why, I can still find adorable, like anything that is English: with its shabby chic allure, with the melancholy air of a fallen noblewoman accidentally slipped through a space-time hole in this era.
And so it is with pleasure that I left the harbor, where small boats with a sort of Viking appeal and with peeling paint are waiting, moored with their fishing nets hoisted, to meander through the internal alleyways of stone, where the game rooms stay side by side to junk dealers that sell anything and everything from who knows how many years, and the smell of fish and chips, which makes you hungry at any time of the day, thins out in the shop windows of artisans selling necklaces and earrings with the jet stones that can be found on the moors around here, very black and shiny and very popular during the Victorian era to create ornaments for mourning.
If there is fog it looks like the wreck of a ghost ship, and it is beautiful.
But it always is, beyond any time and season, which are just different accessories that it loves to wear and that always make it look good: everything in its closet totally suit it, and, even dressed in a wonderful day of late spring as we have seen it, it was lovely.
It seemed a tiara made of stones, and maybe also of stories and secrets, placed on the head of Whitby.
It's its Benedictine abbey, built on the slopes of a promontory that protects the estuary - or rather what remains of this impressive early Gothic style building, dating back to 1078.
There are only ruins left, but they are enough to understand what it was like, to guess at its shape and beauty, and to look at the sky through the contours of its empty rosette.
And then - I've already said it many times, ruins of medieval churches have a kind of power which is almost witchcraft on me: they hypnotize and kidnap me, and my mind flies to imagine stories, to be enchanted by the charm of their decadence.
To get to the abbey there are 199 steps : 199 is a number that I like - I immediately thought. It has within itself a sort of imperfection, of originality.
Maybe I liked it a bit less, while I was climbing them under the scorching sun of the end of June; but, for as obvious as it may sound, I assure you that it is a climb that is well worth the effort.
See the remains of the abbey, and see what the abbey itself sees - a bunch of red brick houses huddled in the creek, and the sea, blue and infinite on the horizon behind them; it is worth the effort.
Staying there and contemplating all this, with the breeze that caresses the grass all around, and even your hair, it is worth the effort.
The abbey of Whitby has no particular legend associated with it, although it would be particularly well suited to serve as a set to some story a bit dark and tormented.
An Irish writer who was staying at a B & B around here toward the end of the '800s also had this same thought, and in fact he decided to put it in practice in a good book.
The writer was called Bram Stoker and his novel will influence the collective imagination, transforming the vampires from bloodsucking demons relegated to local folklore to tragic anti-heroes dangerously fascinating.
On the contrary to what happens in the film by F. F. Coppola, the book Dracula is set in England more than in Transylvania - and Whitby is the place that Prince Vlad chooses to land in the UK: in 1885 here there's actually been a mysterious shipwreck that had involved a Russian ship, and Stoker was inspired by this episode to describe how the vampire arrives on British territory, wiping out the entire crew of the ship that was transporting him.
I must say that this is an excellent choice: Whitby, with its gothic charm, might surely be the kind of location that a vampire would choose - a "serious" vampire, I mean, one of those old-style ones, not one of those modern ones who do things like being a vegetarian or shine like a Swarovski in the light of the sun.
Oh, but I would have stayed forever on the promontory of the abbey as well, even if I am a black cat - but the gardeners who take care of the green areas around there (which, like all the green British public, is very nice ) have decided to start cutting the grass just as I was there ...
And then my ecstatic contemplation has been immediately transformed into an allergic attack of epic proportions: no more profound reflections and gothic stories, only a burst of sneezing and conjunctivitis.
I tried to stoically resist, but Ginger Cat prudently dragged me away, pulling me safe from the pollen in the closed space of a coffee shop, asking for collaboration to a giant slice of chocolate fudge cake to resume my immune system from the shock.
With eyes swollen and watery and my red nose, I actually looked like a poor heartbroken woman who was trying to drown her sorrow into chocolate...
Oh dear ...
Maybe my heart was broken by a vampire as wel??
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