Friday, 28 September 2012

La Cappella...Closer To Heaven Than You Think!

"La Fortuna Aiuta Gli Audaci"

Fortune Favours The Bold.
How true this is!
On a beautiful summers day,

with literally not a cloud in the sky,
as we just drove past the walled-city of
we spied a tiny wooden board 
with a drawing of a bed printed on it.
 Following our instincts,
we decided to investigate.
Having no hotel reservations in hand,
we were as free as where the road would take us,

where destiny awaits.
In this part of Italy,
every town is a sight to behold.
Every corner,
a pleasure to the eyes.
And in summer, 
the light enhances everything.
Sunflower fields
shine & glow
like a painters palette radiating
every shade of yellow.
We drove up a rather winding
narrow road,
no wider than 
two Fiat's width,
& marvelled at the sight around us.
Villas in all shape and sizes,
on olive groves & fruit orchards.
The sky a brilliant blue
the land green 
with seasonal bounty.
Passing under the 
shadow of an old church here
an ancient cemetery there,
 after several minutes of
uphill driving,
we finally came up to a
 tall wrought iron gate.

Little did we know that we've arrived at
La Cappella!
Built as a
in the seventeen century,
it's now a
bed & breakfast
run by the present owners.
Nestled on the hills
 a mere seven kilometers from
this remarkably charming Villa,
simply takes your breath away.
Sitting almost at the top,
 with a view of the landscape below,
La Cappella
transports you immeditely
to the romantic ideals of
Italian style!
The three storey building,
constructed in traditional Italian
architecture from that period,
opens out to a lush garden
attended to daily by two gardeners.

Bougainvilleas burst forth in 
lavender bushes jostle in the wind
grape vines hang casually from
timber beams.
Tall cypress tress stand proud everywhere
 on the hills around,
other villas sit silently.
Up here,
high above everything else,
the breathtaking vista
lulls us away into
the wonderment that is the
 Italian countryside.
Her name is 
Maria Ludoveca Ceschi a Santa Croce.
And her personality is as formidable as
her name.
But she's simply known as Vicky.
Born in the grand ancient city of

the lady of the house has travelled the world.
Prior to this present lifestyle,
was an
international make-up artist,
working mainly for
Italian Vogue
with a multitude of
famous photographers,
that brought her everywhere.
Travelled has taught her many things

style is something you're born with.
among her
garden of delights,
she runs this terribly charming
B & B.
Where bees fly from
 bloom to bloom

butterflies dart here, there & everywhere.
Lazy fluffy clouds drift by above,
the breeze a strong fragrant mix that could be simply called...
"eau de everything"!
What's your favourite colour?
All of them.
What's missing in the world?
What can you add to your day?
If I could have an hour to read a book...
Favourite song?
My life is filled with music...
Iggy Pop's " The Passenger".
What are you reading...?
Dalai Lama's writings about peace.
What's next?
Where do you call home?
I still have strong feelings about my hometown
I call home wherever I am.
We should be detached from objects...
& where my dogs are.
Biggest challenge of the day?
To make the people I meet happy.

One word to describe yourself?
What keeps you awake at night?
Worries basically...
Coffee or tea?
What irritates you?
Abusive & close minded people.
Pearls or emeralds?
How many languages do you speak?
Silk or denim?
Cotton & linen.
Favourite holiday destination?
As a child, what were your aspirations?
To be a rock star in a band!!

If there is one thing you would change
 about yourself...?
My's too short & has to be longer at the back.
Most memorable trip?

When would you give all this up?
...and onto another project!
The couple met on a boat somewhere in
Her husband Pietro is from 
Vicky wanted a house large enough to
house her entire family when they visit.

"By coincidence & sheer luck, we found this place
which was a Convent until the 1920's.
It was badly neglected & the house was not understood.
We invested 
care & love 
and now there is a balance between 
house & owners".
Our 5 nights at
La Cappella
came & went quickly.
It was a joy to return

each evening after a day's
excursion into the neighboring towns.
The lady of the house has a
nonchalant coolness
about her. 
It translates well into her surroundings.
Bold,beautiful & exacting 
words I would use to describe this 
Time does not stand still as one would imagine.
Yet, when you're walking around the 
well kept garden,
your thoughts slow down to a quiet murmur.
Your walk becomes a gentle stroll.
Amongst the rose bushes,
you sit reading surrounded by
pride & joy.
Listening to the land brings forth
a  sense of

" Love and understand the Italians,
for the people are more marvellous than the land."

E.M. Foster
" The greatest joy from
La Cappela
is when I meet enthusiastic people.
Sharing this house & giving
without expectations.
But when the return comes...
it's pure adrenalin!"

On our last morning,
 joined us for breakfast.
We talked at length, over strong coffee,
 life, living & beauty.
Her gesticulations are purely
but her ideas & thoughts are
We were en route to
and somehow,
we did not want to leave.
The magic was upon us.
We drove
 out & beyond those
 wrought iron gates,
winding downwards to the highway below,
that old Church
that ancient cemetery.
I spied again that little
wooden sign that
brought us to a wonderful experience.

Fortune Favours The Bold


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Pleasure Is All Mine...

How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

Busy schedules aside,
we eventually set a date for dinner one night,
a couple of months ago.
Primarily to catch up, take photos 
savour home-cooked food
that's part of our 
culinary heritage
here in 
And I was not disappointed.
Dusk was upon us as I made way,
in a taxi,
towards this up-market enclave
Petaling Jaya
a suburb
Kuala Lumpur.

Bungalow houses surrounded
by high fences
dot the street,
with guard dogs barking ferociously as
we drove by.
Well kept gardens 
imported cars line the driveway
of each house.

is the
 Mother of Desire."
As the tall auto-gate opened smoothly
 to reveal the
 home lit in a 
warm glow,
my friends were there to greet me with a
warm embrace that was 
simply welcoming.
Tall trees 
stood out in front as if
to guard those within.
The air was perfumed with a fragrant
smell from some
 tropical evening bloom.
The sky was a shade of "that" blue,
you know...with the last few minutes of light left in the sky.
 I call it the
"Hour of Return".
The couple have been living here for the last 
9 years.
And it shows.
By this I mean,
it's become a
Not something freshly painted
smelling "new".
It's generous proportion,
 400 sq m of it,
has been modified to suit their

This is the abode of people who
work, live
life as it comes.
Of course,
it's now a family of 3,
with adequate accommodation for the 

maid as well.
Sue D'Cruz,
wife of Terrence,

Communication Brand Consultant.
To me...she's simply
I was of course,
happy to be invited home.
That puts the "S" into

A close up of anything generally
Upwardly mobile
well spoken,
the views of this lady is 
a stream of 
Sparkling bubbles 
in hand signals
 the end of the week.
We conversed warmly about their
 private space.
In the tropics, 
you can
invite the outside in,
throughout the year.
And their
 airy & open.
Taking center stage is of course the living room, 
but what was surprising was 
the enclosed terrace, 
running alongside the house.
This added considerable amount of 
living area
 to the already large house.

Style implies a 
"getting it right."

And here's a brief glimpse
Sue D'Cruz.
What's your favourite colour?
Which trait in a person you most deplore?
What motivates you?
My child.
Favourite song?
There's this song by Luther Vandross...
Morning or night person?
Early morning.
Jeans or skirt?
Describe your style?

Red or white wine?
Argentina or Australia?
When making a purchase, what is your number one
criteria...Brand, Performance, Functionality or Price?
Performance & Functionality.
George Clooney or Hugh Jackman?
George Clooney.
What's your hobby?
Favourite cuisine?
Asian - it's simple & light.
French or Italian fashion?
Favourite museum in the world?
Tate in London.
When did you last laugh out loud?
Over the weekend.
What is your life philosophy?
To live for the moment.
Which trait in  a person you most respect?
Favourite Ad campaign of all time?
Fruit Of The Loom 
out of Toronto.
It's happy & fun-
based on the song
"Stuck In The Middle With You."
What were your last thoughts?
I really like Australia!
In the midst of preparing for a trip to
 Paris & London,
we exchanged thoughts
on the joy of travel.
And the exposure to new
 trends & ideas.

"Travel is the university of life."
Peter Hoe
comes across as a woman
with an innate sense of
There's no second guessing.
And it shows in their surrounding.
The decor is
 everything in it's place
 a place for everything.
If I had to describe their home,
I would say it's a
 perfect balance
marrying colonial touches 

modern aesthetics.
Antique furniture from when
the country was called
sits comfortably with
contemporary art.
Italian styled lamps
throw a warm glow across
the interior,
while the gurgling
sound of the water feature in the furthest reaches
of the garden,
soothes & relaxes.
She certainly have all the five

Charm, Confident, Clarity, Collected 
there's even  a
in her name!
" The Experience 
makes a brand, a brand.
Basically, it's what the consumer takes out of it...
Two different users may have
 two different experiences.
A brand is nothing 
than the experience."

Sue D'Cruz
"Let us always meet each other
with a smile,
for the smile is the beginning of love."

Mother Teresa
Night was already half -passed itself,
and we were all comfortable
Good company never goes out of fashion.
Their home had a
That's an obvious outcome of
a cosy space.

you can smell
a mile away.
But in this house,
where the heart is...
you feel you belong.
Dinner was a
splendid & delicious
selection of

 Indian curries,
set upon a fuchsia table.
Our hosts were

we are extremely fortunate to have been 
at the
crossroad of several cultures.
And from this blessing,
comes interesting cuisine.
Tonight was no different.
 food & conversation

laced with
 wit & humour,
took the evening to another level.
As day turns into night,
half a world away,
we bid adieu 
said our
thank you.
Sue & Terrence's 
"pas de deux"
for the evening
made the outcome so enjoyable...
and so inclusive.
As the tall auto-gate opened to let us out,
amidst hugs,
the early morning was upon us.
Quiet enveloped us like 
an expensive cashmere shawl.
The sheer pleasure of dining with friends
is escalated when
it takes place within the confines
of an intimate setting...
a private home.

After all,
is not for the

Am I right?