27: Niki and Ivan settles down on Majorca
Ivan was thinking about his living expenses. It would be as well to cut down those, but he had no intention of cutting down his comforts and little luxuries if he could help it. He must find somewhere to live that fitted his needs, cheap, but cheerful - and within easy flying distance of Schiphol. Yes, but where? Finding the answer to that question wasn't going to be easy, he agreed.
The answer, when it came, arrived out of the blue as the Smirnoff's sat at breakfast one morning in mid-March 1950. Niki opened a letter from a Belgian friend, holidaymaking in Majorca, and began to read bits of the letter out load..."sunshine every day and all day long - hot golden sands, sparkling blue seas, white houses nestling in dark green pine woods - peace, quiet...Cala d'Or. Cala d'Or! The Golden Cove! The very name was magic, when could they go? For outside their windows the Dutch rain was teeming down on a bleak and unlovely landscape. It was maddening that they could not leave at once, that very day. Ivan and Niki had been for a short holiday to Denmark, and when they returned back home he found that Niki still was thinking about Majorca. His own enthusiasm for the idea was then again on high levels; they bundled into the car and drove down through Spain. He was already tingling with anticipation even before the spell of Cala d'Or fell full upon him and never lifted, all the days of his life. It was September 1950, and the Cala d'Or Hotel was absolutely full, though the summer season was nearly ending, when the Smirnoff's first saw the enchanted corner of the island that was to become their home. It was everything that Niki's friend had said and more - utter beauty, utter tranquillity, peace indeed.
Ivan slid at once, easily and happily, into the atmosphere of the place and its people. Here was the land beyond the horizon that all pilots were ever seeking; he was astounded to realize that it had been there, all the time, waiting for him, while he ran about seeking peace in other places. In its unspoilt isolation Cala d'Or's five little blue and green calas - Cala Longa, Cala d'Or, Cala Gran, Cala Esmerelda and Cala Ferrera - grapped, like saucy fingers, at the golden sand and lava rocks and the pine trees that marched straight down to water's edge, sending their roots deep beneath the sea itself. Cala d'Or had no traditions that exceeded living memory. Even its "fort" had been built and bombed during the Spanish civil war. It was true that the Moors had landed and fought bloody battles somewhere near, but they had left few traces.