On a shady strip of piny shore, between the lake and the sea. Breathing the sea, heady mouthfuls of ozone, a fresh strong wind stinging our cheeks with sand. Out of the wind, in the shelter of the trees decorated with red and blue, dreaming parakeets, the air smells of pine and frangipani. It's getting towards evening. We wander aimlessly by the lake shore, poking stranded giant blue jellyfish with sticks, bare feet sinking deliciously into the creamy smooth sand. Nobody talks much. There is a spell of hush and still here, wound about the lake as the sun begins to sink towards the purple spiky mountains, trailing clouds of gold.

We sit on the wooden jetty with our feet in the water and watch the sky go wild, put on a show for us. The gold clouds slowly drifting separate into hundreds of smaller clouds, glowing pink and violet and amber, precipitating out across the vast space of a blue so deep, so vibrant it breaks your heart. A tropical colour, absent from cold northern skies. The sky is so much wider here: my neck is aching but I cannot turn away as the clouds turn from rose-coloured candy floss into feathery castles of fire and gold. Below, the lake is alight, alive with rippling molten colour, and beside me, their faces are alight, too. We watch until the fire sinks beneath the mountains, and drive home through the tropical night, under the enormous stars.

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