Our trip to Bilene last weekend was incredible. I fear I may have cursed us a bit, however, by my boastful post about the good weather prior to leaving. The first day was lovely, though we made the critical mistake of only hitting the beach around 3pm, just before the sun slipped under some hills behind the cottage we were renting. The beach was wonderful, though. No waves, the whitest sand I have ever seen, and water so shallow you could nearly walk across the lagoon if you were so inclined. No seashells, but I suppose no beach can be 100% perfect in my book. :)
We stayed in an amazing little house at a complex called La Perla. All of us had the same reaction - "Can't we just move in here forever?" Seriously, the house was delightful. Super simple - whitewashed wood walls, locally made wicker furniture, spacious white bedrooms with mosquito nets - but so tastefully decorated (deep red and magenta as accents!) that it could have been featured in an interior design magazine. We were all in love with the place, and tried our best to find a way to stay an extra night, though in the end we conceded that it was better to return to Maputo on Sunday afternoon as planned.
At night we had a braai, complete with the largest sack of charcoal I've ever seen in my life (purchased by Marcos on the side of the road). We drank wine, ate meat, sang along in earnest but off-key voices while Marcos played the guitar, and even took a midnight trip to the beach to look at the breathtaking swath of stars in the sky.
Perhaps the highlight of the trip (for me, at least!) was starting - and finishing! - the hardest jigsaw puzzle I've ever attempted in my life. It's been a good 15 years since I did a puzzle, but the necessary skills came creeping back and, with a team effort, we managed to put together the image of Swedish fish without going too crazy. Very satisfying in the end, and perfect for the gray weather that rolled in after we'd gone to sleep.
In all, an excellent trip. I really look forward to going back to Bilene and getting in some decent beach time. I also hear there are some really cool dunes about 25km outside the little town that would be great for exploring.