Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Some things I learned on my travels through France...
My previous Canadian notions of what an *old* building is has been forever changed. I stumbled along cobblestone roads in medieval villages that were so old they were hard to walk on! What was life like back then for the people who inhabited these wonderful villages? My imagination took on a life of its own as I wandered old alleyways, touched ancient stone walls and tried to peer into vacant windows.
Castles aren't just the stuff of fairy tales...they really do exist! I saw my very first castle (been waiting all my life to see one) on the plane, flying over France on my way to Lyon. I was adamant that I go visit that very castle, all in stone, nestled on its own hilltop. It wasn't until I was on the ground that I realised castles and chateaus and old churches were EVERYWHERE.
Riding trains is fun fun fun! I have always loved trains. It's a childhood thing. The smells and sounds of old freight trains reminds me of camping when I was young. The train would come by every morning and every night...my brother and I would race to put our pennies on the tracks and frantically search for our flattened treasures once the train had come and gone. Well, passenger trains are just as wonderful! They are so fast, and so smooth you would think you were gliding. What a great way to take in the landscapes of France and England.
Paris is much larger than I thought.
The Mona Lisa is much smaller than I thought.
The mountain that I climb every morning isn't really a mountain to me anymore. I think of it more as a wee mogul compared to the peaks I summited in the French Alps. But if it weren't for that little daily mogul climb, I don't know if I would have made it to the top of these crazy rocky towers! The cliffs at the top were straight vertical drops, right to the bottom. I had to get on my tummy to look over the edge. The views were breathtaking. And the sweet flocks of sheep that grazed the grassy mountainsides with their little bells around their necks were adorable. One in particular grabbed my heart as he just stood there, for the longest time, head slightly turned, ears out sideways, just staring at us. He was so cute, I wish I could have taken him home.
No matter how beautiful France may be, I realised that there really is no place like home. I have never been so far from home. I have never been away from home so long. And although I saw and experienced some unforgettable things, I am happy to be home. So I say a fond farewell to the rolling hills of endless sunflowers, corn and vineyards...and warmly embrace my trees of turning leaf and oceanside haunts...oh how I've missed my ocean.
Oh, how I've missed you!