Brooke’s European Sojourn Part 1
I have been back from my European sojourn for about ten days now and thought I would share a bit about my adventures.
A very good friend of mine moved to France last year and so it was a great opportunity for me and another friend to go visit her. First, let me stop here for a moment. She MOVED to FRANCE. A few years ago this friend decided she wanted to learn French so she took a year off of her life here as a nurse, leased out her house and flew off to Lyon to go to school and be absorbed in the language. Ok, that is brave enough but then she met a fella and after a few years of a long distance romance she decided to bite the bullet and move to Lyon. She retired from her nursing career, sold many of her belongings, packed up a shipment to meet her there and said good-bye to family and friends. I just find this SO brave and in her being SO brave it is helping me bring my own courage up to speed. She is doing well and is embracing her new French way of life and living her life to the fullest!
My longest time friend Sarah and I, ( I can’t say oldest, but we have known each other since we were babies!) who don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, made a plan…go to France to visit Beth! Well, it finally came to fruition on Oct 1 when we all met up in Marseilles. Beth drove to meet us at the airport and we drove on to Cassis. Here we spent two nights in a lovely B+B and toured around the town but the biggest adventure was hiking Les Calanques.
This is a 20 km stretch of promontories ascending from the bright blue Mediterranean waters. We did a day hike and were able to see three of the Calanques. We had a glorious, warm, sunny day so we were even able to go for a swim! We were surprised by how many tourists there were considering it is shoulder season but it certainly did not deter from the brilliant vistas and views we witnessed.
After Cassis we had one day in Aix en Provence where we enjoyed a bit of retail therapy and perused the many sights. I love just walking around and getting a sense of a city. It was still nice weather so the locals and tourists alike were out having coffee or wine at the street side cafes. I just love the cobbled streets and the history these cities hold. The architecture is vastly different than what we have in Vancouver and I so enjoy all the detail that was used in architecture so long ago. The scrollwork, gargoyles, tromp de l’oeils and frescoes are all eye catching and inspirational.
After Aix, we picked up my partner, Randy at the airport and continued back to Lyon. Beth and her partner prepared a feast for us that night. One thing Beth is loving about France is the connection to food. They spend hours shopping and prepping for their daily meals and then many more hours visiting while they leisurely enjoy the fruits of their labour. Here in Vancouver we have a lot of “foodies” and we have really good cuisine but it is not built in to our lifestyle or culture for the majority. We might spend a lot of time preparing a meal for a weekend dinner party but in France it is just part of everyone’s life.
Lyon really is a beautiful city and I found it to be quite a lot like Paris. One of my very favourite sights was a statue by a Scandinavian duo, Elmgreen and Dragset, outside of the justice building on the Saone River. It was called The Weight on Oneself and is a nude sculpture of a man carrying himself representing how we must all be responsible for our own decisions-we are our own hero but also our own critic.
Hard to leave Beth and Sarah behind-we had had such a nice time together doing our girl thing, chatting and eating, and wining and shopping and just being together, but now it was time for new adventures. I packed my bags and Randy and I headed to the train station to take the high speed train to Barcelona!
Stayed tuned Wednesday for more of our European Adventures.