Now, on to other more serious matters, such as how beautiful France is this time of year...Nantes was impressive and it was easy to gain access to a real sense of historical time while walking the streets and visiting the churches and museums. But for pure pleasure, give me a seaport town.... My stay in La Rochelle was entirely satisfying -- for one thing, the rain had stopped -- even though all the museums and churches I had intended to see were closed for one reason or another (Monday is never a good day for public monuments in France.) I didn't really care, I just walked and walked and walked and every so often came back to the harbour for a coffee or a bite to eat. I suppose in one way the following photo shows a world in which the rich hold the power -- count the sailboats and multiply by thousands of euros -- and one could view it with some anger at social injustice. But oh my, isn't it a pretty scene?
|From this port, thousands of French citizens began their immigration to Canada, some for reasons of religion and others simply in order to begin a new life in a new country|
Not too far from city of Bordeaux lies the place I have long wanted to visit: the Chateau de Montaigne, which has been rebuilt since the 16th century when Michel Eyquem de Montaigne lived there but which has incorporated the actual tower in which he cogitated and then wrote his "essais", and is now a museum dedicated to his memory. For many years I have kept the book of his essays by my bedside, and he continues to inspire and educate and delight me with his wit and grace and endless curiosity about himself and about life around him. All set for a great sentimental moment, already harkening back in memory to a visit I made many years ago to Yeats' Tower (Ballylee) near Gort, in Ireland and I was vastly disappointed to discover the Chateau closed to visitors (Tuesdays as well as Mondays). Out of frustration and to prove to myself that at least I had tried, I took a photo of this memorial to Montaigne in the village.
|It's true, I have strange heros..French essayists and Spanish tennis players|
For me, living well means having a walk every day if I can -- not too crazy about cold wind and rain, that'll keep me in by the fire, but if it's fair, walking is the best way to feel entirely human, one's mind kept turning over by thoughts as one's body is moving through space... As I earlier mentioned, I was impressed by the abundance of trees I saw everywhere in my travels, and none more lovely that in the Dordogne where I stayed overnight with friends, Dorothy & Peter, who are renting a country cottage for a few weeks. Dorothy and I took a perfect 5k stroll through flower-bedecked pastures and shady green forests, an extra pleasure for me to be in the company of deciduous trees so like those with which I grew up... I could almost imagine I was back home in a maple bush.
|Heaven. Pure and simple.|