- Itinerary: Twenty-two days by train in France
- Back from France: Intro to Upcoming Series
- Days 1&2: Bordeaux, Sleep Deprivation, and the Case of the Missing Driver
- Day 3: Saint-Émilion, Wine, and Glimpses of Heaven
- The Arguing Old Couple. “Il est trés fou!”
- Day 4: A Travel Buddy in Amboise
- Day 5: Chateau Amboise and Solo Travel Revelations
- Day 6: Being Lazy in Amboise
- Day 7: Chateaux of the Loire Valley
- Amboise and Rude Americans
- Day 8: Dark Alleys and Fear in Sarlat-la-Canéda
- Solo Travel: Crushing Loneliness
- Day 9: Touring Les Plus Beaux Villages de Dordogne
- Day 10: An Evening of Tears in Carcassonne
- Day 11: Arles and Falling in Love
- Day 12: Gender Normative Behavior in Arles
- Day 12: Roman Ruins, Van Gogh, and Body Positivity in Arles
- Day 13: Catcalls and a Lost Reservation in Nice
- Day 13: There’s No Cerveza on this French Menu!
- Day 14: The Beauty of Nice
- Day 15: Eeeezeeee Does It At Éze Village
- Day 16: Wishing for Longer in Lyon
- Day 17: Getting To Chamonix-Mont-Blanc By Train Is Not For The Weak
- Day 18: L’Aiguille du Midi
- Day 19: Annecy
Good grief, this town is unbelievably gorgeous.
Favorite photos from today are below. I’m forcing myself to choose only ten per day. I’m sure I’ll appreciate the culling after the trip is over. Plus, knowing I’m restricted in this way is helping me be more selective in the shots I take.
Today, Travel Buddy and I did a brief (to me) exploration of Chateau Amboise, and a lot of wine tasting.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED TODAY: A lot of Malbec is grown in the Loire Valley, and is also called Côt. Same grape.
The real revelation of the day, though, is how much I love traveling alone.
This one stuns me. I adore Travel Buddy. He’s a fantastic friend and easy travel companion. If I prefer solitude to continuing this adventure with him at my side, I must really love my solitude, far more than I anticipated.
What I’m realizing more than anything, though, is I’m incapable of prioritizing my emotions over someone else’s.
When another person is with me, I think about their needs and emotions more than my own. If I want to take hours snapping photos of every inch of a gorgeous chateau, I don’t feel at liberty to do so. Even if my companion assures me a thousand times that they’re alright, that I should take my time, and so on, I can’t do it.
I’m unable to enjoy myself if I sense my actions might be causing another person to have less-than-positive thoughts or emotions. I’m unable to turn off the side of me that simultaneously feels their feelings (or what I perceive/fear to be their feelings) alongside my own.
It is, perhaps, something I can work on. An empathetic nature and the consequential struggle to maintain appropriate emotional boundaries is probably going to be a lifelong challenge. At least I’m now aware of it, and thus can attempt to address it.
For now, though, as much as I love Travel Buddy, I’m fascinated to recognize I won’t be devastated when he goes back to London tomorrow. Normally, when we part ways I’m horribly sad and it takes a while to get over missing him. This time, I won’t mind going back to a solo existence. It’s quite surprising.
As promised, here are my daily favorite photos. I give you Chateau Amboise and the surrounding area:
And, just for fun, here are the wines we tasted today.
My favorite of the bunch was the Chateau Montdomaine Touraine Rosé (second photo, bottom left). Cabernet Franc tends to be my favorite varietal, and this was a delightful rosé from the same grape. It was balanced, complex, and had a marvelous soft mouth feel. I’m hoping I encounter it again someday; thus far my online searches have not yielded any results.
If you have better luck than I, or you recognize the wine and think I’m remembering the name wrong, PLEASE, I beg of you, let me know?