Today I traveled from Chamonix to Paris. This is my final destination. After today there are only two days left before I head home. This
I went up to Aiguille du Midi. I joked that it was the pinnacle of this whole adventure, but there was truth behind the jest.
Getting from Lyon to Chamonix by train was no laughing matter, and today’s anxiety attacks proved it. My excitement about getting up into the Alps
I am in Lyon and it is gorgeous. And I’m visiting my old friend, the Rhône, once again. She is just as blue here as
Éze Village is about 1400 feet above sea level, and the bus ride was a crazy 15 minute journey up steep hills with intense switchbacks. Next to the road was a drop-off down a cliff and the bus driver took each turn at full speed.
I kept turning away from the water and gazing towards the hills surrounding Nice. The lush greenery beckoned to me.
I heard her say, “Well, I mean, how am I supposed to know what I want? Everything is in French!” She wanted a beer, but was annoyed she couldn’t find cerveza anywhere on the menu…
As I walked the short distance from the train station to the hostel I was struck by the same feelings of unease I experienced in Carcassonne. The streets were empty except for straggling groups of unfriendly looking men. In Carcassonne, the men merely leered. Here, they catcalled and made clicking noises like one might when trying to lure an animal closer.
I spent today exploring Roman ruins and Van Gogh sites. And I fell more in love with Arles by the second.
The employee at the cafe was aghast when I voiced a desire to sit outside. “C’est tres froid!” I insisted I would be fine, that this weather didn’t feel cold to me, and was amused when a dawn of recognition lit up his face. “Ah, tu vas fumer,” he said, while miming smoking a cigarette.
After dark the streets in Arles aren’t just well-lit, they’re lit cheerily and with lots of color. There is noise around, noise of conversation and fun, noise of safety nearby should it be needed.
Day 10: Carcassonne. There don’t seem to be any women here. There are men out on the streets chatting, usually on street corners. When I walk by they stop talking and stare. It’s rather disconcerting.
As a writer it’s difficult to admit that a location has me so in thrall that I’ve been rendered speechless. It runs rather counter to one’s desire to write about the location. But, alas, here we are.
With solo travel comes a type of loneliness that is freeing, but crushing. The need for connection is biological. It’s how we’re wired. And we wind up lacking it.
Imagine limestone walls, narrow passageways, gas lanterns casting a warm friendly glow and soft laughter coming from restaurants you know are around a corner but can’t see yet…
That’s Sarlat, and dammit if I’m not already in love with it.