I suppose everyone has a different approach to travel, some probing the history and points of interest of a given area and others taking a more laissez-faire, let-it-unfold approach. Whichever method appeals to you, what is quite interesting is to go back and research about an area you have experienced first hand.
I recently came across a nicely written and very thorough article that profiled the city of Bourges in the Loire Valley. While reading of historic churches and age-old customs, my mind whisked backward to a remarkably hospitable weekend in the area.
A friend and former Parisian invited our friends and us to visit with him in a tiny hamlet about 30 minutes from Bourges. We managed to pack a ton of discoveries into that one weekend.
In deference to the article I mentioned, yes we walked the streets of Bourges. In fact we did so at night during the Lumiere extravaganza, when mystical lights cast their glow upon church courtyards and centuries-old, timbered houses. On the steps of the renowned St. Stephan’s Cathedral, I picked up a couple of tiny red and pink tissue hearts, the sweet mementos of a wedding held earlier in the day. We have the deepest respect for the city and its’ storied past.
But now I move on past the sophisticated travel to our deepest memories –
…. Of golden wheat fields stretching, stretching for miles up soft hills capped here and there with a couple of trees, standing as sentries, it seemed, overlooking this ‘bread basket’ of France.
…. Of steaming bowls of coffee enjoyed in the morning in the front yard, as we heard the plans for the day
…. Of an enormous, rhinestone blanket of stars setting the blackest of black nights ablaze with light
…. Of a whimsical house with all sorts of glass art – now, I see, named La Cathédrale de Jean Linard
…. Of narrow country lanes winding through the country, and shuttered homes built inches from the road – they always, always cloak their windows in delicate French lace
…. Of our little trek to La Borne, where 88 village artists give birth to imaginative ceramic works of art
And so we traveled in the footsteps of the Gaulouis and years from now will still enjoy this warm quilt of Loire countryside memories.
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