I took a spa and rest day in the vacation and commune with You, God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit…all through my writing. I know when I get home to Clermont, my focus will quickly turn back to work…some things never change! The first long French vacation. Of course, I missed seeing our family in the US in person, and with Covid19 restrictions (which I’m sure you would not have liked!) it seemed like the best plan. As it turns out, I think I did the right thing by staying here. I discovered some of the beautiful French countryside by going to places and doing things we never did. I took the time to read/listen to 4 books…something I never have done on “vacation”. I took some adventures (normal!) and I also pampered myself…physically and mentally. I think I was able to really disconnect from the work life and recharge my batteries. I’m afraid I may have blown up people’s Facebook feed with all the pictures..and some may have unfollowed me…that’s just the way it is, I guess! You were with me all the time Rod, just behind my eyes. Always. I’ll recount my thoughts and memories and a few photos before I forget.
My friend Axelle helped me plan this trip Rod, and what a blessing that was. We always used an agency…this time Axelle helped me be my own agency! I wanted to discover parts of France we never saw, create new memories and cherish old ones. I focused on the south west part of France. I used the Michelin green guide to see the 3 star attractions, the “Les plus beaux villages de France” map and Axelle’s recommendations, and we made a 3 week plan. First step was to get the hotels booked and create a base of operations so that I wouldn’t have to pack repack all the time! Sounds obvious now, but just that bit of guidance was so helpful! So grateful for Axelle! I believe God had a plan when he brought her and Kyra back from China due to Covid19, just long enough to reconnect and get her help…she’s on her way back to China now. There are no coïncidences in life!
First base of operations was Sarlat-la-Canéda, in the heart of the Dordogne region about a 3.5 hour drive from Clermont. Lots of 3 star attractions and Plus beaux villages de France around this area! I stayed there for 10 days I think. It all runs together!
I explored many castles, churches, and gardens in the area Rod..probably more than you would have wanted to see! You always told me that you wanted to just relax on vacation..and I was wanting to see it all! I know it used to drive you nuts! I haven’t changed much in that front Rod, still trying to pack it all in!
While in the area, my friend Axelle and her daughter came to visit me! What a treat! We went canoeing on the Dordogne, I went on a hot air balloon and we just had fun. She’s finally been cleared to go back to China, so this was the last time we’ll see each other for awhile. I’m so grateful to her! I would not have done the canoe trip alone. Remember our white water days Rod? No fear!
While looking at the tourist book for the region, I saw an ad for hot air balloon rides. I know this type of thing is usually booked in advance, but decided to give it a a try. Sure enough they had 1 spot available for an early morning flight the next day..there are no coïncidences! ..sign me up, I’m in! Bucket list item, check!
By John G. McGee
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or ever eagle flew – And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Hard to come back down to earth after that! But come down and in fact went underground too (cooler there!) I visited several pre-historic and very traditional farm sites. I had heard of the paintings on the cave walls, but I really didn’t realize how much evidence of prehistoric life there was here in France! Cliff dwellers is not something I imagined, but it does exist..still does!
All the words and pictures just don’t seem to capture the beauty here Rod. It is said there are 1001 castles in Dordogne..I am not going to prove or disprove that statement! I can attest that there were more than I could keep track of!
I mentioned I read /listened to some books..another first! It could be considered a strange combination I guess. I’m sure they all brought me a message that I needed to hear and one of them evoked another type of spiritual awakening. As you always said Rod, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear…truth.
So that about does it for part one of this adventure Rod. I’m doing it, and now I know I can. Its all part of the moments in this new chapter of my life. All Moments matter.
You remain just behind my eyes Rod. Always. I sure do miss you here with me physically, so until that time when there is no dawning or setting of the sun, I will continually to commune with you spiritually my love. Until next time!