Like any hard worker makes a life for him or herself, a vacation is appropriate for some breathing room for all that Life has to offer. So as I, wish to take a break from my Marketing blogs and bask in a moment of the most cherished vacation I have had the fortunate luck to always remember, by the fresh airs of France in 2012. What a great opportunity and an experience of a lifetime! I want to share with you.
My best friend Larry, works for Dassault Falcon Jet in Little Rock and was asked to help build Dassault’s BMW corporate jet planes in France and to stay for 3 months and of course, he said “yes!” and I got to tag along. I was very excited as soon as I found out. It was my first time on an International flight and over International waters. Ever. That alone, was exciting for me. Although I didn’t like my flight as much, thanks to the screaming baby in the background and that I had picked the middle seat, my flight went pretty well with the food choice and alcohol they served. There were movies which helped the time pass. I left Littlerock early in the morning and arrived in Paris their time around 9PM destined for Bordeaux arriving at 11PM. I could tell immediately I wasn’t in America anymore. The sounds and smells were different and I couldn’t understand anyone around me. I admit I felt a little anxious, with having to be fully aware of my surroundings and knowing this isn’t my territory nor do I speak the language. So I was happy when I met up with Larry who had arrived a week earlier than I. He had already rented a car and a Hotel room that were both very nice. The people at the Hotel were bilingual and gracious enough to help us introducing different areas of the Hotel where I could later do my laundry. It was early in the morning and I was jet-lagged, tired, hungry and excited all at the same time, all worth it.
Over the period of the next few days, I discovered 2 castles, a city of wine at St. Emilion, a French pizzeria, a French Japanese restaurant where the Japanese employees spoke French, 4 boulangeries, and several landscapes and toll booths. Each day brought new adventures and we met people from his work that became part of our lives as friends. We ate dinner at 3 different homes including my best friends bosses house where his sweet wife prepared and offered us some wonderful fruit from their fig tree and garden and a variety of stinky but tasty cheeses and fresh fish with fresh bread. They even showed us their wine cellar located underneath their house. Some of the French people have a tradition where families make their own wine bottling at home which would commemorate a child’s birthday or an anniversary, and each bottle was marked with a child’s name and title of the event on it. At Christmas time or any other special time, they would celebrate by opening a bottle and drinking it with the entire family. We drank from their cellar and celebrated the welcoming for us to be in France with a bottle of wine that they bought specially for us. What a nice family tradition I must say!
Over the period of the next few weeks, I had already discovered 8 castles 2 of which were from the medieval time period that had torture chambers with sharp weapons and big fireplaces. Creepy but exciting at the same time. One of them reminded me of the castle from the Wizard of Oz. There was another castle we visited that I loved, called Chateau de La Brede. The home of the famous Philosopher, Montesquieu who would publish his ‘Defence of the Spirit of the Laws’ in 1750 in that castle. You can see a picture of me holding up a key to a door to his study.
Over the remaining part of our 3 months, we became more familiar with routines of traffic, hours of operations and where the best places to go dining and drinking were. Fortunately, Larry’s friend, Christophe who is from Cuba also French-speaking, offered to show us the best local spots in Bordeaux for dinner and dancing, the beach for daytime activities where we went often, called Biscarrose Beach and where I attended my first jet ski competition and was asked to take pictures. They rented a house on the beach for us all where we learned French words, drinking French liquor, and just enjoying ourselves!
From the Pyrenees mountains, we traveled along many beautiful country-sides making our way to Lourdes, France where we were able to visit the Roman Catholic fortified castle on the rock. A tourist spot of about 6 million visitors a year. Known for its pilgrimage and a religious story I won’t go into. I even got a picture with a Monk! Beautiful church needless to say. We stayed overnight and traveled more into Lascaux, France. Famous for the discovery of the famous Lascaux Cave of the Upper Paleolithic period. Wonderful cave paintings! It was awesome!
Our last night was filled with packing and realizing we had to go back home. It was so much fun we wanted to live there. I think we were bitten by the travel bug. Plans to go back are in the near future.
I hope you enjoyed my blog as much as I had fun writing it. Thanks for reading and I will be back again soon.
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