Wandering, in Annecy, France

We spent the morning in Annecy and were bemused by this lovely little French city.  Although it did take us an hour to decide that yes, we will pay 11 euro each for our lunch because we're really really hungry now!

French bookshops there mostly sell books in French.  I was despondent, as I think I might have loved reading so many of the authors displayed however it was all very impossible. I bought postcards and wrote one to my Dad while stuck in the traffic jam 'home'.

A glimpse of Annecy ...


Room With A View ...

We moved locations yesterday, driving some 250kms, heading for the foothills of the French Alps.  And I am quietly excited because, after so many years of reading climbing literature, I shall finally visit Mont Blanc.  A testing point for so many of the climbers I read.

This new gite is a quirky little cottage, 3-stories high and about 3 metres wide.  It's more like a wilderness cottage in New Zealand, in some ways but still, there's a log fire burning, we cooked dinner in the tiny kitchen, we have free internet and there's tv too.

But more than anything, I am stunned by how like the Queenstown/Fiordland area this place is.  We arrived in 27 celsius yesterday, I was completely destroyed by the huge pollen count - late Springs can do this they tell me.  Our car was coated in pollen when we parked in Annecy.  Thankfully the rain rolled in, we've even heard some thunder roll around in the mountains beside us ... and rain, blessed rain.  It took the temperature down to 13 celsius and washed away the pollen. 

But my idea of mountains, much to Gert's amusement, is that they should always be draped in fog and clouds.  They're at their best that way.  There's a creek running near the house, the rain beat down most of the afternoon, the birds sung, taking over from the cicadas who had greeted us. 

Nature is alive and well in this corner of France and I have to admit, I'm really impressed by it all.  The photograph was taken from the top floor of the cottage.  Tomorrow and Tuesday shall involve much exploring and, quite probably, many more photographs. 

Au revoir.

The Cottage, Bourgogne

Here I am, sitting at the table you see in the photograph below.   The air is soft and warm already, so early in the morning, the sky blue, and we're preparing to wander out into another day.

Writing ... the internet ... they are forms of meditation for me.   Out here in Bourgogne, I am loving the sensations of this outdoor writing and reading life.

Everyday we spend long hours wandering, exploring so there's a balance I love.  Today we're back in Beaune, tidying things up as we prepare to move closer to my beloved mountains tomorrow.  I shall finally visit Mont Blanc, a mountain I read of so often in the climbing literature devoured over the years.  And that is what makes leaving this little oasis of peace and beauty bearable.

A glimpse of here ...

In Bourgogne ...

I find myself comparing the landscapes here in Bourgogne to those back in New Zealand.  Although, surely, that is the fate of the wanderer.  I find myself always layering memories of places I've lived or visited over where ever I am in the now. Looking for some kind of 'fit' or familarity.

Some mornings I wake up in Antwerp and I smell that particular smell, that heavy-traffic pollution smell, first discovered in Los Angeles,  a familiar scent back in Istanbul and now, oftentimes, there it is in Antwerp.

Here in Bourgogne it is the geography ... the lay of the land.  The vineyards that run as far as the eye can see, the hills, the lush fields.  The air is good.  And somehow the cloud formations make me imagine the coast or a huge lake is somewhere close by.  It's big sky country where we are.

Chateaus and castles are everywhere.  Sunday was spent wandering le Château de Cormatin.  Rather exquisite it was ... no echoes of 'home'.  It was particular and surely an example of 'someplace else'.  Unimagined. Unknown.

Evenings, and I've been relaxing with a short tv series out of New Zealand, Top of the Lake.  A Jane Campion creation.  I'm hooked but find the storyline disturbing.  However the scenery is so beautifully familiar.  Two episodes to go ... Salon.com has promised a 'superb finale'.  Let's see how that goes.

And now?  Sunshine and Bourgogne are calling me. 

Off and wandering.