Traveling mercies lift the spirits

April 13, 2019

As I was planning a trip to France, a friend remarked that she wouldn’t feel safe traveling to Paris right now. Unrest in the streets has been on the news of late. In a few subsequent conversations, others have shared that they would rather travel within the United States or at least travel to countries where they can speak the same language.

Each of us has our own comfort zone. International travel can be more challenging, yet I long to see parts of the world that are totally different from the ones I am accustomed to. Upon my return, I opened the travel section (April 7, 2019) of the Washington Post and found a kindred spirit.

Although Melanie D.G. Kaplan calls Washington, D.C., her home, she confided, “Every few months, I find myself falling into predictable rhythms and routines, and I would long for the open road. Adventure fuels me; I need to keep pursuing new things, or I wilt.”

My spirits soared in Paris at the sight of the Eiffel Tower and when I explored the treasures of the Louvre. I did stand close to the Mona Lisa, but it was the sculptures like Venus de Milo which impressed me the most.

One of the highlights of this trip was a chance to speak some of the classroom French buried in the cobwebs of my frontal lobe. The French seemed amused at my efforts as well.

My husband Ray and I navigated the metro and found the train station to purchase our tickets south, where we were to rendezvous with other couples from Lewes and Rehoboth aboard a Bordeaux river cruise on Ama Waterways.

We sailed to the city of Libourne on the Dordogne River, and visited the picturesque town of Saint-Emilion and the famed wine region of Pomerol. Although I enjoyed the wine tastings and learned volumes about the dedicated process of producing wines, it was the architecture and the beauty of small towns which lifted my spirits more.

Saint-Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back 2,000 years to when the Romans planted vineyards in the region. The town itself dates from the 8th century, when Emilion, a Breton monk, came to settle in a hermitage carved into the rock.

My spouse and I traveled back in time to visit the 11th century castle of Roquetaillade in Cadillac. The castle has been lived in by the same family for over 700 years. After our tour was completed, we were told our guide was a family member!

The trip was exceptional, but I was happy to be home just in time to see the Tulip Festival unfold in Lewes. And I so appreciate the history here, too.

Come summer, when the vacationers swarm the highways and the coastal beaches are a sea of umbrellas, I will begin to wilt. Then I will seek another new place to see, even if it is only an hour’s drive. C’est la vie! Grateful for the good fortune to travel anywhere.