Rome - Orvieto - Levanto Avignon - Barcelona Transatlantic
decide, when it comes down to it, where to go? Where to spend a week or so — to pretend or dream at least, to be a native? Every day enjoying, in other words, being indoors in that comfy but strange apartment as well as its environs, where people (familiars for the week) go about their daily routines.
And I am asking, are those daily folks likely to be open about their lives, and the larger question: can they be charmed to become friends for those days?
How should one
I still cannot fathom the changes I found here in Avignon. This arty wine bar has closed; the row of grand plane trees are diseased and have been cut down. Shock and sadness, but also gladness for having seen it before, in its glory.
One thing that narrowed the field of possible destinations, for me, is the population factor—or maybe its inverse. I am unlikely ever to develop a taste for masses of big-city folk. It seems much, um, homier to become part of a small town for awhile. One might find not as many harried citizens, and more people who are less hemmed in and impatient than big-city people—and for that reason have more patience to spend some time savoring daily moments. And sharing. With us.
In the end, I actually found it hard to meet and enjoy the French-folk here. Yes, my français pronunciation is strained and certainly hard for provençal ears; but mostly it was that the visit lacked enough days, that Michele's delayed arrival cut 48 hours from Avignon and reassigned them to a truly monotonous motel near Marseille airport. What time was left wasn't enough to bond with anybody, any place.
A larger and more
revealing question, then ... was this a place I somehow love the idea of living in the middle of, for awhile?
During the several weeks since returning home, I have tried to evaluate each of the locations of this October/November sojourn: would I select these places after the insights gained about each during the time I did spend in each? The tags on each button here, try to explain.
Only with someone who was really eager to visit historical sites, and who wanted my company to make that happen.
No, I would want to return to Tuscany instead, and spend hours traversing vineyards and olive groves.
Enthusiastically yes, with or without company; only with happy company I would stay even longer.
And no to this border town; I would look for a place on the French side if an overnight were needed to break up a lengthy train ride.
Avignon's attraction has more to do with the nearness of Arles than its own sights. I'd gladly revisit Arles, though.
Girona maybe, in the Old Town (Jewish Quarter if possible). But not huge Barcelona again.
Holland America, two words. No. Way. Garish decor, sloppy/costly bookkeeping on corporate level. Maybe as a gift, but still no.