My husband and I returned home last night after a three-week holiday in Europe. I’ve always wanted to go to Spain, and we started in Barcelona, where we stayed in the Gothic Quarter. Our resting place was the Hotel Neri, which is housed in an 11th Century building in the midst of the warren of winding, narrow, cobblestone streets. The sheer age of cities in Europe boggles the Canadian mind. And I love all things medieval, so it fed my soul. My favourite place was Carcassonne, the most intact walled city remaining in Europe. It’s located near the Languedoc area in the south of France. I can’t explain my fascination with that period, and I don’t believe in reincarnation, but sometimes I swear I lived then. It is so familiar and soothing to me – the architecture, the tapestries, the art, the way they dressed.
I have a tendency to work all the time, but I didn’t work at all for three weeks (other than writing a book, which is supposed to be pleasurable, but isn’t, because I don’t like anything I’ve written so far… I read four books (including The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by my favourite author Alice Hoffman, which was extraordinary :), walked seven to twelve miles a day, and saw art in galleries featuring everyone from Dali to Picasso, Monet, Rodin and Van Gogh. I generally just hung out with my husband, who was somewhat faint from my undivided attention. We dined at Les Deux Magots in the area where Sartre and de Beauvoir and Hemingway hung out in Paris. We ate more croissants and pains au chocolat than is advisable for a healthy heart. And the wine – ‘o ode to wine :) I bought three pairs of shoes in Paris at three different loctions at my favourite shoe store of all time: Arche.
I am happy to be home – and home is Regina, Saskatchewan, in the Canadian Prairies. It is only six degrees Celsius today. A bit of a shock to a system used to three weeks of 25 to 30-degree weather. But I love this place. There are no castles and nothing terribly old. But there is wide open space and two adoring kitty cats, my grown sons, and dear friends. My home is my castle, with tapestries and a rich red velvet couch, lots of plants and books, and a groovy home office. I feel blessed and happy to live here, which wasn’t always the case. I grew up outside of Montreal, and then spent several years in Ottawa and Toronto, so I found Regina dull and not urbane enough for many years. But now I like its wide open spaces and zen quality. It is just so easy to get around here. Europe is crowded with cars zipping all over, noise and oh so many people. I love wandering, but love being rooted too.