The sun came out yesterday. Therefore, I walked and walked and walked some more. We hadn't seen the sun for 8 days. As a result, I rushed to get out to take resource photographs and do some exploring. I walked from 10 a.m. until almost 4 p.m. with only a small break for a bite to eat for lunch. No break was taken for the eating of an almond croissant that I had before lunch. That was enjoyed on the move.
Prior to the croissant, I visited the Saint Malo Church which was lovely. The experience was made more enjoyable as a result of my interaction with an elderly man. I encountered him before entering the building. I was fascinated with the Hebrew inscription on the exterior doors. While photographing the Hebrew, the man approached me unsteadily. He was walking with a cane but was very vibrant with life. He spoke something to me in French that I couldn't begin to understand and laughed gaily when I responded with my new favorite phrase, "Je ne comprends pas." I followed him into the building and was rewarded by the beauty that I found within. I love old churches, cathedrals and basilicas. This is somewhat inexplicable to me given my Jewish heritage. Always concerned that I don't offend anyone present to pray, I become very aware of any noise that I make in these buildings. So there I was, quietly taking photographs when the elderly gentleman appeared. He led me to the chapel with great pride. When he saw that I was taking pictures, rather than be offended, he indicated that he would turn on the light for me. He then asked where I was from. When I told him, he was excited to tell me that he had lived in Exeter for 7-8 years. I couldn't understand a word until he wrote it down for me. I still didn't understand why he was excited that he had lived in Exeter, only realizing after our interchange that he must have thought I was British! He then asked if I was Catholic?... non, Protestant?... non. Bear in mind, I had read how to say that I was Jewish just the night before, thinking all the while that my roots would likely never come up in conversation here. I mean, what were the odds? I still couldn't get him to understand me. I drew a Star of David which left him baffled and then I think that he finally got it. I explained that I loved cathedrals (in my pidgeon French) and he seemed to understand. Loving beauty is a universal language. The interchange was charming. Enchante.
Dinan is best enjoyed on a sunny day! I have included a photo of the interior of the Basilica and also of the gate to the city in the sunshine.
The rain is persistent which is a bit disappointing, but Sarah and I went to a magical area yesterday. We went to the Forest of Paimpont- the ancient "Brocellande" where, according to the songs of the Middle Ages, the sorcerer Merlin and the fairy Viviane lived. The King Arthur legend has always held me captive, so I was happy to go to this forest. The weather didn't cooperate, but I did get some good resource for some future paintings and as luck would have it, when Sarah and I felt the need for lunch, a delightful restaurant appeared. There was indeed some charm in the day.
A new favorite vice has become a part of my life. Ile flottant is merigue floating in creme anglaise which Sarah dubbed the nectar of the gods. She is not far off with that accessment. Oh, yes, one more thing... it also has caramel drizzed over the whole dish. Life is good!
A little more magic occurred yesterday, I found out that my painting, "Veiled in Aspiration" won a merit award in the national juried show "Shades of Pastel," sponsored by the Maryland Pastel Society. You may see that painting by going to my website: www.lynngoldstein.com.
I have included a picture of the vice as well as an image of me in Dinan, one of the loveliest cities I have been fortunate to visit!
The sun was making a bid for sovreignty before the clouds won out this morning. No matter, I was determined to squeeze every last moment out of my time here in Dinan. Sarah had been in town several weeks ago and told me about the church bells ringing in the morning. I hadn't heard them, so out I went to do just that. The chimes started at 10:00 a.m., while I was climbing Rue de Jerzual, I wanted to be closer to the church to hear the bells reverberate off of the stone buildings so I hastened my gait. I was needlessly concerned. The bells continued from Saint Saviour's for a full ten minutes, and then following that, right on cue, the bells began emanating from Saint Malo Church. Between both the churches, the bells rang for almost thirty minutes. The only other sound was made by the cars rumbling over the cobblestone streets. I was enthralled. Because of all the stone buildings the sound bounced back and forth. It was a moment in time that I won't soon forget.
The other day I went to Saint Saviour's Church. I wrote about going to what I thought was Saint Saviour's earlier in my postings only to discover that I had the wrong church! I was actually in Saint Malo Church. I have since corrected my post. Anyway, this is not a new reflection from anyone, but I am in awe of the history present all over Europe. The history of Saint Savior's Church is a fascinating one. In 1112, a young knight from Dinan set off for the Crusades. In the midst of battle, he made a vow that if he should ever see Dinan again, he would pay for the building of a church to be named Saint Saviour's. He did return and he made good on his vow with a commission for the sanctuary. Additions and changes have been made over the years and when the church was made a Basilica, gorgeous stained glass windows were installed.
I include an image of the church during the day. The exterior arches that make up the entrance to the church date back to 1120. I went out last night to take pictures of the town in the evening and snapped this shot of one of the arches.
The title of this post says it all. We have made it! The flight was uneventful even though Air France personell went on strike the day before our trip. I was impressed with the service and even the food served onboard.Our intenerary indicated that we would be served breakfast on the seven-and-a-half hour trip. Instead, we received dinner and a light breakfast. I am accustomed to picking up some horrible airport food pre-flight. Imagine my surprise when a fairly tasty meal arrived complete with a bottle of red wine. The Airbus 380 is huge, so the cabin was not claustrophobia- inducing even with over 500 people onboard. Sarah and I arrived tired, but pleased that our bags journeyed with us, got the rental car and headed out. I was the driver while Sarah navigated. Our GPS seemed to be working fine until we got off on the incorrect exit and ended up driving around Paris for an hour. Somehow the GPS magically inserted another address for our destination which only became apparent to the two of us when the "finish line" flag came into view on the tiny screen. Apparently, the GPS had different plans than we did. I am grateful that I have driven so much in Washington, D.C. over the years since I was sleep-deprived and driving in Paris. Also grateful that I am a night owl.
Our hotel in Giverny is very French with thin walls but comfortable accomodations. We were able to visit Monet's house and gardens and stroll around the town which is tiny and lovely. Even saw some really nice contemporary art in two of the galleries in town. I guess it goes without saying that our dinner was delicious topped off with our first crepe of the trip.
On a sad note, I can't seem to upload images onto my blogger posts using my iPad. It is a great device with some limitations. I have spent time trying to work around this problem to no avail. Many apologies. I will keep working on this.... Thanks for understanding and reading! Au revoir!
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