THEMES THAT YOU LIKE
"Travel is about the GORGEOUS teetering in the unknown."
"The contemplation of beauty, whether it be a uniquely tinted sunset, a radiant face, or a work of art, makes us glance back unwittingly at our personal past and juxtapose ourselves and our inner being with the utterly unattainable beauty revealed to us."


Vladimir Nabokov 

(Source: goodreads.com, via introspectivepoet)

"Travel is the art form available to Everyman. You sit in the coffee shop in a strange city and nobody knows who you are, or cares, and so you shed your checkered past and your motley credentials and you face the day unarmed … And onward we go and some day in the distant future, we will stop and turn around in astonishment to see all the places we’ve been and the heroes we were."


Garrison Keillor
21. April 2014

Thursday March 27th - Saturday March 29th, 2014
Cannes, France. 

      The Coast was gorgeous with white sandy beaches, beautiful promenade and people all over wandering…with their designer things and gorgeous high heels-I had landed in a place I was possibly not prepared for in my worn brown boots and leggings. I decided my time here was going to be spent like I had all the time in the world. In the mornings I got up and went down to this fantastic little place and had the absolute best almond croissant! With an americano fuelling me on, I realised when I travel alone I acquire this “I want to go there! …how do I get there?” kinda attitude. Without a plan I let my eyes lead my feet and found myself at the top of a hill in a unique little Tibetan artefacts museum and at the top if a 12th ce tower with absolutely incredible views! I then wandered through the streets looking at the food, the vendors, down the gorgeous promenade of expensive foot ware, designer dresses and handbags. Snaking through the alley ways of shops to the coast, with my feet up in a particularly comfortable blue chair, my bag on the ground beside me, I opened up one of my note books on my lap and began to write and draw. I was content to sit there drawing for the rest of the incredibly warm afternoon. I had ditched my jacket into my bag long before and decided that the new scarf I had purchased could go with every outfit. Cannes was beautiful and my days there were wonderfully simple.

21. April 2014

Thursday, March 27th 2014
Traveling to Cannes, France.

      Maria and her father, Marcel, were priceless!!! They drove me to the Bruxelles MIDI station  to catch my 7:10 train to Marseilles. I had thought they would just drop me off outside and say our goodbyes there but no. Maria came in with me, helped me find my train as her father went to park the car. With only minutes to go I hugged Maria goodbye and boarded asking her to relay my thank you’s to her father. As I situated myself in my seat by the window, Maria and her Father tapped on the glass of the window and then we sat there having a silent conversation through the window pane. With messages typed on phones, nodding, and Thank you’s. They both waited outside until the train had left, with both of them standing there waving as the train pulled away. 

     Oh I am a bundle of nerves, thinking I was settled in for my 6 hour journey to Marseilles, about 45 min in the TGV broke down. After waiting an hour on the platform and me scrabbling around deciphering French, the mass of people crammed into an SNCF train. I took this all the way to Marseilles except there were definitely not enough seats for both sets of passengers which resulted in me sandwiched between a particularly large man and the loo, with my suitcase and bag pressed to my side as I attempted to stabilise myself as the train swayed. Two hours later I had shifted and shuffled, secured a seat and was soon lulled to sleep by he endless blurred colours of the French countryside. 

     My travel confidence soon returned as I navigated through the station de train de Marseilles and boarded train number two to Cannes. About 3 hours past the time I was intended to take it I hand pester three different people double checking that my ticket was still valid. Thank goodness for the relaxed fashion of the rail system in France for they just let me take the next available train. 

      I arrived in Cannes at about 5pm, checked into Robert Alan’s Hotel just across from the station and dropped my things in my first ever booked hotel room (when did I become an adult!?!?). Then went for a walk around town and wandered aimlessly till my stomach lead me to a fantastic patisserie where I purchase a salmon quiche and two gorgeous apples. The fruit markets in Cannes were abundant with an array of colours but most of all the size and freshness of everything was to die for!! I could barely wrap my hands around the apple I had purchased. 

 

"Sleep on the floor if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them — wherever you go."


Anthony Bourdain
21. April 2014

Saturday March 23 - Thursday 27th, 2014
Bruxelles, Belgium.  with Maria.  

     Recovering from term exhaustion and travel changes, Maria and I were off to a lazy start. The first day was lovely with us staying in and running to the market for dinner needs and then to a chip shop for fresh Belgium fries to go with our dinner, I mostly sat and talked with her parents while Maria made incredible vegetable pasta with Brussels sprouts for lunch. Our recovery regime became filled with ample amounts of coffee and “lecker” food! 

      Monday morning, we ventured out, to the Plaza and around the centre of the city. We walked in quaint little alcoves where restaurants were set up with German, Dutch, and French being tossed back and forth like an elaborate game of juggle, I tried to follow all the different sounds. The weather was gorgeous, with sunny warmth yet a cold chill which meant even though you thought you could get away with just a t-shirt you were a little too hopeful. Maria and I walked everywhere and used the underground system. From the plaza, we wandered to Mankin Pis, which was entertainingly disappointing and quite odd for a small statue of a nude boy peeing. What is this fascination with male urination? Maybe you have to be male to get the oddity… We then wandered over to an absolutely gorgeous Cathedral where after exploring the alcoves and small chapels we sat in the pews. Until we realised we had been sitting there, exhausted and had gotten lost talking, for an hour, that we should probably head back home. 

        I really enjoyed our wandering conversations, from silly photos at the kitchen table and at lunch to making too many pots of coffee. The following few days were filled with mostly conversation which to me is so much better than running around with my head cut off trying to see all the sights. Maria, her parents and I talked about everything from her mothers art degree, American politics to the new exhibition at the BOZAR EXPO. Which was an artist by the name of Michaël Borremans, who began painting in the 90’s yet his work was oddly enough incredibly dark and appeared to resemble works made in the post WWII Europe. Maria and I we a little taken aback by his use of strange attraction to death and his refusal to depict the eyes of his subjects. 

      I enjoyed walking around the museum along with our stop off to gather more fantastic chocolate and swinging by the Belgium equivalent of the l’arc de triumph. With our energy levels still low we headed back to her home ready to sit talk and tackle another pot of coffee along with our new stash of fantastic chocolate! 

"I think one of the most universal human experiences is feeling alone. You’d never know it, but there’s most likely tons of people feeling the exact same way. Maybe because you’re feeling abandoned. Maybe because you realize that you aren’t as self-sufficient as you thought. Maybe because you know you should’ve handled something differently. Or maybe because you aren’t as good as you thought you were. Either way, when you hit that low point, you have a choice. You can either wallow in self-pity, or you can suck it up. It’s your call."


J.D.