The late summer sun shines on Michigan and as we sit outside and eat meals in the open air and dappled light, I’m taken back to the French countryside we visited one year ago. We began our journey in the tiny town of Lagnes. It wasn’t a place any of us had heard of and was not on any tourist websites or guides. It did, however, have what we wanted… charm and quiet in a small town surrounded by the fields of Provence.
To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. ― Audrey Hepburn Many must have had the dream of tomorrow to create such a garden as Les Jardins Suspends de Marqueyssac. The Hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac are a wonder to see. This magnificent sculpture of green is my dream garden and my favorite of any I have seen in the world.
I came across a movie I never finished from my time in Lanzarote today. Why it wasn’t completed I don’t know, but it is now. My time there was peaceful, filled with sun and nature. I often found myself feeling as if I were on another planet and I think this movie conveys that as I travel through silent volcanic landscapes. Enjoy! For more information on Lanzarote, you can visit this previous post on the beautiful island in Spain.
In the early days of September, I wandered a city with walls that stretched on forever. I went out each morning with the intention of getting lost. My sandals wandered alleys where cream stone shone in sunlight around each twist and turn. Orange tiled rooftops created a quilt over buildings below.
Two sisters unite in ancient Athens. We stand on stone older than Christ and gaze at the city mixed with ruins far below. The sun’s last rays dip each column into a golden light and we wander down through green spaces and savor the view from below.
Seville you swirl around me, washing my mind with colorful memories of your streets with sharp turns and never-ending cathedrals. Bells clang in the air each morning and dancers stomp their rapid rhythms on stage at night.
Can you hear that? The sound of silence? Your breath barely even audible and not one noise from the outside world makes its way into your senses. Your chest constricts just a little as the walls and ceiling are mere inches from you and the quiet has left you with yourself. The world has been shut out and you must acknowledge this being you inhabit without any distractions of normal life.
There’s something about being up when the rest of the world is still asleep that makes me feel at home even in a far away land. It’s a safe, comforting time when society is silent and the sounds of nature take over. The light of the early morning sun is at its most gentle and even the hottest of summer mornings are tolerable. Morning dew and mist work their way over fields and birds start to sing. At 5:45 I rise to hike the Anello della Rupe (Ring of the Rock) in the hilltop town of Orvieto, Italy.
In a land of 200 volcanoes I walked on lava, black sharp bits crunching into the soles of my shoes. The red dusting on its ridges had a magnetic pull on my heart and the sea sung songs of islands being born. I hiked in the scorching heat dreaming of shade and watched lizards run to drops of water. I walked windswept beaches with cliffs rising 670 meters above to a lookout I stood on the night before at dusk. I watched a mythical wild goat rarely seen, rise from below the cliff edge and run off into the fading light. I sat in lava tubes listening to silence and shouted at caves that absorbed my voice, erasing echoes.
Sometimes it’s hard to pick favorites, especially on this journey. I was fortunate to have my parents join me in Spain for two weeks and this time one place we visited was the clear winner. We left the hustle and bustle of the bigger Spanish cities for the small town of Ronda in Andalusia. Its white washed buildings and narrow winding streets were easy on our eyes and our feet. The historic area is small and fun to walk end to end, weaving in and out of colorful shops and cafes. If you wander far enough you will discover plazas and gardens hidden around corners. Water trickles musically from many fountains and colorful churches decorate streets of worn brick. Manicured orange trees line sidewalks and fresh air from the rolling countryside fills your lungs.