Saturday, January 31, 2015

my travellin' shoes - Ferragamo?

Okay, now it's real so I can talk about it. You know I usually go to Europe between terms, at the end of March through April. My beloved, inexpensive and perfect apartment in Paris is being sold, so I wondered if I'd still be able to go - the fact that I could afford Paris opened all of Europe to me.

But Annie, a woman I met by accident my first year in Paris, 2009 - the midwives were on strike and paralyzed public transit, so a kind woman at the bus stop offered to help me figure out how to get where I was going; she was going the same way, and we walked and talked and have been good friends ever since - Annie put me in touch with a friend who lives in Turin but has a pied à terre in Paris. It's in the 14th, not as great a location as my last place a stone's throw from the Pantheon, but it's also very affordable and I have booked it sight unseen for two weeks.

So then I planned out the rest. I always go to vibrant fabulous London to see theatre, and coordinate with my young friends who travel at Easter and leave me their central apartment. The trouble is they never plan in advance, so I'm never sure when - or even if - they're leaving. But I go and eventually, they leave. So we're trying this again this Easter. I do have a friend who lives on the outskirts in case, for some reason, they don't go away. I won't be wandering the streets.

And then - oh my dear Bruce, who goes to Italy every spring and seems to enjoy my company. Last year, he guided me on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Rome, Naples, the Amalfi Coast. This year he proposed Sicily, but we decided that was a bit far. So instead - a week in Florence, with day trips to the surrounding towns, and then Cinque Terre. Be still my beating heart. I have just booked an amazingly reasonable boutique hotel in central Florence for a week, and see on Google Maps that there's a Ferragamo store right across the street. Luckily they have no big sizes. Brucie and I will go to Siena, to Lucca. And then two or three days and nights hiking the small coastal villages of Cinque Terre.

From there, a long train ride along the coast to Nice. And in the south of France, I'll meet my friends Lynn and Denis for an unspecified visit - either to their home in Gordes or Montpellier, or a drive into the French mountains. When Denis read my memoir, he told me the place I described camping with the Belgian Girl Guides, Vallouise, is close to his parents' ski chalet, and he offered to take me there, to revisit the scene of that unhappy time. Yay. And then the train to Paris, and home April 26.

I know, lucky lucky lucky. But it's work. Truly. I write in Paris, where it's quiet and I know almost no one. I am also visiting old friends as research for the new memoir - here's a photo one of them just sent of his wedding in Carcassonne in 1979, the year I'm writing about, which my parents and I attended. That's me in the background, on the left. That's the bride in front with her dad.
I'm spending time with friend Penny in London - we have an idea for a book to write together. And in 1979 too, I visited Florence and took the train to Nice and Provence. So this trip is purely research, my friends. The pleasure involved will be incidental to the work.

And if you believe that, I've got a prime minister to sell you.

No comments:

Post a Comment