dimanche 2 octobre 2011

Blue in green

Bild 151 For me. a journey always begins with a book. Unlike some friends, I'm simply not able to polish off one a day so it has to be good. Chosing it however, isn't always that simple. Hesitating between classics like Hery James' Portrait of a Lady, volumes of short stories by Scott Fitzgerald and Katherine Mansfield, thrillers with Brunetti or Wallender, I was paralysed by the fear of taking something too short which I would finish in a matter of days or something too long which I wouldn't like. Late on a Saturday evening, I pushed open the door to Dussmann's English bookshop to find a group of young students talking excitedly about literature with an Irishman leading the discussion from Martin Amis to Cormac McCarthy. Patiently I strolled along the shelves, opening books and letting my eyes run over sentences at random before I spotted the perfect holiday book, Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals, a memoir about the five years he spent on Corfu and his discovery of the wildlife there. I had his descriptions of the arrival one morning on the Greek island still in my mind as our train pulled into Avignon station where the heat hits you as soon as you open the door and your eyes struggle to focus on a landscape bathed in sunshine. Travelling South means cyprus trees which stand tall like stiff paintbrushes and a sky so blue it can only be a reflection of the sea. It means running your fingers along the twisted trunks of olive trees which have been there for longer than you can imagine, being jostled in French towns on market days among stalls selling garlic, honey and nougat, being swept away by the mistral with the sounds of doors creaking and lavendar shutters banging. On days of wind and rain, there are the churches to shelter in, sometimes of the simplest stone with only a single window and the flickering of candles for light, sometimes elaborate baroque. It means wandering the through the streets of Avignon until you know them like the back of your hand, pausing in the evening to hear someone practising the guitar or catching the snippets of conversation through the open windows. It means eating galettes in a leafy square and stopping at a patisserie for large pistachio macaroons, even if the ones in Arles close to the Place du Forum were still the best. On the last evening, an old man was sitting alone in the shadows as I made my way to the bakery on the boulevard Raspail which sold tarte tatin and the most delicious cake with pistachios and cherries. I thought of how I would miss the light, the colours, the streets so quiet as darkness falls where I could imagine living.

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Thanks to all of you for your kind comments for my last post. Reading them made me realise how I much I'd miss you if I didn't continue this blog and I apologise for any confusion caused by the title or content. I'll be back with more photos from Provence in a few days.

16 commentaires:

  1. Nouveau lieu, de nouvelles photos toujours aussi belles et pleines de soleil !!! Promesse d'un nouveau départ !

  2. I'm glad that you are back and have decided against stopping your blogging activity.

    Thanks for sharing those lovely pictures with us! Wonderfully moody.



  3. I'm a new follower to your blog.
    These pictures are lovely! I can't wait to see more!

  4. Yearning to travel now... will instead pick up my book and travel vicariously through words and stories. Thanks for these photos shared.

  5. So happy you are blogging again, loved your travel tales and your photos that make me yearn to travel again as well... losing myself in another culture, savouring its foods, sights and smells! And tarte tatin, mon dieu!! I am melting right now, Darling! Bisous from us both, Chrissi and Henning

  6. I knew you would be back, I was just sad to see you away for so long from this space. But I completely understand your reasons for doing so. I was so thrilled to read this post. It's so thoughtful, and deliciously long, and wonderful.

  7. I feel the same level of importance in selecting the right books for travel. I like the books to match the trip. I've added My Family and Other Animals to my to-read list.

  8. great to see you back! your photos are lovely as always, and I totally agree with you, a trip begins with a book, cheers from london

  9. @Alice - Merci beaucoup! Ca m'a fait tant du bien de retourner en France et de revoir ces paysages un peu oubliés.
    @Rosa - Thanks for being such a loyal reader and most of all for your encouragement. I know that you too have found it hard to continue but it's definitely worth the effort.
    @L.S - Thank you!
    @Tea - Welcome and thanks for the lovely comments.
    @Gracia - I love travelling but still those voyages with my book are what I cherish the most. I hope you go to some wonderful places in your reading.
    @Chrissi - Thanks for all the enocouragement and kind words. Hope both you and Henning are well. Perhaps next year you'll be able to manage another trip together somewhere nice. Will be in touch soon but in the meantime take care and bises.
    @Hila - Aw, that's so nice to hear and I feel really touched by your comment. I've missed this space and it's good to be back.
    @Denise - Ah, I can imagine the importance of books for your travels. I'm sure you'll like the Gerald Durrell, although it's perhaps nicest read in the summer or somewhere hot. Will have to check out what's on your reading list for some autumn inspiration.
    @Pity - Hopefully you're also enjoying an Indian summer in London, no? So glad you liked the photos. Take care.

  10. I'm so happy you're back Vanessa.

    Those photographs are stunning! The lighting is beautiful.
    Ah, the French light :)

  11. Choosing my book for travel is always a high priority for me.

    I always feel like I've gone on vacation when I visit you here.

  12. Beautiful photos as always. And the weather looks amazing.

  13. You really are a photo journalist... I can imagine these sitting proudly in any fine magazine. The thing I love about them is that they are so personal.. I really get a feeling of your eye and what catches it. They aren't the photos you should take but rather the ones that you must take. Glad you aren't leaving us all behind!!! Keep up the photos, won't you?

  14. I'm glad you are back on your blog.
    I follow you from only a few month and I love your photos. These ones are so nice!
    I put the same importance to my holiday books.

  15. So pleased to read your words once again and see your photos, which always are such a pleasure. Glad you're back....