Sunday, August 22, 2010
TRIP TO PARIS,FRANCE
I, plan to write at least three posts that describes my trip with my husband to Paris,France, City of Lourdes,France and Prague, Czech. Republic. This trip was planned after my mother died in 2006.We planned this trip especially one year after my mother died.I, was extremely close to my mother who after my father died, mother lived with me for 20 years prior to her death. I, felt that this trip might help me through my grief. If you can recall, my mother was a WW II war bride. She was born in Czechoslovakia and eventually moved to France. During all the years mother lived in America she never went back to see her family. Mother always told me she felt that a trip would be too emotional. Mother had limited contact with her family through letters and at times a telephone call. Many years ago, we did have Corinne, age 17 stay with us for a month. This young lady was a great niece from France. Throughout the years I maintained contact with Corinne. At the time of my mother's death, Corinne was the only person I could talk to in order to notify mother's family of her death. I wanted to make a connection with my European family that I had never met. Corinne was great. She and I made plans to meet her in Paris, France and eventually meet my French relatives. Corinne connected me to Philip, a distant cousin in the Czech Republic. We e mailed and he became the interpreter for my contact with the relatives in the Czech Republic. My husband and I planned the trip . we were to go to Paris for a few days,then travel to the city of Lourdes,where the shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built after three children saw the Blessed Virgin Mary. Lourdes has been a city for visitors both well and physically sick or disabled. It is believed that a person may get healed while at the shrine. After the trip to Lourdes, we would return to Paris , spend a night and then travel to Prague. Our travel agent told us we were "brave" for doing this trip . There were no of airport changes as well as a language barrier. My husband is from Ireland, but he hasn't been there in years. I, have never been to Europe. Was this too much? well, we left Georgia and was met by Corinne and her husband at the airport in Paris. Corinne was now in her late 20's. She looked almost the same when she was 17. We stayed at a hotel located within walking distance of the main tourist area of Paris. Corinne and her mother, Lilli, became our tour guides. we went up the Eiffel Tower. It was extremely cold and the wind was rough, but there was a beautiful view of Paris. Lilli, spoke "broken English". at first she seemed reserved, but that went away. we visited places such as the Cathedral of NOTRE Dame,museums, outdoor art exhibits. We ate at a curbside restaurant enjoying cheese and wine, which is common for French people. The highlight of this Paris connection was being at Corinne's house for a French dinner with the relatives my mother would never know. It amazed me and my husband how warm and open hearted they were to us, strangers, yet relatives. I, cried because I never expected this, Now I had cousins and their families. Corinne interpreted, as most of the relatives didn't speak English. We laughed, cried, ate a formal French meal, with home made pate'made by my cousin, and the wine and liquor was very much a common drink. ALL OF THIS COULD HAVE TURNED OUT TO BE A DIASTER, BUT IT WAS A BLESSING.Before I forget, the French people know how to cook and bake. There were numerous bakeries . I will never forget the Best raspberry tart that I ate. If you ever go to France, check out the pastry. Now, that I've said enough about the pastry, the following day we traveled by train to Toulouse where we would get a rental car to drive to Lourdes. During the train ride which was 6 hours we could see small villages with grape vines to eventually make wine. The countryside was so beautiful. We arrived at the train station where we completed our arrangements to get a rental car. At this, point I will stop and my next post will cover the trip to Lourdes and then back to Paris.