At 5pm on May 25th, 2014 our ferry pulled away from the dock in Cherbourg and our five month adventure in France was over.
Our time in France was more than just a holiday for us; it was an adventure that has altered our lives in a million tiny ways, some of which are easy to articulate, and many less so.
It had long been a dream of mine to test myself in a country where not only was I unfamiliar with the culture, but also the language. Thanks to our time in France I can now say I have met the challenge and have lived to tell the tale. It wasn’t always easy but together we persevered and our lives are richer for it. By the time we left I didn’t even gawp at french speakers with a blank, deer-in-the-headlights stare when they said something to me, and that in and of itself is something to be proud of.
Although it has only been a few short days since we departed France’s fair shores, I already miss the dramatic landscapes that kept me in awe over the past five months. We drove more than 9000 miles throughout the country and travelled through and experienced a breathtaking array of landscapes — from the Mediterranean beaches of the south coast and the snow-capped mountains of the Pyrenees, to innumerable fairytale villages and, of course, the never-ending fields of grapevines.
Nowhere else have I ever experienced such varied scenery, transforming in small ways across regions and shifting through the seasons. We were sure that the black and gnarled stumps of one-hundred year old grape vines would never come to life, but slowly, ever so slowly, as the days got longer and the sunshine hotter, tiny shoots of new life began to blossom. In no time the golden hued winter landscape was transformed by the vibrant green of springtime.
As the weeks and months pass by and our French adventure becomes ever less immediate I am sure many of the details of our time in France will begin to fade from my memory. I know, however, that no matter how many place names I forget or, even more likely, French words drop from my memory, our time in France will always be with me in some small way.
And Britanny is very different by itself, while Alsace and Jura are two other worlds . The Alps ? And let’s not forget the North, French Flanders and Belgian-looking towns .
France is so gorgeous. I remember, from my time living there, how absolutely devastated I was to leave!
This is a side of France that not all people know about. France offers many places for travelers that are not shown on travel TV shows, books and magazine and this is one of them. I haven’t been to France but I will, soon.