well after 12 hours of traveling, i have finally arrived. and it is everything i hoped it would be and i am certain that i am far from discovering the true beauty of this place. i think that may become a goal of mine whilst being here. discovering true beauty. it may only exist here, im not sure. if i find it and have to leave it here, so be it. if i don't? well who knows what kind of beauty i may bring home with me.
i woke up this morning in chamonix. the sun teasing me by sticking its tongue through the lifting cloud. you see the last few days in cham (thats what the locals call it) have been nothing but low flying cloud. so thick one can forget the immensity of the mountains surrounding you. although their presence is never truly lost. their density constantly at minute play with my gravity. there is no real way to describe the feeling of being in a valley with such great mountains around you. you can feel them at all times, their quiet both calming and alarming.
i was sad to leave this morning. as always it is your last night in any town that you start to say 'oh it's a shame im leaving, im really starting to know this place!' and this was true of me and cham. our last night in town was spent bowling and drinking with clan jobson/post. by the way im aware i haven't mentioned the wedding yet. something worth writing about separately me thinks. i'll get there. don't worry. anyways where was i? my last night in cham. ahh yes bowling. i started of with a dominant strike only to slowly dwindle with each and every passing turn. i feel my decline was directly proportionate to the beers i was drinking. it was a great last night though and an excellent way to finish the festivities. we all ended up at wedding HQ, lovingly referred to as Chez Post, for whisky, late night pizza and to bask one more time in the abundance of love that has been encircling us all.
from cham this morning was a trip to geneva. after aimlessly wandering, (something i have done a lot of today) i eventually found where i needed to buy my ticket and all was successful. my first major hiccup came when i needed swiss francs to pay for a locker. of course i had none, all euro in my pocket, and i was stuck. nothing else to do but change what little euro i had into swiss franc and continue with the plan. but again hiccup number two when the exchange rate robbed me of enough franc to use a locker. but serendipitously it gave me enough for a coffee which i sipped slowly in the swiss sun and enjoyed my time in geneva.
hours passed and eventually im on the train. im now sitting next to oldest lady in the world who pulls out a full calendar with pictures and all and starts busily filling in the days. it must be the secret to her longevity. her hands looked like used rice paper. i couldn't stop staring. they were actually quite beautiful. i imagined she must have used them a far bit in her life. we both fell asleep pretty quickly as the french country side flashed pass. i was hoping to gain a cross section of france, travelling from south to north. it seemed i needed the rest more then the view.
a few more hours and i arrive in gare de lyon. a stunning train station loved by many an impressionist and myself alike. after struggling amongst the crowds with my suitcase i find the train to gare du nord, squeeze on and continue on my way. i was relieved to arrive in gare du nord. it is familiar to me, and familiarity was welcome at this stage. now comes my next hiccup however. apparently no one in france has heard of st erme, the town in which i now reside. it was difficult to explain to the ticket seller, and in the time it took, i missed my train. pas problem however, as another was only a few minutes away. so i get on this one but as it starts moving away from the station and i contemplate relaxing a little a subtle pang of panic sweeps through my cells. this train doesn't feel right. and it wasn't. so i know that my first stop, laon, is about 90 minutes away from paris, so i figured i would ride the train for that amount of time and hope for the best, but no matter what get off the train, wherever i am, after 90 mins. so i anxiously watch the clock, and fate intervenes. my train terminates at some back water station 90 minutes after i set off from paris. but now im stuck, and can only think to head back into town and try again. im watching the sun too as i know i have to eventually walk to PAF and would prefer to be doing this in the daylight. so i jump on the only train leaving town and re-asses my thinking. but would you believe that the train im currently on, thinking im heading all the way back to paris, is a actually a train going straight passed st erme. saved again. it proves to have faith in the universe. after a short while my train pulls in to little st erme, and i breathe a sigh a relief. only one though as i have no idea where to go next.
now i have read that it's possible to walk to paf from the station, so i figure it cant be too far. it was. not TOO far to be fair, i made it after all, but pretty far. some may even say bloody far. i chose a direction and stuck to it. i walked through three little towns, each getting smaller and smaller. every step i took matched the sinking sun. please let me find this place. i know it has to be here somewhere. and lo and behold, off yonder, i think i see it. ahh no, just a church. ok keep going dean. and luckily i did as i FINALLY arrived after walking for over an hour dragging my suitcase over france's worst roads.
but im here.
thats all that matters.
ill sleep well tonight i think.