Saturday, August 11, 2007

Final Thoughts on our Trip

Wow! What an experience! With 118,127 steps over 56 miles of exploring on foot, many more miles by car, and 4658 photographs later, we could reach one conclusion - the beauty of this country continued to amaze us. That includes the beautiful art we saw in the unbelievable museums, which in themselves are magnificent. Versailles still continues to astound us as we revisit the images from our tour. The beauty of Paris and then later the small towns of the Provence area just continued to take our breath away wherever we adventured. The architecture from hundreds and hundreds of years ago, the cobblestone roads and bridges, real wood shutters that they actually use, bikers, fields of lavender, vineyards for miles and miles, terracotta roof homes, window boxes everywhere, prams filled with children and dogs on leashes nearly everywhere you looked. Truly, it was a walk back through time.

LaDawn and I were constantly astounded as to how they even built these amazing palaces, churches, and towers – nearly everything we saw. The French live in their history – everyday!

The pace of the people is quite a bit slower than what we have in our go – go – go American lifestyle. I “swiped” my credit card into and out of a ticket machine for one of the tours – nothing happened – I did it again – nothing happened. Then the attendant said the Americans are always in a hurry – he showed us how, in a much less hurried manner, we could acquire the tickets. No wonder their heart disease rate is so much less than the Americans – it’s not just the wine, it’s the lack of stress too – something to be learned here. Being there makes you want to slow down a bit too – and “stop and smell the roses” now and then.

The main thing that struck LaDawn and I were the people themselves – how friendly, how helpful everyone was - how just plain nice they were – that included just about everyone we met. At one point while reading a map, we had a couple just walk up to us to volunteer help. Heck, even the language barrier was not a problem - we all just picked through the words we knew and eventually got the help we needed.

People have asked, “Why were you blogging on your vacation?” The main reason is this. Vacations are something we all enjoy, and we all enjoy sharing the stories when we get home. But sharing the stories day by day via our blog, along with the interesting links, was a way for us to relive the day and also a way for you, our family and friends, to journey with us. We hope you all enjoyed the trip.

Au Revoir, Dave and LaDawn

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