Monday, November 9, 2009

Written 8 November 2009

Wow, it is amazing how fast time flies. I see my last entry was nearly two weeks ago. What to write about? What is there I would want to share? I face not a lack of subjects, but an overflow of material. So much is done in so little amount of time, each event seems a blur. Yet, there is a design to it all. Exact events and experiences are washed away by the streams of a continuous, chaotic schedule. What is left are the remnants of past experiences in the shape of new knowledge and understanding. Not everything seems as new and strange, yet, nothing is sedentary, nothing is ordinary.  I continue to learn, continue to lose myself in what was once unknown. Looking back, it seems so much. Like reading far too many pages in a book in too short a time, you progress in understanding, yet, you strain to isolate a single event and its impact on your overall outlook. I am lost, yet, there is something detached from it all which seems to take comfort in the course of events. I can't explain it, but there is an over-arching sense of progression and satisfaction I have yet to experience. 

Three weeks ago, feeling a little fatigued from a week of school and work, I promised myself I would travel to a different city each weekend. With a friend or alone, it didn't matter. Each Saturday, go to the train station and see something new. I have done just that the past two Saturdays. Two Saturdays ago, I went to Avignon. It is a beautiful city in the south of France. I spent the afternoon in the city, most of which was taken up by a tour of the Palais des Papes. I was amazed with it all. The luxurious, voluptuous halls of the palace, the seat of the church's once all-imminent power as ruler of man and territory, seemed so foreign to the church I see back home. There is no better place to see what once was and, now, what is than Europe. The sights from the palace's terraces were amazing. I was there at sunset, the sky was lit purple, pink, orange, and gold by the fading rays. The view was expansive, capturing an entire region it seemed from one high vantage point.  I could see where the rivers ran and collided with one another, the entire river-island city of Avignon, as well as hundreds of miles of countryside, was at my viewing disposal. It was magnificent, a place and a feeling with no match.

This past Saturday, I went to Toulouse. I was surprised by the size of the city. For some reason, it reminded me of the historic district of Philadelphia. There was a big difference between Toulouse and Montpellier and Avignon. This might be obvious, Montpellier and Avignon are more "mediterranean" style (don't know enough about the style to call it anything different), stucco, romanesque style buildings. Toulouse is more colonial, red brick buildings, beautiful palaces built for le "gloire" of past monarchs. It is a beautiful town, called the "rose city" or something to that effect (it appears a pinkish color at certain times, in certain light). I, like usual, wanted to get lost in the town, see as much of the city as possible. I did indeed do just that, making it across a great portion of the city in one afternoon. The only negative was the rain. It rained very heavily shortly after I arrived. There was no way I was wasting the afternoon and the money, so I stayed out in it and got soaked. I had to walk around cold and wet for the majority of the day, but the sights were worth the efforts. I went to a beautiful park, found a very neat, outdoor antique market, and saw a couple beautiful churches. If I was to rank the cities I have been to, Toulouse would be at the top. This Saturday, I think a trip to Lyon is in order. 

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