Sunday, March 25, 2018

to Warsaw

A few minutes into my taxi ride, the driver breaks the silence and tests the conversational waters. He uses the usual gambit -- vous etes en vacances? (are you on vacation?)
Yes... short... just arrived... in Burgundy only two days... the strike... it's beautiful here.

He views that last comment as an invitation to continue. A local man, he correctly assumes I know too little about this place. He tells me bits and pieces as we amble along the empty road to the city. (It's the first day of Daylight Savings time and people are rebelling by getting a late start to the day.)

Do you see those hills to your left? Where the grand cru grapes meet the forest line?

A short explanation of vines and wines follows. I listen appreciatively, even though I was given an account of the ranking of grapes on my first day here. But, everyone has their own story, their own slant. And then he adds -- there is a trail over the mountain. A lot of detail follows. I'm lost in the forest and I'm not even hiking! But one thing is clear: there are trails. Bike trails, too. For example, a particularly appealing one runs along an abandoned railway line -- from Beaune (remember? wine capital!) to Macon (the famous white, Pouilly Fuisse, comes from here). Could I bike it now, at (nearly) 65?

My taxi man switches to talk of waterways: see that? It's the Canal de Bourgogne.
Gone are the days when Ed and I would mull over possible barge travels along the canals of France. But canal-side walks are beautiful! I recall some very special moments along the Canal du Midi in the south...

All this to say that one is never "done" with a region.

Earlier, I had watched the sun rise over the still sleepy vines...


... and I had to smile to myself: I've just gotten a foothold on Burgundy and now I'm leaving.

I eat my fantastic breakfast (Paul, can you do a very small omelette? Yes he can!)...


... and I take one short stroll to the foot of the vineyards.

(If it's Sunday, there will be men on velos on the rural roads of France.)


(Looking toward the village)


(Looking toward the hills)


The skies are tossing about the possibility of clouds and sunshine. I'm not sure which will win that battle. I do know that I can't linger to find out.

I say good bye to Paul and Jolanta -- an incredibly talented team of innkeepers who have created a masterpiece of a calm in this small village of great wines -- and I'm off, in a taxi, to Dijon.

The train to Paris is on time and it is, as always, a beautiful ride.


It's noon as we pull into the Gare de Lyon. It's proving to be an easy trip. My flight isn't until 4:30. Even if I wanted a big cushion of time for travel to the airport, I still feel that I can manage a longer walk. I adjust my pack, swing my camera over my neck and set out toward the lovely Marais district, suitcase in tow.


And since I'm transitioning away from landscapes for the next day or two, I may as well start turning  my camera toward people.


These are people, mostly young, that I pass in the course of my walk. They're all preoccupied -- lost in thought or conversation, lingering, hurrying, perhaps worrying. Here you go: Parisians.






Alright, one slightly more traditional pic -- vaguely of people, but really of this sloped square in front of the Centre Georges Pompidou.


And now I'm at Les Halles, I catch the commuter train to the airport, from where a flight takes me to Warsaw.

I must warn you about what follows next: longtime readers will know that my stays in Warsaw ratchet up my social side -- one that tends to be sleepy and lean back home, where family has taken hold of so much of my social space. Because I'm in Warsaw for a very short period (not even 48 hours), I can't think that I'll do much more besides spend time with people. And so from solo hikes through vineyards, I switch now to greeting longtime friends. You cannot say that Ocean stays rutted to one theme!

And indeed, my sister greets me with treats and flowers, and I bump into my friends who live just down the street who are bringing supper over in time for my arrival.



... and the lovely time of friendship renewal is upon us once more.