Posted on May 29, 2009
Je me réveille dans un nouveau pays. Dans ce pays vert, une chambre douce, beige, un grand lit fleuri face aux careaux. J’ouvre les rideaux, je me jette dans la vue, je survole les champs qui dévalent sous mes yeux encore endormis. Je me réveille dans un grand arbre au milieu d’un champ. Le silence chuchotte ta présence. In my leisure suite*, a place to meet my own… et j’y rencontre tes careses qui voguent comme les vagues, qui taquinent les rives de mon île… your Spanish Key** qui bat à ma porte… oublie pas mon coeur***…
*Leisure Suite – Feist (Red Demos)
**Spanish Key – Miles Davis (Bitches Brew)
***Oublie pas – Karkwa (Le volume du vent)
Posted on May 29, 2009
Un autre avion, un autre aéroport. Pour un instant, en attendant l’appel aux passagers, j’ai pensé à ton passeport Européen à côté de mon passeport canadien. J’ai pensé à ton drapeau avec mon étoile. J’ai pensé à l’air, à l’eau qui rejoint ta terre. J’ai pensé à tes yeux, grands assez pour traverser mon âme. J’ai pensé à ton coeur, plus grand encore que l’océan qui sépare nos continents. J’ai ressenti ta chaleur, j’ai pensé à cette partie de toi que tu as caché dans mes bagages. J’ai pensé à nos coeurs étirés d’un coin à l’autre de ton continent… comme une corde raide qui traverse les régions, les montagnes, les alpes, les rivières, la mer… de la campagne française à la campagne anglaise.
Posted on May 28, 2009
Il me parle d’une peinture qu’on a fait de lui. Elle me mène vers la pièce d’à côté, s’excuse du désordre. Je lui réponds que c’est vraiment la dernière des choses sur lesquels mes yeux ont à se poser. Elle me prend par le bras, le serre un peu pour intensifier le contact. Je réalise l’importance de ce geste qui me touche profondément. Elle me raconte des histoires de famille, me dit qu’un tel parle très fort, and who belongs where and with whom. Je veux la serrer dans mes bras, prendre le thé avec elle. Je veux qu’elle me raconte tout, tout, tout. Je veux qu’elle m’apprenne ce qu’elle sait des herbes, du jardinage. Je veux absorber sa force et sa douceur. Je t’entends dans la pièce d’à côté partager un certain étonnement que vous avez pour ma gentillesse. Vous me trouvez spéciale… je vous rend le compliment.
Posted on May 28, 2009
Sur le visage de tes grands-parents s’écrit l’histoire d’une guerre, d’une bataille, d’une vie qui témoigne de leurs exploits. “J’ai 92 ans!” s’exclame une fois forte, towering over me in every way. “… moi j’en ai 25…”. L’histoire d’une victoire contre les vents et marées. La fierté d’être encore là. Il est peut être un peu Acadien ton grand-père… nous aussi sommes plantés dans nos terres comme un vieux saule persistant. Malgré les grands dérangements, c’est notre résilience qui l’emporte, c’est ça l’histoire de notre vécu persistant. Ton grand-père et moi, comme de grands arbres qui fleurissent à chaque printemps… qui verdissent pour prouver que l’espoir n’est pas qu’une illusion perverse.
Posted on May 27, 2009
Ta terre m’est familière. Avec toi, j’ai découvert un chez-moi au delà de l’océan. Ta terre de sable et de quartz. Ma mer de sable et de sel. Tes galets dans la forêt. Mes galets à l’air salin. Tes fruits de terre. Mes fruits de mer. Je suis des défricheurs d’eau qui s’achètent un one-way-ticket vers l’aventure, sachant que le retour viendra de soi-même. De ceux qui y reviendront à pied s’il le faut. Tu es de ceux qui sont bien ancrés dans leurs terres, que tout le poids de l’histoire qui retient. Toi tu as un bercail précis, tu connais ton chez toi. Mon chez moi, c’est une diaspora à laquellel vient de s’additionner ton chez-toi.
Posted on May 27, 2009
Tu me dis que tomber est une petite mort. Je croyais que la petite mort était une jouissance qui fait revivre. Tu est de ceux qui préfère danser sur la corde raide, la tenir jusqu’au bout, persister jusqu’a la fin. J’ai justement besoin de savoir que ca prendra plus d’une tempête d’été pour te faire lâcher ceux que tu aime. J’ai besoin de savoir que lorsque ce sera moi que tu tiendras au bout de ta corde, qu’il faudra plus d’une tempête pour faire de notre histoire une épave.
Posted on May 26, 2009
Country roads took us further from ourselves that night. Sous l’influence de la douceur mielleuse qui fermente, il a suffit d’un seul contact pour rendre nos pieds inséparables, comme des nomades qui partagent un chemin singulier. Leur rencontre accidentelle les souda l’un à l’autre. Les chairs qui se caressent discrettement, away from the protective glances of our friends. There is no beginning and no end. “C’est malin. Eh bien, bravo vous deux…”
Posted on May 26, 2009
Nous sommes les Forest City Lovers explorant des Country Roads. “And no matter how far you drive, you can never take the ocean from my eyes”. Nous traversons les rochers bordés d’océans agricoles. Je t’explique la vibration du rouge qui explose un peu partout. Les coquelicots comme mes orteils parmi le sol fertile. Tu caresse doucement ma cuisse pour attirer mon attention vers une voile écarlate qui suspend un homme dans le ciel.
Posted on May 24, 2009
Mine de rien tu m’attaches. Tu m’explique comment aller plus haut. Tu m’assure que je ne tomberai pas. Tu me tiens, me tires par le haut, je deviens désinvolte et sans appréhension. Tu me permet d’atteindre un nouveau sommet. Tu m’apprend comment sauter, comment me laisser tomber en chute libre.
S’en arrêter au souvenir déchirant serait une erreure. Mon voyage de libération est soudain devenu un retour vers moi-même. Tu m’emporte vers la plus totale désinvolture. Je me retrouve à tes côtés, je deviens une nouvelle personne. Comme Alain qui retourne auprès d’Imo, soudain soulevé, une personne nouvelle. Je me laisse tomber dans le vide et tu me soutiens, m’apprend à mieux attaquer la montagne, compagnon de découverte en éternelle requête de mes sourires.
*Dans ce projet que j’appelle “Cartes postales” je souhaite recréer des instants, des moments du voyage. Ces dernières, un peu comme sa version physique, sont ouvertes, découvertes à quiconque veut les lire (étant donné qu’elles sont toujours envoyées sans enveloppe). Ce sont des messages qui composent des images en très peu de mots, car il n’y a jamais assez de place sur une carte postale pour vraiment y produire ce que l’on veut transmettre à l’être aimé à qui on écrit. Première addition en Français à mon blog, c’est un premier essai poétique en plusieurs années de blocage…
Posted on May 24, 2009
De l’autre côté de la page, dans la réflexion de ce jour dans le miroir d’hier, je vis à l’heure près les effleurements de ta peau contre la mienne. La peau… sus piel. J’ai encore l’Espagne qui résonne dans mes trippes, le coeur qui déchire dans l’absence. Il hurle la France dans les rues étrangères de Munich. Mes muscles se souviennent encore des rochers auquels je m’aggripait. J’y comprends rien ici. Duele mi corazon des couteaux de l’Occitan.
Posted on May 19, 2009
I’ve been in Cahors since Sunday morning now. If I haven’t written much over the last few days it’s because I’ve been busy falling in love with the Lot (that’s how they call this region). The way of life here is pretty much all about the food. I was welcomed at the Cahors train station Sunday morning by Alain’s grandmoth er, and from there we headed over to his gorgeous 18th century home. His mother had been busy cookin up some food since the early morning to welcome thy honoured Acadian guest. Now, I was planning to update you on a bunch of stuff that had made me fall in love with this place to the point where I never want to go home to Montreal again, but the magret is almost ready and my new friend Vince has just arrived. Yesterday, he took me for a ride around the lot to Douelle and Parnac where we visited the local vignobles (wineries). Today, after the food, we’re going rock climbing.I’ll try to describe other wonderful things in the next few days if I can manage to slow down the discoveries long enough to be around a computer to write. We’ll see I guess… Photo by Alain Astruc
Posted on May 16, 2009
As I wrote yesterday, I am now staying in Toulouse over at Imo’s beautiful apartment. This morning I woke up to her kitty (Shadow)’s cuddles. He’s a strange cat. Entirely grey and most of the time he’s pretty sketchy, but every once in a while he’ll cuddle the heck out of you. Lovely. Good thing for me I remembered to bring my allergy pills with me.
Yesterday I got officially introduced to the Southern France. We had a mellow day since Imo was getting ready to leave for Australia. The day began with some fresh, still warm croissants and chocolatines. A few hours later, Alain made us a tasty spinach and emmenthal omelet with salad and baguette with Saint-Marcellin. However, that was nothing compared to what I was about to experience that evening. Before dinner, we walked around the “Pink City” and looped around all of its pretty little streets, exploring the mix of medieval architecture and modern additions. We’ll be exploring a bit more today before taking a train to Cahors.
In France, eating is a way of life. You think you’ve been to Paris and experienced what I’m talking about? Think again. It’s in people’s homes and daily lives that the magic really happens. Average meals take about 3 hours to eat. The meal began with a good bottle of wine, dry saussage (fouet catalan) and baguette. Then came the main course. A fabulous and easy to make Poulet Basquez: chicken breasts served with a tomato and fresh pepper sauce and rice.
I thought this was prety great and was so full after this that I didn’t even finish my plate. However, it was far from over. Here, you have to eat a bit of everything. To make room for more, we had a Trou Normand (a shot of Jamieson Irish Whiskey) before the salad and baguette and cheese. By that point, I was delirious. My body felt full and overwhelmed with joy. Then there was desert: a Gianduja (pralined chocolate) mousse.
After that, we left the house to walk it off and headed down to an English Pub where Nathan proceeded to serve us typical French drinks. When in France, you have to taste everything. So, as the good sport that I am, and gastronomy and drinks are and intrisic part of the French adventure, I had a bit of everything. We first had some Perrier to help the digestion, and then had a Zizi coin-coin (Cointreau and lemon juice). Then came Bailey coco (Baileys with Malibu and milk) and another Jamieson. We topped off the evening with a wonderful drink called a Mauresque: Pastis and Sirop d’orgeat.
After that, all that was left to do was tipsy over by the 9th century basillica on our way home. By then I was repaying the local effort of the French experience by speaking some pretty heavy Chiac. Before heading to bed, we had a nice weak cup of Earl Grey. Oh dear, what a night. Apparently, this was a light meal. This is just practice, training, stretching. When we get to Cahors, it’s going to be a different story. I’m bracing myself… getting psyched up to gain a few pounds while I’m at it. Seriously, who gets to be so lucky as to actually experience the REAL Southern France lifestyle. I can’t even begin to tell you how truly special this trip is turning out to be. And there’s more… wow.
Posted on May 15, 2009
This morning I’m in Toulouse, France, waking up to a grey, calm morning. Last night was the best night’s sleep I’ve gotten since I got to Europe about 10 days ago. Imo’s appartment is pretty… sort of like a European version of my own nest. I can hear coffee being made in the next room… the open window looks on to a beautiful garden. Alain is leaving to get some fresh croissants. Does life get any better than this?
Yesterday we travelled from Barcelona by train. Crossed the Pyrenees by bus, then got onto the oh so pretentious French train after having crossed the “borders”. Truth is, there isn’t so much as a road sign that lets you know that you’re leaving Spain and entering France. So is the European Union’s reality I guess. You just have to know that you’re not in Catalunya anymore or else you miss the magic that we highlight in Canada with out numerous road signs. The official city limits and the more touristic welcomes to every single village you cross. Here you just have to feel it.
Crossing the Pyrenees was truly magical. Beautiful mountains, steep as walls and green with trees. In the far you can see taller mountains with eternal snows. Every once in a while you’ll see cascades of water rushing through the rocks. The man driving the bus took time to tell me stories and point me towards the most beautiful things to see on our way. Canadians get excellent treatment so far. People seem to love us… of maybe it’s me who’s lovable. Who knows.
Blogging has been difficult in Spain. The internet was unbelievably slow and being creative in public spaces was difficult. The two times I wrote was mainly updates to tell you readers what I’m up to. From now on, it should be easier to communicate the actual experience of being blessed by absolute freedom in Europe. The connection here is fast and the computers work well. Vive la France!
Where I am right now is Imo’s apartment. Imo is Alain’s fabulous girlfriend. Alain is my best friend in the whole world. In the whole world because even an ocean can’t stop true friendship. Last night, we had dinner and talked over a nice bottle of wine. I thought wine in Spain was fantastic whatever the price, but here, it’s even better. It goes down so easy and nice with a beautiful taste. Last night we talked about culture, about identity, about independance and the blurry boundaries involved in those concepts. Conversations are wonderful. It’s too bad that Imo is about to depart for Australia this evening. But the adventure continues…
Now Alain is pointing me towards a fresh croissant and I have to answer the call. Ah, vive la France!
Posted on May 12, 2009
I’m trying to remember where I was before I was here, now. So I’ll start by the present. Currently, I’m staying at the third barcelonian hostel in a week. Ideal Hostel is a nice, friendly and modern spot. Cheap as well which is always key when you’re travelling on a very small budget like I am. My first travel partner, Julie, left this morning. At this moment, she should be boarding the plane that will take her to London where she will transfer to Montreal.
Yesterday was my last day with her so we took that day to visit the big touristic attractions that we had been avoiding since the beginning in search for something more special. So yesterday we began by visiting La Sagrada Familia, that famous church with the eight towers to which Gaudí contributed. We didn’t bother paying the fee to visit it inside, but the building itself was gorgeous, though still under heavy construction. Then we took the teleferic up to Montjuïc, which gave us a breathtaking view of the city. There was also a cute castell up there. We walked around a bit then decended back to Passeig Graciá. We saw a few of Gaudí’s buildings and visited the stores we can’t afford.
We ended the evening at my absolute favorite bar in the whole world, Candela Raval. This charming place plays great music, has a gorgeous and simple red and white decor and the locals are mellow and friendly. I’ve been impressed to find out that there’s pretty much no such thing as bad Spanish wine. It’s fantastic everywhere and super cheap. We have been taking full advantage of that since our arrival (with moderation of course).
The day before, we went to explore the beaches located North of Barcelona. We made our way to Mataró by train and then decided to turn back a few stations because the beaches appeared nicer there. The sand was thicker, and the water got really deep, really quick. The colour of it was nicer though. It was pretty much cloudy all day but we were determined to have another beach day. It was nice.
The day before that we took time to walk around the city and do some shopping. Both Julie and I were stunned at the amount of VERY unique stuff they have in Spain. Of course there’s the usual tourist shops as well as a variety of stuff we could probably buy back home, but a few stores stood out with unique displays of Spanish imagination and craftiness. Even though we didn’t buy all that much stuff, it was awesome just to see all of that stuff.
If that was the10th, well that just about brings my blog up to date. What’s next for me now? Well today my great friend Alain is arriving in the early afternoon and I’m meeting him in the middle of a star. Then, Toulouse on the 14th, then… who knows…
Posted on May 9, 2009
After having visited the beautiful medieval town of Girona on the 6th, Julie and I headed South to Barcelona. We travel together like the perfect team. Train, metro, walking in a foreing city bigger than our own, we still managed to find a hostel within about 15 minutes of arriving in Barce. We were a bit shocked to see three boys walking into our dorm as we were under the impression that ours was a female room, but as it turns out, we spent three wonderful evenings hanging out with these fantastic American gentlemen.
On the first night in Barce-Barcelona, we had Tapas and Sangria on a terrace. That same night, the Barcelona futbol team won a big game against the Britts and the city went wild withexcitement. Meanwhile, Julie and I walked around the city, desperately trying to book a place to sleep for Friday and Saturday night. As it happens, all of Barcelona’s hostels were booked because of F1 taking place this weekend. But, troopers as we are, we finally found a reasonable one. So good.
Thursday, we went to Sitges, a gorgeous little town South of Barcelona. Unfortunately, as we were eating our sandwiches on the train, my porcelain tooth (right in the front) decided it was time to fall off. So, first mission in Sitges was to find some denture glue. This may appear pretty easy, but trying to communicate what I needed to the nice pharmacist in Spanish is not something I thought I would ever have to do. My lack of vocabulary to explain this peculiar matter made it especially tricky. Finally, I got what I needed, stuck the tooth back on and we headed down to what is probably the second best beach I have ever seen in my life.
The water in Sitges is as clear as what comes out of your fosset. It has a lovely light blue/greenish (sort of like a very very light turquoise) shade to it. It wasn’t as warm as the Carribean, but just as sweet. Lots of waves. Lots of sunshine. Though there was lots of people there, it was a very calm beach. Everything in that town was so mellow and beautiful, we almost regretted having to go back to Barcelona.
After showering that night, we met up with our three musketeers and ended up hanging out on top of a giant cat statue at 3 AM. Both Julie and I have a hard time remembering exactly what happened that night. We’ve just done so much since we got here that it gets hazy which day is which. Plus, Spanish wine is just so amazingly awesome and cheap that it adds a touch of fogginess to our memories. Before climbing the minou, we walked around and ended up under a parasol with a bottle of wine where our friends asked me to tell them my life story. Then, we ended up in an Irish pub, drinking gin tonics, and chatting with some very drunk South Africans. Then, out of places to go, we decided to climb up on the cat.
We didn’t get much sleep that night as we went to bed at 4AM and two hours later an asshole guy who was also our roomate barged in and made lots of noise. Then we slept for maybe another hour or so before it was time to head down to catch the only free thing on this trip… breakfast.
This brings us to … uh… Friday… yes. At that point we were tired, needed to check out of our current hostel to move to another one. We had a nap after checking in. After all, Spaniards like their naptime so much, everything is closed for much of the afternoon to honour the tradition of la siesta. When in Rome…
Then we walked down to the port and had some tapas with vino on a boat. On our way back to the hostel, we ran into a fantastic band that was playing reggae under a palm tree. We watched them a while and then headed to meet the boys in front of the Catedral. This cathedral was built partly in the medieval, by the Romans, and in the gothic era. It was beautiful. We walked around it and there were amazing buskers at every corner. We were hungry so we hunted for a nice spot to eat, drink and be merried. That we found after walking around for a while and taking in hidden parts of the Barcelonian barrios.
Today, we went shopping. Julie and I are both amazed by how special European fashion is. Everything appears to fit us better and the styles are to die for. We are however slightly puzzled by the fact that something along the lines of “Hammer pants” (MC Hammer) seem to be back in style in this city. Seriously, they’re everywhere! So, when in Rome… we’re starting the trend back in Montreal and bringing some back with us, ready for the puzzled looks awaiting us.
As far as the weather is concerned, it’s not too hot, but very pleasant. Julie is heading back to Canada on Tuesday, at which point one of my best friends, Alain, is coming to meet me from the other side of the Pyrenees. We’ll stay an additional couple days and then head to France.
Next, I will be going back to the UK, maybe Ireland if I can find a way to make it cheap, and then I’m going to visit my new friend Chris in Munich. Ah, life is so good!
Posted on May 5, 2009
Yours truly is coming to you today, live from the UK. After a short 6 hour flight and 2 hours of sleep, we safely arrived in London and successfully transfered airports without any problems.
People here are very nice. Who knew (this one goes out to Mr. Eld)! The most surprising thing about my arrival here is how everything appears to be covered with some of the most lush vegetation I’ve ever seen. It’s possible that they make it like that so that it makes a good impression on tourists like me, but seriously… it’s beautiful. I can’t wait to come back in a few weeks.
This afternoon, we are departing for Gerona, just a bit North of Barcelona. That should be nice too. A bed will definitely be nice. My body will thank me for it I’m sure. It’s a bit confused with the jet lag right not.
Ah, I still can’t believe such a short flight took me all the way across the pond. For those who are interested, I’ll try to update you regularly on here. So keep checking it out.
Cheerio ol’ chap!