I See London, I See France, I See Life and Take a Chance

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We arrived at the Liverpool John Lennon airport with time to spare so while John and Denise were dealing with parking their car, I changed my £ to € and then totally missed the Ryan Air baggage check-in until I was halfway up the escalator. Getting off the escalator, I couldn’t find the elevator, so went up another level . I was nervous by then that I would now have to go down 3 flights of stairs with my luggage, until I walked around a corner, where I thought there should be an elevator shaft (no signs), and found the elevator door. This is when I know I’m tired.

The flight to Limoges was packed. Apparently many British folks have bought homes in this part of France due to the affordability factor as well as the ease of travel with inexpensive direct flights on Ryan Air from Manchester to Limoges. It was an uneventful and quick flight over the English Channel.

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You know that saying how sometimes we are our own worse enemy? I do not always listen to my gut feelings, which is another way to say, “Listen to your intuition.” Many times I don’t trust my intuition and instead think it’s fear taking over. As recent as last November, my feeling was to cancel a trip to Mexico, but I went anyway. Probably could have lived without that experience as the heat was too extreme and I wasn’t staying anywhere with a pool on site or a good swimming beach. So, we live and maybe we learn, and maybe we don’t.

Ever since I was diagnosed a little over two years ago, with both a lifelong disease and a chronic illness, I still tend to push my limits until I melt into a puddle of pain and exhaustion. I think just one more step, one more mile, one more flight of stairs, then I’ll stop and rest. You know, the old adage of “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Idioto.

When I received and accepted this gracious invitation to visit J and D’s cottage in the Limosin area of France for a few days, it seemed like a great opportunity to see their place and an area of France I hadn’t been to, and, since I was there, I could also do a solo trip to Paris afterwards (which would be my first time in Paris). What my intuition had told me before even leaving the USA, was to go home from Manchester. But, I had to see whatever the experience had to offer.

On our first morning we were off to a village market day which was held only once a month at this time of year, and we hit it at the right time. All the market folks were totally warm and friendly, unlike the image people may have of the French. We also stopped at memorials from WWII along the way and in other various places during these four days. This area is teeming with history of espionage, heroic acts of courage, and memorials to the slain men and women who fought for their country.

At the market there were fish in a tank on the back of a truck, a beautiful young French boy in his father’s food truck eating a croissant whose smile I just missed on camera, cheese shaped into hearts, snails tucked into various concoctions (which I am sure, for the escargot connoisseur, were delicious), cooked sausages, beautiful garlic, and pointy-breasted aprons blowing in the breeze. This was the small village feel which I love to experience when traveling. It’s real and there is no pretense.

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I had asked if I could take this woman’s photo; I think she was telling me to buy one of her sausages, while I’m at it. (I didn’t.)

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A number of Dutch folks have bought places in the Limousin area, hence the wooden clogs.

We spent time on another day in the medieval town of “Uzerche which is called ‘The Pearl of the Limousin’ because of the picturesque setting. It was a center of influence and an important crossroads fortress under Pepin the Short, as well as the seat of a powerful abbey and later a Seneschal. This legacy means that Uzerche features castles, hotels, and other buildings marked by turrets that were built by uzerchoise nobility. ” (Wikipedia)

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We had espresso in a café with this poster.

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An art installation with the ‘metal man’ crouching at the top of this waterway.

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John and Denise wait patiently for me to finish meandering and shooting photos.

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When I saw the door to this crypt, I thought for sure the door would be locked…it wasn’t. I called out to J and D to come join me in a new adventure.

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John found a light switch!

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We were walking back in time to the 11th century.

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I loved this sculpture of the girl with her apple in the church courtyard.

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The River Vezere

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Check out the construction of this wall and the three

wooden beams built into the rockery to support the building on the

other side.

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On the right of this lovely doorway

was an off white panel of ugly apartment doorbell buttons.

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Off to Rapunzel’s tower with sweeping views. This was built in 1954 as a cross between a water tower and on a lark. I’ve read that you can go to the reception desk at the hotel across the way for the key and then climb the sturdy spiral staircase to the top for even more expansive views of the Limousin area.

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Marcel Champeix was active in the Resistance during WWII; he died in Limoges.

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Masseret Tower. The Hotel de la Tour is right across the quiet road in this former hilltop marketplace. (Reviews are good and rates are great.)

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We went to a grocery store where I was drawn to take photos of quail eggs and orange soup.

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On our last day we went to Eymoutiers. Because I did not have Internet access during these 4 days, I felt a bit untethered which is not necessarily a good thing for two reasons, 1) cut off from my family and friends, and 2) I couldn’t easily look up a place and research its history. As I am writing these posts, after-the-fact, I am learning about where we went.

For instance, this village of Eymoutiers is known for the tanning trade from the 16-18th century and the tanners were known as “skin-peelers.” There were as many as 20 tanneries along the banks of the river.

Back in the 7th century there was a hermit who lived here. When he was a boy, he lived in Scotland and was born to a royal family. Legend has it that he fell asleep on a beach, in a raft, surrounded by friends, when a huge wave washed the boy out to sea (Atlantic) where he drifted for 3 days praying for divine intervention. It is told that an island appeared, rising from the sea, and he was saved. Later, someone convinced him to move to this area of France and some cleric convinced him to become a hermit which led him to live in a small cell in the forest. He is called St. Psalmodias because it is said he was well-known for singing psalms all the time. He also performed miracles (in order to be a saint, that is a requirement) such as giving sight to a blind woman, rescued a man swallowed by a snake, and after a wolf killed his donkey, he made the wolf carry his burdens. Oh my!

Inside the church, there are wooden sculptures on the walls which are quite unique to the time period along with lovely stained glass. The town has an annual festival called “The Earth Blowers” which looks like fun and totally transforms this town. When I saw the town it was in the very early spring, and very cold, and from what I’ve seen online, the town certainly becomes colorful and crowded in the summer.

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The next day it was time to say “Au Revoir” to my gracious hosts: my cousin John, and his wife, Denise. They were headed back to England and I was getting on a train to Paris. Man-oh-man, I was tired but I had to do this. Four more days to go before I head home to my own bed. But first, it was one more step, one more hill, and several more miles to experience the City of Light. Ooo-la-la!!

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