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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Leaving my heart to Toulouse

My heart is in love again, with the taste of Toulouse on my lips. It is my absolute favorite place for reflection and tranquility, with it's babbling brooks, oceans of brilliant yellow sunflowers and golden seas of wheat! The view is spectacular from where I stand at Mt. Segur and I am chasing butterflies as they flutter every which way. Purple thistles feed the buzzing bees as I take it all in. The story here is both sad and awakening. I ask myself would I be able to do what the Cathars of old did in this place had I been in their shoes? If I were told to change my heart, my thoughts and my beliefs or die a horrible death, would I?

Now we are standing at the huge gapping hole in a mountain. As we venture inside it gets smaller and smaller til we are bending over sideways to walk though the narrow passage of stone and wetness. It is refreshingly chilly and comfortably dim with our lamps lighting the way...I love this cave Niaux!!! I feel as though I am in another world and at any moment a strange creature will emerge from the depths and darkness.

We said our goodbyes til next time :(

Friday, August 7, 2009

100th Anniversary

So the last time I posted I was tired and frustrated...I am enjoying myself and today I am full of energy, spirit, and smiles! I am a member of this organization and this tour is with the group of AMORC, Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crusis, also known as the Rosicrucians. If you are interested in learning about it the website is www.rosicrucian.org or www.thesecret.org. I only say this because, I talk about some AMORC things in my blogs about this trip as it is a special year for AMORC because it is the 100th anniversary of its revival in the U.S.

The Chateau D' Omonville is the headquarters of AMORC in France and is, as one can imagine, absolutely beautiful! It is like a fairy tale place here in France and I am thrilled to be here! This will be my third time at the Chateau and each time seems greater than the next. The company helps of course, but they are so welcoming and make sure that everyone gets to see exactly what they came to see. This year, obviously, was especially unique because of the 100th Anniversary of H. Spencer Lewis's trip to France. They had everything in his remembrance and the walls were filled with beautiful old photos of him and his family and trips and paintings. It was really nice! Even the bottles of wine (yes they gave us wine) had the image of H. Spencer Lewis on it. The Imperator, once again, walked around serving escargot, and his adorable wife made sure everything was prepared to perfection. We had glasses of rose flavored champagne, and for those who don't drink alcohol, glasses of rose water. For dinner we had delicious fish followed by a fantastic wall of french cheeses to select from! It was amazing! Great, great welcome!!!

Speaking of anniversaries, one of the group couples is sharing their 10th anniversary with us and we celebrated at dinner yesterday night! It was absolutely adorable!!! They are the sweetest couple!

After the Chateau we went to Chatre which was so beautiful and we stayed the night there. We watched the church light up at night with amazing colors of what looked like stained glass projected onto it. They were works of art by different artists. It was interesting. The next day we went inside and enjoyed it immensely.

Today we went to Mount St. Michel. It is the most extraordinary abbey and church on this island of granite. It is stunning!!! We walked around and the view is amazingly breathtaking and then we had the tour of the main building. Everyone in France seems to have a dog. There were dogs everywhere with their owners and they were so adorable running around jumping up to look over the edges. It was so much fun! Lunch today was delicious and we got to try the famous Crepes and Omelets of France. Yum!

Tonight we have free time until dinner and we are staying at the Best Western (hence the internet access). I am happy to say my Iphone is working again and everything is putting a smile on my face! The group is great as well! We are all bonding and taking care of each other! My mom got lost today and we all went in a searching frenzy to find her. She was in the chapel of St. Etienne! I didn't know there was a St. Etienne...I have a friend in Toulouse with that name so I found that fun! We will see him when we go there and I will have to tell him the story. Anyways, I am off to dinner!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tired

I know, one should really have no place to complain when on such an amazing tour of France, but the constant early to rise, late to bed regime is starting to hit me and I am exhausted! Yesterdays tour of the Chateau was beautiful and fun as I got to reunite with friends from the area! Last night we saw Chatre at night with projected art works splashed onto its surface in a light show...it was fun and beautiful but I hit the bed after 1am to wake up at 8am...as I said it is the combination of the days that made getting up the worst this morning. The area here is beautiful and the Cathedral of Chatre is equally awe inspiring with its brilliantly colored stain glass windows and interior design! I have little time to type so the next few blogs will be brief as this one and I never know when I will have internet on the way so I will do my best...off to St. Michel!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Paris Adventures so far

It is time for bed here and I am faced with the good news and the bad. I will start with the bad to end on a good note. It seems Oke will not be able to get her visa with enough time to come. We are still hoping. On top of that I am missing some shoes since they are in her luggage lol. My brand new Iphone has completely stopped functioning despite charging etc. so accessing the internet is now going to be twice as hard. On the bright side I am in Paris having a blast despite these down falls. Last I reported we were heading to the Seine River cruise with the AMORC tour group. I think I commented a little on how that went but I will add a littleThe cruise was great fun and we got to mingle with the different members on the tour. We have a wonderful crew of about 38 people. We saw the beautiful Eiffel tower, cruised past the Notre Dame, and even saw the Statue of Liberty...It was fantastic. The food was a mixture of interesting and delicious and we coupled it with several glasses of red champagne, red wine and white wine all followed by a fantastic crepe desert that I am craving more of. The boat was festive with live music and a dance floor and our table (as there were three) was given the nickname of "the party table" as at one point all of us were on the dance floor.

The following day was also exciting, we took a tour of Paris from the bus and saw many beautiful monuments and sites. Following the bus tour we stopped at the Cluney Museum where beautiful tapestries and other artifacts were on display. There were absolutley amazing tapestries with the lady and the Unicorn in one room that blew me away. In another room were elaborate wooden sculptures for religious purposes many of which looked like large cabinets with a secret scene inside. Another room was filled with decoratively hand painted old books were every word and image was done by hand with brilliant colors and gold. In yet another room there were metal sculptures with animals, flowers and jewelry. It was a stunning museum and an awe inspiring visit. I could go on and on about its many different displays that sparked a million ideas for my own sculptures.

Today was, of course, another adventure. To start it off right, my luggage arrived. Finally I get new clothes. The tour was by foot and we went to several churches including Notre Dame. Somewhere in there I got pooped on by a bird, I was told that it is good luck so it was a minor incident. The architecture of the past is so amazingly ornate and elaborate! My favorite aspect of today was being able to see this moving sculpture of the withering Jesus just fallen from the cross, laying on the ground being held by his mother. What was the most moving of this sculpture was that along with the Virgin Mary was Mary Magdalene who was seemingly weeping as if she was now a widow. The emotion between her and Jesus in this sculpture were amazing. Mary reaches out her hand to touch his and it is as though they are just about to hold each other. Their heads are pressed against each others and their hair seems to come together as one. It is so dramatic and overwhelming! I unfortunately forgot my camera but several members allowed me to take with their cameras and as soon as I get them I will post them. The churches look like forests to me and the work done by the artists who made them is remarkable. Everything from the Organ Pipes, to the pews, to the floors to the ceilings are completely decorated with amazing detail. It is amazing! I had such a great time!

Well we are off to the Chateau d' Omonville tomorrow bright and early and stopping at Versailles for a quick peek on the way. Hopefully there will be internet where we are going and I will be able to continue my blogs for all of you!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cruising the Seine River

It's early morning and chilly out but I am full of beautiful energy! Yesterday was just a taste of the tour and already full of excitment. We started the day out with fruit and chocolate filled crossaints and walked around til our feet got tired. Then we had lunch and filled ourselves up with French cheeses and bread. At 6 we met up with the group and got aquainted with everyone in the group. We shared dinner on the Seine river with red champagne and amazing crepe desserts. The view was amazing! We passed the Eiffel, and cruised by Notre Dame, and saw many beautiful monuments and famous statues all while enjoying the sounds of the violin.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dinner in Paris

The weather here is perfect for walking around so we walked the outdoor plaza and were soothed by the sounds of the water fountain in the middle. The breeze is refreshing and we soon found this tiny little cafe restaurant with the most adorable atmosphere, super sweet young waiters, and surprisingly great food! Turned out to be a wonderful evening :)

First day in France

It was a rough day so far! My friend Oke couldn't get on the flight so we have to visualize her getting here...I need my travel buddy! My parents and I are sipping drinks and listening to the live piano man here in the hotel. Our luggage didn't make it with us on the flight so we have no clean clothes aside from the extra large shirt air France gave us along with toiletries. I still feel good despite these set backs and am thrilled to be here enjoying France. Well we are off to find some dinner.