Lucy Ferriss

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I've called this blog "Travelin' Thoughts" in the past, because I kept it mostly as a journal to record impressions of new places and cultures. But in a way, it's still a place for traveling thoughts--ideas that move through and past me, and out into the world. Some of these are literary, some just about life. It's a good place to open up the conversation, and I welcome your thoughts and comments.

A Spring Catalog

May 27, 2018

I have let this blog lie too long; any report on all the traveling I've done since April 8 will feel rushed. Suffice to list the places and a scant handful of photos. I'll post a few thoughts next time (soon) on all this traveling, on how it feels to come home to Paris -- and, now, how it feels to linger here.

Normandy, the first stop on our spring-break circuit of northern France, Denmark, and the Netherlands, some with friends Lois & Bob, some on our own.

British Cemetery, Bayeux

The Bayeux tapestry with its astonishingly comedic horses, the windswept beaches still boasting the wrack of the war, the graves of so many boys. Who will come here in 50 years? Who will remember how, having stormed the beaches, we leveled the city of Caen to blaze our way to Paris?

The King's Library, Copenhagen

Copenhagen. Canals, the peculiarly retrogade phenomenon of Christiania with its hash sellers and stoned graffiti, the Design Museum where this spring's theme emerged -- the confluence of Japanese and European sensibility. We would see this again with Van Gogh in Amsterdam, with Foujita in Paris, with Japan and Impressionism in Giverny.

Amsterdam, where we risked our lives on the bicycle paths, steeped ourselves in the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, Rembrandt's house. The narrow streets, the red lights, the sad, patient prostitutes.

Leiden and the flower fields.

Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands

Such beauty, the industry of beauty, the thousands of flat acres redeemed from the sea to breed and market the astonishment of color. 40 kilometers, give or take, on our bikes. We were insatiable, drinking in the explosion of blooms.

La Forge, Montolieu

Montolieu and Carcassonne. Another homecoming for me, this time with my passel of students. Not enough time in the village -- not time to wander to the bridge to see the bats at twilight, to browse in all the bookshops, but still the magical waterfalls, the ruined abbey, the crumbling, repurposed Manufacture. Everyone in town complaining that it's grown too touristy, but the charm remains -- unlilke Carcassonne, which is so overrun, it's hard to see the magnificent ramparts.

Oradour-sur-Glane, memorial to 642 dead.

L'Essart and Oradour. The orphaned lambs. The silent testimony of Oradour to a single day, a methodical massacre. The students cooking, cleaning, making themselves delightful.

Nice with Dan & Kathy. The warmth of summer. For me, a side trip to St.-Tropez to find Joséphine at the beachy restaurant where she works. A concert in Contes of a cappella music from Provence and northern Italy, mulled wine after.

Villa Carlotta, Lake Como

Milan and Lake Como. Da Vinci's canals, the Duomo. In Varenna, the mountains diving to the sea -- and, again, flowers. Gardens sculpted and crafted and filled with fountains. The snow on the distant peaks.

Munich -- by way of the night train, and the third bunk on top! In Dachau, another reach back in time to WWII; astonishing how full of information the place is now, including indictment of the citizens themselves. And such a strange contrast to contemporary Munich, with its mellow vibe, its parks, the surfers in the city, the gemütlichkeit of the restaurant where we scarfed down white asparagus and schnitzel.

Prague: Men divided & extinguished

Prague. The soaring architecture but ye gods, the tourists. Masses of them in the old town, whose beauty recedes outside that small quarter. More than the last time I visited here, I felt the place still pulling its way out from the muck of Communism. With more time, I suspect you'd find the hidden corners of this place; for now, a leisurely lunch along the river, away from the crowds.

Prague from the Town Hall

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