Paris was the first city in Europe that I ever visited, way back in 1986. Since then, I’ve spent countless days and nights in the “city of light”, and even had an amazing opportunity to “live” in Paris for a month on University business. It has remained one of my favorite cities in the world.
Despite the fact that I am not Catholic, Notre Dame has long been one of my very favorite landmarks in the city. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Pantheon, and the Hotel de Ville are all charming, but all of them combined don’t measure up to Notre Dame. Its impressive facade towers over the Seine, and dominates this whole area of the city. I’ve sat quietly inside, awestruck by the rose window and the the grandeur of the Cathedral’s interior. I have climbed the perilously claustrophobic, crowded and winding stairway to the top of the towers to commune with the gargoyles that stare out across the city from up there. I’ve spent a few warm summer days reading a book on one of the shaded benches at the back of the church. listening to her bells ringing out to let me know another hour had passed.
This past week, I watched the TV coverage of the horrible fire that claimed much of “Our Lady.” It was agonizing to watch and I couldn’t keep myself from crying as the intricately carved spire and roof surrendered to the flames. As painful as it was for me to see this, I can only imagine what Parisians felt as they watched helplessly while this treasure that is the soul of their city was destroyed.
I’m sure that the cathedral will be rebuilt and restored to its former glory and that its story is not over, but still, it’s going to take awhile for me, and for the world to come to grips with what has happened. At least I can take some comfort from the memories I have and the photos I’ve gathered over the years.
When planning for my Spring Break trip this year, I searched the Internet for hours to find the best travel bargains on my airfare and rental car. I could have flown round trip to Boston and rented a car for 10 days and spent over $1000; instead I discovered that if I flew to Newark, spent a couple days in New York, took the train to Albany to visit friends, and then rented a car in Albany that I could return at Boston, I would save about $400. And on top of the saved cash, I got to experience several different places, making for a much more diverse vacation!
Before my annual pilgrimage… pun intended… to New England for the Thanksgiving holiday, I made a stop in frenetic Manhattan and on a peaceful farm in upstate New York near the town of Coxsackie. Take a brief trip with me, first eating my way through Manhattan like a culinary King Kong, then down of the farm hanging out with some gorgeous animals.
Two and a half hours north of the Big Apple (or is it the Big Doughnut?)…and just south of Albany lies Lime Kiln Farm… check it out if you are anywhere in the area!
I’ve always loved fall in those places where there’s a definite change in the seasons, and there’s probably no better place to be than New England at that time of year. The cool, but sunny days and chilly nights, the explosion of a palette of colors that have always been my favorite hues, the reflections of what’s happening above that can be found in any still body of water, and the heady smell of wood fires, damp leaves, and hot cider donuts… These are the things that make me return to New England every October with the determination of a salmon swimming upstream to return home!
Before Winter sets in, let’s take a last, fond look at the Autumn. All of the photos below were taken in New England, mostly Massachusetts and Hew Hampshire.