Sunday, 27 April 2008

The Goals.

Hi Everyone! It's been a while I didn't touch my blog. Well... now it got busier and tiredness and business more and more often extinguisheany desire to go and spring out emotions to the world. I have two things, which I feel like I wanner write about... And they are not particularly linked.

But anyways! I had a beautiful week-end. (Thanks to E. - my travel companion - who was finally back) Went to Saut du Doubs, an a-a-awesome place on the border right between France and Switzerland. I was told that it's the best time to go there now as the river is in its full water. And it was really amazing: it showed all the natural power of the young spring and the frantic current of the waking up mother-nature. The waterfalls and the whole
forestry were great! It seems I haven't tasted such air for years.You know, it was really funny to pass a bridge which connects French land, on its one side, and Swiss land, on its other side. And even more funny: on the other side of the bridge there was a table with all notes like "You are now crossing the border. Please keep ready your passports or other ID documents". And all this in a real wild forest where not only customs officials, but a forest-guard is not a very frequent passer!!

I was longing for a week-end like this with a proper sun and a real May warmth! To catch the first sun tan on the face and to doubt whether to take off the coat, since it's warm, or to keep it on, since the wind is still mean. In a word, it was probably the first proper fest of SPRING in Europe this year. And it was generous.

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The second point is... Well... I am sitting right now in a totally dark room at my place. After another amazing week-end day-out in the nature. And I don't want to switch on the light - yeah-yeah, one of those "no-people-and-please-no-light" moods. Yeah... and listening to Leslie Feist. One my American friend advised me, so I finally got to find her records to listen. Kinda not bad. Yes, so! And I got suddenly (and probably stupidly) nostalgic. Nostalgic and a bit... empty. Looked through the pictures, mine and some of my friends. And somehow felt that so much is behind. So much efforts, feelings, emotions, hopes, achievements and falls, people, friends, intentions etc..... MBA is over, many of the life stages are in the past. So, what now? I realized that all my life I had goals, very strong personal goals I was stubbornly moving to. I don't mean that I don't have a goal now. It is just that I think I am getting a bit (ok wanted to say older, but will say ->) wiser. And now the goals turn into some "bigger life pictures" and it both scares me and makes me feel somehow weeker and more vulnerable, I guess. I understand that I probably should no more be "egoistically" stubborn in moving where I want, but then... how to live without this "break-any-wall-on-the-way" movement? And how to keep up with all those dear and loved ones? Well, I don't know the answer, at least now. And don't want to switch on the light.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Week-end incroyable!

Last week-end I had a bi-i-i-i-g trip. In one set covered Switzerland and a fair part of France! :-) But what a travel it was!

So, we started on Saturday morning, early beautiful morning. The plan was already made: Basel - Colmar - Strasbourg. And so it occured with... mmm, slight interventions in-between.

We came to Basel around 10:30-11:00 am. From the first minutes I could sense this big city (well, big compared to Belfort) spirit. And besides, it was Switzerland, which per se meant a business flavor floating in the air. It was a pleasure seeing so many busy looking people in Versace business
suits talking to each other on the streets, walking talking on the phones or just loitering around and shopping, but still with a very busy view. We went to the central area to take a breakfast. After that there was a lot of roaming around and glazing at shop windows - the so called lache-vitrine, if my French knowledge does not betray me. We passed a fussy market square, which seemed very French to me, though the city itself was entirely German speaking as opposed to Geneva. It was funny making my way through the crowd of people and not cars. And it felt good!
We left Basel at around 3. And headed on to Colmar. It did not take very long, just about 1.5 hours, to get there. My anticipation of the town was: it is gonna be a little provincial ville, so what am I gonna see there? But E. was (thankfully) persistent taking me there and, oh how grateful I am for it now! To this town, we arrived at a big parking place and the first thing that surprised me was that there were so many trees in blossom just everywhere.

Taking little narrow curly and very clean streets we moved on to the city center. And I found myself in a museum. The only difference was that everything was real, people around, houses, trees, cobble roads. Live museum! Everything, every house, every balcony, every wall, every cafe, every person seemed to have had medieval history. And it didn't feel weitr at all. It felt peaceful and timeless. We wandered in Colmar and ate straberries, and drank chocolate, and tasted local spécialité - special salty bagels, the name of which I cannot remember now to my shame. But then there was time to leave since we already stayed far longer than was planned. Strasbourg was ahead...

We took our time for driving from Colmar to Strasbourg and, again, it was not long: in Alsace everything is not far from :-).

As many of you may know, Strasbourg is an officially pedestrian city. So, we had to leave the car at suburb parking space and take the tram to the center. We went down on the Kléber square and took a quick tour around the city center. It looked week-endly busy and the style (no matter how trivial it may sound) was sensed everywhere. We had a short tour, but it was getting darker and we potentially had to head back to Belfort. And it was that time when that insane idea was born - to stay overnight so that to see more of Strasbourg the next day. And so we did. And we, thus, had enough time for a proper diner when we tasted another Alsacian specialty choucroute, which is a close relative, if not a twin, of German sauerkraut served with a variety of meet and sausages.

Next morning we continued with Petite France, the oldest area of Strasbourg, incredibly picturesque and, indeed, very ancient. We went to the famous Strasbourg cathedral and saw famous astrologic clocks. An impressive mechanism to see! It was raining from the morning, which as I was told was a very typical Strasbourg weather, but it somehow didn't spoil the grandeur of the city and my impresson, even for me - the one who absolutely cannot bear rain.

We left Strasbourg around 3 pm and I understood that what I saw was still a tiny part of what Strasbourg could offer. But... at the end of the day, it's not the last time I was going there ;-)! The week-end was approaching its end and we had to go back to Belfort. But, it wouldn't be us, the two adventurous souls, if we would just drive peacefully home.

We decided to make the way back through the mountains. Vosges mountains. The car was climbing higher and higher and suddenly (you would never think) it started snowing heavily! Please keep in mind that it was 6 April on the calendar! I was naive enough not to take any warm clothing and shoes. And the weather was sensational enough to seduce us to get out of the car and to play snowballs. So, in the end I was wet and freezing, but who cares about such trifles. We stopped by at Gerardmer, a beautiful town in the lowland - a retirement dream. It was a little town scattered across the bottom of the bowl, formed by the mountains and the lake in the middle. We grabbed crêpes in the quay restaurant. It was a bright sun shine outside, trying to correct the weather's mistake melting the sudden snow piles. It was a short, but very bright impression, therefore when we left I thought that I should do my best to come to Gerardmer once again, with my special one.

Having gotten over the Vosges mountains, we had to cross another chine called le Ballon d'Alsace or also le Ballon de Belfort. There, weirdly enough, it was sunshing and felt really hot. So hot that we even discussed laughing that during those two days we expereinced at least four seasons, all at once.
When I started this post, I realized that I would never put into paper (into Word.doc in this case) all feelings and impressions I had during this all-around-Alsace week-end. So, forgive me for the dry facts and missing 99% of my bright emotions here. But I have an excuse: come and see it all yourself!