A Saturday Morning

Currently sipping coffee with cinnamon and honey (my new favorite–thank you, Leah!) sitting in the colorful, sun-bathed studios of Vintage Invites, the beautiful invitation company my cousin creates for. There is something about sitting here in the sun amid peacock feathers, leafs of paper, and lovely in-progress wedding invites that makes me want to create. As much as I love the excitement of  following a map, there is something equally satisfying about feeling established again, and finding fresh delight in the familiar. After two weeks of traveling in France and Italy–two weeks of sorting out trams and trains, of asking for directions, of getting little sleep and doing much walking, of bad sunburns and stinging blisters–waking up in a peaceful flat in Sweden feels about as good as it gets.

Being back in Scandinavia feels a bit like being home. Almost exactly three years ago I arrived in Goteborg  to visit Leah for the first time who was only a train ride away as I was studying in Norway. Yesterday I was looking at pictures from this trip–of Leah and I riding the ferry to the islands sprinkled around Goteborg, of having my first fika, and holding a long-eared puppy a generous Swede let me hold–and I’ve decided that being back in the land of kroners and kanelbulle is wonderful. I like England for entirely different reasons, but Scandinavia will always be my first European love.

Before stepping on the plane to Paris I was absolutely aching to leave Bristol. I was ready to close my books, lock the door and not turn back for anything. Funny how being away just two weeks has me craving my usual routine, but being in Sweden with Leah is a breath of fresh air. Having a proper shower and clean laundry has me feeling like a new woman. Nonetheless, the blisters gained from endless walking and sightseeing was worth it.

The Med

From Paris, I, along with Brian, Ashley and Gen, took the train to Nice, and it didn’t take long to realize the French Riviera really was magical. It was hot, tropical and felt more like Spain or Italy than France. I loved it. The Mediterranean was every shade of blue, refreshingly cold, and picturesque. The apartments and shops were painted in warm colors and the beach was lined with cafés, pizzerias, and gelaterias. It was definitely a holiday town. My favorite evening in Nice was on our first night. On a skinny street in Old Town we found a hole-in-the-wall pizza place and while in line, met an American man who assured us this was, indeed, the best pizza in Nice. From here, we returned to the Med and stayed till after sunset, sipping chardonnay and watching the water.

Most of the villages along the Riviera are quite close by, and on our second day we rode a crammed bus over the cliffs along the Med to Monaco.  I imagine Monaco was infinitely more glamorous fifty or more years ago with Princess Grace strolling the streets, but the place was still striking. I can’t distinguish a Subaru from a Bentley, but apparently nothing else lined the streets. The city was clean and perfectly well-manicured, and despite the famous Monte Carlo Casino being the most prominent feature of city centre, the streets were quiet and respectable. I spent most of the day on the beach, though, visiting with two Texans who bought all four of us a round (or more) of drinks. I tried my first (and last) obligatory beer and, even in Monaco, decided I did not like it one bit. The last couple of days were spent primarily on the beach, and I felt deliciously removed from normal life. From Nice, Gen and I flew to Venice, but I simply must do some essay-work now, so more on Italy to follow…






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June 2023