les marches

The tempo has changed, a mad orchestral crescendo replaced by the scratch scratch scratch of a record needle. That’s how every holiday ends for me, there’s a moment when I tire of exploring, I become retrospective, my petals curl inward and I wait for the nurturing touch of home. I’m surrounded by origami flowers, I sketch a thousand ideas in my notebook, they wait for my return to come to life too. I am content just being in this place rather than feeling that visceral itch to document everything. Missing a photo of that french clockwork or that sweeping vista no longer worries me. I have seen so much, my mind is full, it will digest and I’m sure soon after my return I will want more, but for now I have been a glutton for experience and I need to rest.

There is one finally destination before we commence work on the tour. A hair-raising descent that leaves my fingers aching from applying the break then we hit the silent Sunday streets. The only person we see is a man walking his cat, that heightens the uneasiness of a deserted city.

As we draw closer to the trainstation more people emerge but almost everything is closed. The train is packed though and it is a relief to be deposited in montmélian. The mountain rears up before us with a geometric pattern of vineyards so steep it feels like a birds eye view.

We ride, the asphalt sizzles with heat. The horizon waves in a haze of cornfields squeezed between houses. My ears begin to ring and my vision closes in, I need to rest in shade with a drink before deciphering the tangle of french instructions that have come with every airbnb in this country. No one seems to have an address, they have a treasure map.

We enter a French housing development, so different to one in Australia, contemporary techniques hidden in a skin of the old world. Our host has that right amount of English for me to improve my french. Not so much that I am complacent, not so little that we don’t bother to communicate.

They welcome us for a family meal, and their cheeky youngest sun puts on a snorkel for dessert. Earlier his entire face lit up when Dylan skirted him with a water pistol in the pool, it was game on! The other boys have already reached the self conscious age where something as silly as language is a barrier.

The humid air produced a rainbow before even a drop of rain fell. Then it rolled over and we were glad that our tent days were over for this trip and there was a soft bed waiting for us.