I’m writing this one on a plane somewhere over China (and I swear we just flew over the Great Wall...).
I guess my journey is well and truly under way now, as I head to the far east after a connecting flight in Dubai. The last week has been spent in France, after Simon and I made the journey over there (car and ferry) with my two beautiful cats - who were going off to their baby sitters for 6 months! We had a lovely stay, and I think the catsitters' dog has more to fear from my cats than the other way round! It was cold for much of the time we were there, and the house and surrounding land were very traditionally rustic. It actually felt like a “taster period” ahead of the WWOOFing stints that are lined up for the coming weeks! There was lots of housework, sweeping, fire-building and tending (well, actually that was Simon’s department, and a smashing job he did too!). Plus cleaning up after messy pets, mucking out the ponies’ stable, squelching around in the mud while pushing a wheelbarrow full of hay and trying not to touch the electric fence... that kind of thing ;) As a result, I decided I definitely need to take my (pink, ahem, flowery) wellies to the other side of the planet with me, since more muddy squelchiness probably awaits there too!
After leaving the Auvergne Simon and I passed through Paris, before the next leg of our respective journeys, and we loved every minute! I had spent very little time in Paris before (a day, in about 2002) so it was fantastic just walking around taking it all in, and not least from the top of the Tour Eiffel! We also had chance to walk lots more in the evening, too. I’ve almost always travelled alone, so I usually avoid wandering around big foreign cities in the dark by myself. What a treat it was, then, to see so many beautiful monuments artistically illuminated as we strolled around at midnight! I felt very safe, which is perhaps not surprising in such big, busy, well-lit spaces. Yet it did strike me how many people, and how many women in particular, were out running or walking all alone in central Paris at 10 or 11pm. I guess Simon and I weren’t the only ones who felt safe there :)
Time to sign off for now, but I hope to be back soon (Wi-Fi permitting) with news from Tokyo...