I didn’t sleep much. My tummy hurt, I didn’t eat enough the day before and my subconscious went wild leaving me with messed up dreams again. And I left the heater on and I got really hot as well.
I woke up for the final time around 7am but stayed in bed until 9am, listening to the rain and the wind. I couldn’t believe it was raining. It’s the end of March, I’m still wearing a coat and the rain and the wind doesn’t seem to stop. I miss the sun, I miss the warmth, I miss the sea. But I was in a gorgeous city and I couldn’t let the rain ruin my day.
Around 9am it was time for breakfast. Malvina had everything ready for me. Fresh juice, hot, delicious coffee, fresh bread, a cannoli, an apricot yogurt, organic apricot and strawberry jams and some of the best honey I’ve ever tasted, although it looked more like an almond paste rather than honey.
I stayed for an hour, talking with Malvina. She told me all about her travels in Vietnam, Costa Rica, Greece. She nostalgically narrated me holiday stories from her childhood, visiting Surrey in the summer when she was a teen to her most recent annual trips to the nearest beach in Bordeaux, Archachon, where famous people own luxurious holiday homes but after they are off in September it’s quiet, perfect for the locals to visit, including Malvina who often takes her bike there to cycle along the beach line.
What a truly wonderful lady she is and what an incredible life she let. I love listening to her stories and I could have stayed there talking for hours but it was time to brave the rain and get out and explore more.
The plan for today was to visit the Darwin Eco-systeme Malvina recommended, renovated deserted warehouses in the old Niel Military Barracks, a sustainable, eco-friendly, work-space development. It took me about half an hour to get there and I already got wet after 10 minutes. But I was determined to make it. And I’m glad I did.
I had lunch (Oeufs mimosa and a cup of cappuccino) in this open plan cafe/ restaurant/shop, very industrial looking but at the same time cosy, with homely decorations and an impressive piece of artwork just outside in the courtyard.
I couldn’t see much of the development in the rain, so I decided to go down the Chaban-Delmas Bridge, a modern bridge which lifts up for ships to pass by. By this point it was chucking it down and I felt like the wind could blow me away into the river any minute now. And I was worried the Bridge might start moving with no warning, so I tried to cross as fast as I could, scariest 15 minutes of my life.
I had my music on all day today, since the rain wouldn’t allow me to pay much attention to my surroundings and I needed a distraction. I found myself singing along when the wind would blow my umbrella away once again.
After about 40 minutes of walking, I ended up in Rue Notre Dame, a street Malvina told me about, with many antique shops. A couple were open but I didn’t go in, I didn’t want to risk getting any precious items wet, ruined.
I was wet and cold, my hair ruined and by this point my legs hurt from all the walking. I suddenly felt very emotional. Not because I was sad, or upset. I’m still not sure what caused it. But it felt very cathartic letting all the tears out. Out of a sudden a large church appeared out of nowhere, just by Rue Notre Dame. A divine intervention.
I decided to walk in, rest my legs and admire the building, since I love old buildings, especially churches.
What I forgot was that it’s Holy Week for the Catholics this week (for Greek Orthodox this year it’s a week later). And there was a service on. There was a crowd at the front, so I decided to sit at the back on my own.
The church was just beautiful. Stained glass, large windows, the smell of incense, a very familiar smell. I started crying again, almost instantly. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a large statue of Jesus on the cross. It reminded me of Easter back home. I cried even more.
I’ve never been to a Catholic Service before. The beautiful singing of this older lady, the gorgeous church, the memories, all together, it filled me with joy, gratefulness and nostalgia. I sat there for about 20 minutes, crying, smiling, taking it all in. I thought for a moment to take a snap, but I didn’t. This memory was for my eyes only, it was a very personal one.
I left feeling lighter, as a weight was lifted off my shoulders, I left it there, on that chair I sat crying.
I decided at this point to get something to eat from a shop and go home. It was already 4ish, I’ve been walking for 5 hours, I was wet and tired and in pain.
And all of a sudden, my phone battery went. But I didn’t panic. I somehow, miraculously remembered how to get back to my temporary Bordeaux home and luckily I found a shop on my way back to get some food.
I’m weirdly happy how today pan out. The weather is not always ideal, plans can change but travelling it’s still fun, an unpredictable adventure.
I’d never thought I’d walk into a church in Bordeaux, on Easter Week and have such a spiritual moment. The magic world of travelling.
Who knows what will happen tomorrow (although I might be getting a cold…)!