I opened my eyes… I could hear the rain, it must have rained all night and all of a sudden pain, the moment my senses woke up. I forgot about the pain.
Why? It’s not time yet, it’s not until next week… But it seems that the walking and the excitement of it all had an effect on my body.
It rained, I was in pain and feeling rough, I may be also getting a cold…I was tempted to pop out just to grab some food and then stay in bed for the rest of the day. But I wouldn’t do that. Not on my last full day in Bordeaux.
I popped downstairs for breakfast. Malvina got me a pastel de nata, a Portuguese sweet tart and goat’s milk yogurt, in addition to fresh bread and her delicious organic spreads.
I love chatting with her. Today we talked about life, how she decided to never get married, living alone but with an amazing support network of friends and family, her career as a city planner, working for the government, it reminded me of Parks and Rec, oh I miss it… What a wonderful life she had, full of adventures and now, lucky enough to retire early she spends her time doing whatever she likes. She gave me advice, she made me laugh and made me feel awesome (she thought I was younger than my age but she still thought I was young and I should follow my dreams and not compromise, thanks Malvina!).
After about two hours getting ready, everything still hurting, I was out and about. I had a vague plan for today.
First on the list: A unique, quirky bookstore I discovered online, Machine a Lire. It was more impressive to see up close. And it was so quiet, very appropriate for such an imposing setting.
Next, another bookstore, this one of historic importance, Librairie Mollat, located where political philosopher Montesquieu last lived. It was huge! On my way there a group of school children following their teacher, like ducklings follow their mum, were on their way to the bookstore too, stopping every now and then for the teacher to show them another landmark. I remember when our teachers took us on day trips when we were 6-7 years old. Everything seemed so big, everything impressed us.
After a wander in the enormous bookshop, it was time to visit Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, the Museum of Fine Arts. I didn’t know what to expect, but in the end it definitely worth more than the five euros entry.
It was split into two buildings, the classic art in one side and modern art on the other (with an impressive palace in the middle).
It’s impossible to list all the artwork that impressed me but the ones that I still remember:
David holding Goliath’s head (Aubin Vouet)
God Hermes, devastated for Sappho’s, the Greek poet, death (Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse)
The Window a La Goulette (Tunisia) (by Albert Marquet), so simple but striking.
The Souliot women (Narcisse Diaz de La Pena) who heroically decided to commit suicide rather than surrender to the Turks back in 1803, and they did so by singing and dancing, the Zalongo dance, I guess not many would know the story behind it, unless you were born and raised in Greece or Cyprus).
And finally an original Picasso, Olga Reading
After a short break for late lunch at the first cafe I bumped into (not the best food I had but it was OK)
and a moment to admire the cathedral
my final stop was Musée d’Aquitaine, a museum on the history of Bordeaux and Aquitaine. It spanned over thousands of years of history, from the palaeolithic age, the first paintings on the wall, the Roman era to modern history. Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in Bordeaux!
And that was the last place to visit in Bordeaux. I made my way home to pack and prepare for my flight tomorrow.
I can’t believe I haven’t travelled on my own before. I loved everything about it. The freedom, the liberation, wandering around, getting lost in streets I’ve never walked down before, ending up in the most random places, discovering new things.
I wish everyone could experience travelling on their own at least once. It’s such a unique, meaningful, emotional, amazing experience, it’s hard to understand until you do it yourself.
I’d definitely do it again, although it’s great to share these moments with loved ones. Here’s to more adventures, small or big, solo or with friends and family, that’s what’s life it’s all about.