Friday, May 11, 2012

Ah Ha Moments

There are times in your life and travels that you come upon a person or place that is so captivating, soul wrenching or inexplicably joyous that you don't ever want to forget it.  You immediately try to encapsulate the experience, storing it away in some recess of your brain to be conjured up at your beck and call. If you are fortunate to have a camera, you try to seal the image by taking a photograph.  Usually our photos don't do the real thing justice, but we need something tangible to take with us. 

I've had many of these experiences in my travels and even in my own back yard.  You know the moment...you see something beautiful or moving and it stirs emotion somewhere deep within and you want to own it, savour it forever...transcend maybe. 

I had never been to Paris and from what all I had heard about it, I was expecting it be cliche, so to speak. I saw the Eiffel Tower from the airplane as we landed and I nodded my head in approval like an engineer admiring his work.  After settling in our quaint hotel, we strolled down a tiny street in the Rue Cler district to scout out the great French food we had heard so much about. 

We sat a tiny restaurant table, jammed with natives and tourists alike, all jabbering in French, English and all manner of language. Our table mates - I say that because the seats were so close together - were two women, who by coincidence had ordered the same dishes that we had on our plates.  Not being shy people, we struck up a conversation.  After brief pleasantries and lively critiques on the food, they learned that I had never been to Paris and that we planned to go directly to the Tower the next day. 

"Oh no," our table mates exclaimed, "you must go tonight!  It's lighted. And it's only a couple of blocks.  We will take you!"

Who ever said Parisians aren't friendly? We finished our respective dinners and headed off into the night. Chatting and laughing, we took in the moment - the smells, the stars, the people strolling arm in arm...everything.  It was magical and I felt my heart starting to pump a little faster. As we rounded a street corner lined with huge trees, we entered the plaza and there in all her magnificence was the Eiffel Tower.  sparkling like a heavenly Christmas tree.  Huge.  Towering.  Stunning.


My Eiffel Tower...manipulated to look like what my mind saw in Paris:)
I caught my breath and tried to speak, but not words came out. I just stood there, transfixed.  And then I broke.  The tears started to flow.  Dave grabbed my arm, encircling me, laughing softly (he loves it when I'm speechless).  I just couldn't get over the fact that I was actually standing there...in Paris...in front of one the most iconic images in the world.  Me. Country girl.

I feebly took my camera out of my purse and snapped some pictures.  We rode the elevator to the second level as the ride to the top was already closed for the night.  I bought a little Tower replica in the tourist shop and took in the beauty of the Paris skyline, trying to capture it in the recesses. It was a magical moment and I was thankful. Humbled.

I doubt we will see anything that majestic on our road trip, but there will be moments, experiencs and scenes to savor and file away.  I am sure of it.


Laurel. Take a moment to have a moment!

9 comments:

  1. I absolutely loved your post! You've beautifully articulated the reason Mrs. Chatterbox and I travel--to stir and transcend the depth of emotions. And it's amazing just how quickly you can make friends overseas. I once ran through the streets of Madrid with people I'd just met because they knew a guy in a restaurant that made the best paella in Spain. It is still the best paella I've ever eaten. When is your next trip? Next Thursday Mrs. C. and I are off to Istanbul.

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    1. Never done Turkey, but my friends loved it. We are doing a road trip this year, from California to TexaS and back. We like driving, and I am looking forward to Taos and Sedona...nexct year, maybe Tuscany ( for the third time) Have a great trip, Stephen!! and thanks for your blogger loyalty:)

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  2. I loved your post and experienced much the same emotion when I first stood near the verge of Niagara Falls. It still stands in my memory as a breathless moment when time stood still.

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    1. Haven't seen the falls, but it's on my list. have you done the Grand Canyon....that was absolutely THE most beautiful, take my breath away place so far in my life. Have a great weekend, Cath.

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    2. Yes I've done the Grand Canyon too, and you are right. You must see Niagara Falls. Think of the majesty of the Grand Canyon, plus the sound and vision of thousands of gallons of water going over the falls every second. I could feel the power in my chest. It was beyond anything I have ever experienced so far in my life. Just wonderful. :D

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  3. Oh yes, those moments you pinch yourself to realize you are the lucky one actually in that exact spot of breathless overwhelm. I love traveling...here, there, everywhere. Sedonna is one of my very favorites close by. Safe travels...

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  4. Mmmmm- you've articulated that feeling so very well- reawakened some memories for me!

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  5. Sometimes the cliches ARE worth the hype!

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  6. I'm overjoyed for you! I felt exactly the same way when I first saw that sparkling eiffel tower!

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Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate all those who share and leave their comments very much. Laurel

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