Another six days have passed without a post, but in my defense:
Yes, I’m in south central France, on the borders of the Correze, Eleanor of Aquitaine country… every pebble steeped in history. Something to take in and enjoy, slowly, with the meals that one also partakes of very slowly, relishing each bite. (They are worth it. Why hurry?)
There’s something marvelous about a place where human beings have lived and toiled for millennia, leaving their imprint on the land. Europe at its worst is crowded, expensive, stressful. At its best, it serves up a rich plate of history, worth every sweaty second in a crowded French train (SNCF, puh-leeze put more than 3 cars on your Lyon-Clermont line.) I am by turns enchanted and horrified by what I find here… I can see why some people left, fleeing to the four corners of the world, to places like New Zealand, in search of a better life; I can also see why others stuck it out and stayed, holding on to a culture that is still thriving, living, growing. And if they want to go on growing, they’d be wise to keep the gates of the castle open. Let cultures, people, jobs move freely… The best traditions of Europe are free-thinking and socially aware, to a point that makes Americans, among others, come out in hives. 😉 But the worst are always xenophobic.
Shut that portcullis, and you have Struthof. Open it, and here we are.