Homebodies - Home again, home again…


Rita Friesen 
The Neepawa Banner

Once again, it was great to be away and it is great to be back home! This homebody strayed, first off to Iceland and then over to France, experiencing new foods and scenes, and refreshing family ties. The plot began when my daughter-in-law expressed a desire to return to France. Being a strong support buddy, I assured her that I would go with her (Sue may be more careful what she says in my presence!). I comfortably left all the travel arrangements and holiday plans in her most capable hands. I have no regrets. Not certain how my travel companion feels.

We began with an overnight in Edmonton, before flying to Iceland. Tickets for a day at the Blue Lagoon Spa, whale watching, puffin watching and an inland bus tour were all in hand. I must say, I was impressed with the way the island addressed tourism; transportation to and from our accommodation, pick up for the tours at our door, consideration for our luggage the day we were departing, always prompt and so considerate. Our guides were knowledgeable, informative, and usually entertaining. It would be difficult to choose a highlight, but sitting in a small crowded café and seeing a Manitoba license plate hanging on the wall could rate as one. We found quaint corners for dining and were never disappointed.  

Paris is breathtaking. There were days when the heat also took my breath away. Our afternoon in the gardens of Versailles was a roasting plus 40. Thankfully, I had spent slow, gentle hours there years ago, and so I coasted, just moving from place to place, staying present. Again tickets for the Eiffel Tower tour, the tour of the Louvre and then the catacombs were pre-purchases. No lines, no long waits, just meet at the appointed place at the appointed time. My daughter lives just outside Paris and if she wasn’t driving us somewhere, she was accompanying us on the train and Metro. It is/was an incredible gift of her time and talents. The supper on the Seine was memorable, as were the companions with which I shared it.

 Much of what I saw in Paris I had seen before. Not the catacombs and that afternoon is something I will long remember. For me, the time in Normandy, both at Juno and Omaha Beaches, were moving and significant. We spent time in the museum at Juno. So much history and deeply spiritual. As I walked the beaches, quiet waves lapping at my feet, I felt at peace. With the honor and respect extended to the men and women who served, the gratitude still offered for their sacrifices, their memories maintained, the shores are now a place of peace.  

 As is my custom, I journal, and leave the picture taking to others. I faltered in my resolve twice – attempting to capture the beauty of the bed and breakfast at which we stayed in Normandy, and the welcoming front door of the little home in Chantilly.