This is my response to this week’s Flashback Track Friday prompt, where we were challenged:
Where is your heaven on earth?
There are a several places which stick out as feeling like home, and today I’ll just concentrate on a couple.
For a start, I’ll stick to France. It’s always been right up there, when it comes to immersing myself into the lifestyle. I love French food, culture and language, and before the stroke, we would visit 4-5 times a year.
One of the places is Paris. As in, I spent lots of time there, just hanging out. Specifically, the area around La Mouffe street market, in the fifth arrondissement, a little way in from the Place d’Italie. Immediately before I met Mrs Bump, I was single, and used to visit there about one weekend every month. All my clothes, even, were French.
I could quite happily have ended up in Paris, but worked in IT which is a very Anglo-Saxon industry. And Paris has the same weather as the UK; it would be nice to be somewhere warmer.
I’ve previously shared one of my photos of the area. This was taken at twilight on a dark, December evening and I’ve farted about with the post-processing.
Speaking of warmer, another of my favourite areas is a place I first visited as a singleton, and we just kept on going back there after we were a family. In fact, Mrs Bump and I booked a vacation down there, before we were offered a cancellation slot for the wedding, so the vacation became a honeymoon! It is the Cathar region, right down in the south western tip of France (anything west of Marseille is considered “south west”).
The first time I visited the area was to stay in the tiny hamlet of Le Vivier, about an hour south of the main town of the area, Carcassonne. We flew into Toulouse, which is another hour along the autoroute. Le Vivier was so small it did not even boast a bakery! (which, in France, is a big deal. A van came out twice a week.)
You can see the typical colours of the buildings there, plus that wonderful sky. The area is in the foothills of the Pyrenees, it is rocky terrain and one of the common features of the region are the old castles built onto various hilltops:
and Carcassonne itself boasts a complete medieval city (a World Heritage Site) about a mile from the modern town.
Just in that area around Carcassonne, too, there is wonderful food and drink. The village of Bize Minervois makes one of the most delicious cheeses (happens to be goats’) I ever tasted.
while a little way away, in Lézignan-Corbières, the Château Grand Moulin makes some of my favourite wine. And, because it’s not a partucularly fashionable region (strictly, Corbières, although it might also be known by the more generic Languedoc, which refers to that whole swathe of south-western France) it’s also very reasonable. A good Corbières wine is sublime, by the way. They’re quite light, nowhere near as full-on, say, as a Bordeaux or a Côtes du Rhône.
I have to say, though, just in conclusion, that these places, no matter how beautiful, are basically just bricks and mortar.
It’s not places, but people, who make life worth living. It’s people who create my heaven on earth.