Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Kingdom for a Staircase

So there was this one lovely day when I had a long break as did my lovely British companion, we had an amazing port of call, and permission to walk about together without breaking any rules. Glory be, what shall we do? I really wanted to take him to Eze, this staggering cliffside medieval village. We go to the tour office and they map out the multiple buses we will need to take to reach our destination, but after about 30 minutes of waiting for the first bus to arrive, we decide this is a futile exercise seriously cutting into the limited time we have together so we decide to ditch the idea of Eze and simply explore on foot the beautiful, picturesque village of Villefranche.

“What would you like to do my friend?” I query.

“I’m up for whate’er, so long as it is not too taxing.”

Okey doke. So off we set on our grand adventure. Cut to, we are now lost in the French Alps, climbing uphill from the same village for the second time. I fear we shall soon require repelling equipment. My companion is still friendly but fatigued and at some point I am certain I shall just have to mount him to my back like a Sherpa. We are walking along a stone wall which seems to continue well beyond the horizon line yet I am certain that around each corner we shall find the end and an exit but all we seem to find is more wall.

We come to a little one lane road, hedged with bright pink flowers; beautiful to behold and the scent is intoxicating. There are four cars parked in the lot of nowhere, and even stranger, two police officers ticketing the forgotten vehicles inhabiting this desolate paradise.

One officer looks up, hearing our footsteps and with a look of confusion on his face exclaims, “What is it you seek? There is nothing here?”

What is it we seek? Shelter…sustenance…stairs that go down…any of these things would suffice.

My companion, the more level-minded of the two of us thinks to ask directions and we set out in the direction in which they point. Yes, they are correct. We can see the ship. It is so close it appears we could nearly touch it. Wish we hadn’t tendered* that day!!

*For anyone not familiar with this term, tendering is when a ship drops anchor in a port rather than tying to a dock and guests take a smaller boat to and from shore.

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