Ah, Paris. The City of Light. A creative harbor filled with artistic expression and decadent delights. The first time I came to Paris, I was nearly 24 years old. It was long overdue at that point. Building up to my expectation of Paris, I imagined cafes, sipping wine and nibbling on cheese, sexy accents, artists, gardens, fashion, decor and rich culture in every corner.
Some of us are captivated by old-world beauty. Perhaps it's the facades of Italian 19th-century buildings which still shine with gold, peach, lemon, orange, melon pink and earthy reds. Or the prominent town cathedral that sits on a lofty pinnacle overlooking the ethereal Mediterranean. Or the ancient Roman/Greco footpaths that lead up to the mountains which tower over the village with an ever-constant blanket of thick clouds. My heart isn't swayed by the riches of Monaco or the crowds of Nice. It stays with Menton, where the artist in me revived again.
There's nothing more rejuvenating than to stand in a middle of a lush garden. I'm a sucker for old trees, overgrown shrubbery, and flowers with entangled vines along walls or dangling over their pots. I don't need a lot of pruning. I love Mediterranean gardens; the ones that let the foliage grow wild and free. Someday...
WHILE VOLUNTEERING IN SAMOS ISLAND, GREECE,
OUR ONLY OPTION TO TRAVEL ON THE ISLAND: HITCH HIKE
Granted, there is an unreliable bus system or mountainous hills to risk biking on winding steep roads with no guard rails. But if you want to bite the bullet, go with your friends and hitch hike with the locals. In most cases, the locals are friendly and not out to harm anybody. Samos, Greece is a very hospitable place, but always use your best judgement if you do it. Our driver was actually a local cop, with a young face. He's only 19 years old! The fellow managed to get all 5 gals into a pick-up truck. And off we go to Samos town, or in other words, Vathi. I think we made his day when his buddies were honking at us as we drove to the town center.
Where in the world are you gonna meet a quirky, deranged, loud, emphatic, bickering, hyperactive, zest for life motley crew like us in this world? Very few places, I assume. We took on Portugal like a boss. On our 4th day, September 6th, Marcio, his parents and I picked up Marwane in Porto...
The night we arrived in Corfu, our taxi driver told us these wise words, “Stay 1 week here, it changes your blood, stay 2 it changes your liver, week 3, you’ll never come back…” Well, for his sake, it only took us 2 days to feel like we reached week 3. On our 2nd day, Marcio and I devoted the entire day to walk on the dirt goat paths of Corfu to the mountain tops.