Ce soir, je voudrais écrire en français mais, malheureusement, je ne parle pas couramment. Juste assez pour écrire ça.
Sorry if I butchered that… feel free to correct me in the comments.
Anyway! Today is Bastille Day, La Fête Nationale, the 14th of July (le quatorze Juillet). Two hundred twenty-four years ago, the citizens of France stormed the Bastille (a fortress that held weapons as well as political prisoners) in fear that the monarchy would attack them and their representatives. Shortly after, feudalism was abolished. One year later, and perhaps the “official” reason for celebrating, a celebration was held to celebrate the end of the Revolution and the institution of a constitutional monarchy. Of course, this was short lived and preceded the reign of the guillotine… but ultimately led to the freedom of the French people from an oppressive monarchy and the establishment of France as a republic.
Right now I’m resting in my hotel room after a long day of good chocolate, good beer, and good company, watching Paris’s celebratory fireworks on the television. It’s interesting to me that so many countries celebrate their independence, or acts made with the intent of securing freedom, with things that go “boom!” They’re beautiful, most of them – bright flashes of light in the sky that rain down before fading into the dark. Yet they’re explosions and they’re dangerous and they can remind us of war. Many make the argument that we like them because they explode… like bombs in the sky. They suggest that we get a thrill over the big booms and such because they’re so like the sounds outside. It’s as if they’re weapons being fired off, which is the closest many will come to the sounds of battle.
Oh my goodness… I’m falling asleep at the keyboard! Must get these words out. Please forgive my typos and grammatical errors.
Today we explored one of Europe’s largest outdoor markets. They had several clothing items, bath items, food stands, etc. and all of the items were at competitive prices. I heard at least three different languages while I wandered from booth to booth and, in a language I did not understand, a couple of men appeared to be auctioning off fruit. Most of the products were not unique, but it was fun to explore anyway.
Then it was back downtown to the Grande Place for some sight-seeing, chocolate tasting and all around good times. We visited the shops of St Hubert, wandered the twisty little side streets and ate or drank at one place or another every few meters. I dread to look at the scale once I get home… but I must admit it’s been one of the most fun vacations I’ve been on yet! I found good travel buddies.
As I continue to drift off mid-typing, I realize some of the struggles this adventure of coming up with 500 words a day is going to present. In summer, the sun does not even begin to set until after 10pm… and I’m usually in bed by then. Yet, when you’re traveling, that seems to be the point at which you begin drawing your day to a close! Oi.
Abrupt ending. Good night world.