Notre Dame is truly a beautiful place. Ancient stones rising to dizzying heights above, gorgeous art everywhere you turn, stained glass filtering the light. As we walked quietly through this massive building, my only regret was that I wouldn't be able to tell my Dad about the experience.
Not long before we left on our trip my Dad had died following a short, but vicious battle with cancer. I say 'short' because I wasn't ready to lose my father, but then, I'm not sure I ever would have been ready. Anyone who has watched a loved one wasting away from this disease knows at the end that it can't be a short enough journey. Sitting with my Dad during those last summer afternoons he and I would talk about the upcoming trip and how excited he was for Mike and I to go. Now we were finally here, and I couldn't pick up the phone and call.
My eye was caught by candles flickering in spiralling metal holders. And I knew then what I could do. My father was not Catholic, in fact, he was a retired Mennonite minister. But as I lit a candle for my father at Notre Dame, I knew he would have been pleased.
"There are stars who's radiance is visible on earth though they have long been extinct. There are people who's brilliance continues to light the world though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the nights are dark. They light the way for human kind." Hannah Sennesh 1921-1944
Hot Milk for my Coffee
Every morning at the hotel we started the day with an incredible continental breakfast. The coffee was served with a pitcher of hot milk, for goodness sake! I realized about half way through the trip that if I used the extra hot milk on my morning bowl of granola, the chunks of dark chocolate in the cereal would melt and my breakfast experience was raised to a whole new level of wonderful.
Early Morning Mist
Mike is a morning person. I am not. One of the reasons we have survived living together this long is that Mike takes early morning walks when we are on vacation and leaves me to wake up on my own. He especially enjoyed his early walks in the neighborhood around our hotel. It was cool and quiet, the shopkeepers just opening up, deliveries being made, window washers on bikes with all the tools of their trade loaded up behind them, and he could just walk along, enjoying a glimpse into the everyday life of the people who lived in the city. On one of his morning walks he decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower, since it was just around the corner, and after all, how often was he going to get that opportunity. It was a drizzly morning, which felt like home to him, since we live in Oregon, and as he rounded the corner and the Eiffel Tower came into view he was struck by how beautiful it was. Wreathed in mist, the top disappearing into the clouds, it was truly a magical sight.