Recalling fondly this post from April 2012, written a year before we knew we would be embarking on our European adventure and when such dreams seemed like quickly-dissipating cotton candy dreams.
Six years later, four of them as an actual attorney, and I have found myself nowhere near Europe. Professionally, the most international experience I get is debating whether a Plaintiff is an illegal immigrant or reading a deposition transcript where a translator was involved. And, no, someone’s immigration status matters very little in the eyes of a civil court of law. Mainly, I use my French at home: “Est-ce que tu veux du thé, mon amour?” I find myself asking nearly every evening. Or in class: “J’ai une question…” is oft-repeated. My Turkish I use on Skype with friends, and my German? Well it is getting full of cobwebs. “Eins, zwei… was?”
What a difference two and a half years can make. Now, I have lived in France for six months, traveled to Turkey two more times, and am relearning German along with Dutch. And, seven very long years after that summer abroad last autumn I was able to revisit my beloved Provence and the awe-invoking Pont du Gard. This time, instead of strolling on top of the Pont we paddled below it, completing an 8km course in a kayak from Canoe Collais, a fun-loving professional rental company who asked us to do a photo shoot for them. (Check us out on their Web site and Facebook profile pic!)
As we paddled we took in the varied landscape, clear waters, and crumbling castles along the bank. Aside from our two companions who had driven with us, we were the only canoe in the water. Within view of the Pont we stopped for a celebratory picnic, chilling our wine in the cool waters, and heading out for a swim. Afterwards, we had the unique vantage of the underside of the bridge as we fought through the wind and rapids resulting from its design.
Kayaking down the Gard River under one of Rome’s most glorious aqueducts is the type of adventure we find ourselves seeking out more and more as we look for ways to be closer to nature and away from the masses. Instead of simply paying to walk across the bridge, why not seek out the brush-covered original footpath or float to a deserted beach for a picnic with a jaw-dropping view? Rather than letting our dreams flutter away into the pile of “maybe next year”s let’s take the adventure and see where we float to next.