Thursday, March 26, 2015

Finding Beauty Around Every Corner

After a very busy and hard couple of weeks, I recently found myself with an unexpected free afternoon and I decided I needed to go explore somewhere new to gain some fresh perspective. So, within an hour I was boarding the train and headed to the village of Maintenon.

Random side note: When I arrived at the train station I found out that the train was free all weekend because of the high levels of air pollution. Evidently, when the pollution gets too bad, they make public transportation free to encourage people not to drive. This was a pleasant surprise and nice way to start my excursion!

I arrived in Maintenon and realized I had no idea which direction the village was, nor where the château was. I was so excited to get out and explore, and I guess I'm comfortable enough with traveling, that I just hopped on the train and knew I'd figure things out once I arrived.  The train station was out in the country, with just a few buildings around, and there were two roads leading away from the station, so I just started walking down one of them. Along the way I stopped someone on the street to ask for directions and was pleasantly surprised to find I was heading in the right direction, and it was only a short walk before I arrived in town. The village was exactly what I had imagined a traditional French village would look like before I ever came to France, and I was awestruck by the unique beauty that surprised me around every corner.


I made my way to the château of Maintenon and enjoyed a stroll through the nearly empty gardens, which is a rare luxury at most monuments and museums here in France. There is an ancient aqueduct that runs through the village that was truly awesome, and there were many canals running through the village and surrounding the château that felt very peaceful and romantic.

Look closely at the view through the arch and you'll see the aqueduct!

After thoroughly exploring the chateau both inside and out, I stopped for a cup of tea and a pastry at a little brasserie and enjoyed some people-watching.

It was such a rewarding excursion - exploring a new village, being surrounded by beauty, realizing that I actually can speak some French, and having some time to reflect and remember why I made this crazy decision to move to a foreign country.

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