When your life is packed in a suitcase, this means that one day you could be eating gelato at an Italian square, find yourself enjoying a fondue in Switzerland, or savoring a German beer (even though I’m not quite convinced that beer is something that you can actually savor?…) at a Brauerei, along with a Schnitzel and potato salad.
In my case, last week’s destination was dinner in Aix-en-Provence, France. Ha, fancy! 😉
Well, the truth is I was gonna be there for a few days, so didn’t exactly go just for dinner but I did land in the evening so it was the perfect time to go to the nearest supermarket to get fresh ingredients for dinner: lots and lots of cheese, salad, olives, Gruyère-flavored breadsticks, Tartare (a fresh cheese I hadn’t eaten in years!) and a nice bottle of red wine. YUM!
To make the most out of my time in France, I decided to wake up early and explore Aix while it is still waking up. I am definitely not a morning person, but I needed a change of routine and the morning always has a magical light that makes places even more charming.
My favorite way to explore is to simply walk out of the door and let my feet decide the way. I follow the sunlight, walk past hidden squares, enjoy the buildings of small quiet streets. I take my time noticing all the tiny details and give myself the freedom to enjoy the city without timings or a specific destination (no “is it really that way, Google Maps?“).
Every street had a charming store, a small square, a sunny spot. Big churches emerged out of narrow, sinuous streets. Every corner had (or perhaps I was just hungry!) a bakery with mouth-watering smells. And if the city invites you to taste its most delicious treats, it’d be rude not to, right?
Another surprise (because this time I did zero research on the place before going) was the fact that, while walking through the heart of the old town, I stumbled upon the farmer’s market in front of the City Hall, which is there every morning between 8 am – 12 pm.
Even though I am not a chef (I’m famous for two things: my brownies and chickpea curry), I simply love farmer’s markets. It makes me feel like in Julie & Julia or any other food-focused movie. Plus, as a “French edition“, this one had cheese, meats, bread, lavender, fresh veggies, and flowers. I wanted to bring everything back home with me to make a feast! I didn’t, though, because I knew I wouldn’t have the chance to eat it all, and there’s nothing worse than wasting food. Instead, I took pictures. 😉
Walking through the charming streets of Aix gave me not only a lot of picture-perfect spots but also allowed me to watch the French as they go about their day. It’s interesting how different people are and act in different countries.
Plus, this was also a chance to outline my priorities for the week and just process my thoughts. I came to one very simple (and perhaps obvious) conclusion: the same way there’s no right and wrong to travel, there’s also no right and wrong to decide what’s your path in life. Happy sketching out a plan for the whole day and checking out museums? That’s fine. Wandering through the streets without a clear plan other than finding every delicious piece of French food? That’s fine, too.
As for life choices, whether you decide to backpack through Asia, become a pastry chef in a small French town or work at an office in a big city, that’s really up to you and you alone. The one thing that truly matters is to be happy with who you are and making the most of the place where you stand in life (and on the map). Accepting yourself, starting the day with a positive attitude and saying to yourself: “today is gonna be a good day”. That’s half of the work and it’ll carry you a long way, I tell you. That’s something I’ve been told as a teenager and had a hard time believing but the more I live, the more it becomes a personal truth.
And, in any case, take a lesson from the French. If all else fails…
Until then, have a grate day! (Couldn’t help the cheesy pun. Oops, did it again!)