Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Travel, well at least in one's mind

Have you ever been so drawn to place that it puzzles you as to why? This is the case with me and France. It's so strange really. I never ever really thought much about France growing up.

Growing up, I always loved the romantic concept and thought of going to Ireland. I love Celtic music. Have ever before it was popular to do so. I love Celtic knot work, and the mythology of Ireland. Have a man start to speak to me with an Irish accent and watch my knees go weak. I even went so far as to try and learn Gaelic. Ok so that wasn't too easy at the time. It was before the Internet. Yeah it was that long ago.

But ever since I took a Art History class in junior college, ages ago, I have been inexplicably drawn to France. Well actually one place in particular. Chartres Cathedral.

How can one not look at that and just become awe inspired. I know I linked to the Wikipedia article on this amazing creation. But allow me to give you a brief synopsis of what I know. This is the only cathedral, as far as I know, in the world that was built in two architectural styles, Gothic and Romanesque. Due to the fact that a fire ruined one tower. So the tower on the left side, as you look at the photo, was built in the style of architecture of the time. It is one of the only buildings, as I have said that I am aware that was built this way. It is touted to have the most beautiful blue stained glass in that rose window in the front.

Now I am not an overly religious person. Spiritual, yes. Religious, no. So my wanting to go and literally bask in the ambiance of this building has stymied me for years. I get chills at imagining how it must be. Again years ago, I worked with a young woman that went on a pilgrimage with a church youth group that went to France. I spoke to her when she got back and she was telling of her trip. She told of the group walking one early morning to this small town that had a cathedral they were going to see. She told how they became tired on their walk and laid down in a field of wild flowers to take a small rest and nap. When they woke they continued on their journey entering this small town just outside of Paris. As she started telling me this part of her travels I started to get the tingles run up my spine. She spoke of how they more or less walked up to this strange "church" with these two towers that looked different. My jaw dropped. Here was this young woman speaking with such nonchalance about this location that I had only dreamed about traveling to. I asked her, rather feverishly, I must admit, if she was even remotely aware of what she had witnessed? Had she gone inside and looked at the rose window? Was the sun shining through the blue glass? How did it feel inside? She looked at me blankly and answered that all she knew was it was some kind of church and that inside the ceiling was really high. I stood there dumb struck, and again I must admit slightly...flabbergasted. The whole experience had been wasted on her. I know this sounds horrible, but it's how I felt, and still do. She finally admitted she went on the trip to meet other young church going singles (sigh) I still remember that whole interchange all these years later. And still shake my head.
So do any of you have a place that has always sent tingles up your spine? That you have desired to travel to for some unknown reason? Some place that you might never be able to go to but you can always feel it pulling at you. If so where is it at?