Like all great beauties, she is incredible, irresistible, fragile and dramatic, alltogether. Venezia’s destiny as a forever endangered realm of wonder has a tragic beauty to it, and nothing makes it more obvious than the acqua alta days. On October 29, 2018, an exceptional high tide flooded Venice. It was the fourth highest ever recorded, and the most dramatic in over a decade. The conscience of her ephemerity only added to the beauty, as La Serenissima was stripped of the hords of tourists and the waters held the mirror to her face for two days in a row.
SINE QUA NON: NORMANDY
MONT SAINT MICHEL The only possible number one. Although is closer and more intimately connected to Bretagne, it will be top-of-mind for any escape in Western France. I wrote more about “the wonder” here. THE ALABASTER COAST AND PAYS DE CAUX La Cote d’Albatre is the French counterpart of the famous white cliffs that are the picture-perfect signature of the English Channel coastline. It makes for a great roadtrip, with its towns and villages of quaint charm and the often striking beauty of the high falaises. Stop in Etretat, Yport, Fecamp, Veules-les-Roses, Dieppe. Etretat has the most beautiful cliffs, Fecamp is a jewel of a town where you cannot miss…
Mont Saint Michel, legend of tides
Is it a castle or an island? Is that the desert or the sea? Is it Bretagne or Normandie? Each day, this castle becomes an island, then the sea withdraws to leave treacherous sands behind. Meanwhile, a whimsical little river draws the border between the two realms, making Mont St. Michel part of Normandy. The mountain has always been a place of awe; beautiful and inaccessible, it caused many to perish at the mercy of tides. And as it happens with so many places of awe and beauty, it has always been a site of worship. In the early days of Christianity, monks were…
If you’re one of those addicts of the extraordinary, this one is for you. Far enough up the coast from Lisbon, Nazare is only transited by tourist packs during the day. If you avoid the classical summer rage, you find a blue and white village that has not sold its soul to the devil of “leisure” just yet. It is an old fishing village, very old indeed. In the year 700 they were fighting pirates when a legendary couple came into the story: a monk and a king. The king was carrying a sword of bravery and the monk was carrying a statue of redemption.