Made it back to Aix-en-Provence yesterday afternoon after three long travel days. From Sweden to Denmark, through Germany and Belgium, finally to Paris for some shut-eye and free breakfast; then a snowy train ride to Aix, where I scrambled to find a place to stay and finally found the jackpot at Hotel Number One just outside the old city. My back is sore from this ever-heavier backpack, which I lugged this evening further south, to Marseille.
Since the hostel in Aix is closed during January (hence the mad search for board yesterday), I’ll be commuting from Marseille. Not that bad, lovely to see the countryside at dawn and dusk–and nice to be in one place for a few days. The archives welcomed me back this morning. It was much less busy than in August, but still took a long time to get documents, and I still had trouble with the requesting process. Just like old times.
Last night I was walking around the old city, which was still all lit up for the holidays, and thinking about how everywhere I’ve been since August feels already so distant–I’m concentrating on the here & now, which is necessary with so much movement and busy-ness. It feels real, but very much like a memory. Except for some times like when I read place names in Madagascar and recall very vividly how dirty the roads were or how gorgeous the mountains were. And when the guy working at the archives asks me where I’m from and tells me that my French has an African accent.
So things are going, slowing now but still moving forward. I’m working at the archives for the rest of this week and the beginning of the next. Then Paris, then home..