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Chateau de Chateauneuf du Pape

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Many moons ago I had a somewhat ill-fated trip to France and it was the last time I saw Parisbut instead of dwelling on the depressing points I want to think about the good ones.

My friend and I drove to Burgundy to stay at an ancient Chateau. When we arrived we were both giddy with excitement…until we saw our room. From the outside, the buildings magnificence was something out of a novel but the proprietors had revamped the innards into a Holiday Inn Express. Frankly I would have preferred a cold masonry floor and small candle to light my way. Immediately we decided to flee.

At the time I was working for a French chef and one of our wine dealers had come to lecture about Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  With the little knowledge I retained, we sped our way to the tiny medieval village and found an inn – that again looked like something from fiction. But upon walking through the doors we were greeted with our fantasies imagery. The light was low, the dining room empty, a lounge empty as well but with over-stuffed chairs beckoning; dinner service had ended and a kind woman sat us by a fire.  It may have even been raining outside. We could not order from the menu but they provided a lovely cheese platter…and a selection of single malt scotch with names that made the mouth water. Yes, one would think we would have ordered wine but somehow the moment did not call for it.

Although the entire trip was a travesty, that one night by a fire sipping scotch and submerging ourselves in French cheese is a memory I will always hold dear to my heart. The friend is also someone I hold dear; someone who continues to learn and grow from whatever life has to offer: a true traveler.

Sometimes our fantasies fall short and we are disappointed but if we can throw ourselves into the adventure of life we just might be surprised at a new and unexpected dreamlike reality.

We just have to let go of control.