|Obligatory reference to Paris...|
ome time ago - 1980 - I left Vancouver to do the usual "trip to Europe" thing. In my case it was a bicycle trip, solo, beginning in London where I purchased a touring bicycle - light blue - from F. W. Evans' shop, in a small street just behind Waterloo station. I sent the bike ahead of me, and took the overnight train to Paris. From Paris my bicycle and I were to continue on to Greece by train, and then cycle slowly back, meandering along back roads, with no itinerary, no schedule.
That early spring day in Paris was my first encounter with that magical city, and it left a deep impression on me. Alone and somewhat lonely, I walked through the Paris streets for hours on end, navigating by the Seine River's flow and the Eiffel tower glimpsed at a distance above rooftops.
Later that summer I pedalled back into Paris, having travelled from Greece via southern Italy, Sardinia, Corsica, and southern France. Starved for English-language books, I stopped in again at the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore, facing Notre Dame across the Seine. By that evening I'd moved in, and ended up staying six weeks there, surrounded by books.
Over the intervening years I've been back to Paris as often as I've been able to, and despite the passage of time, my initial vision of it as an enchanted labyrinth persists...