THE WANDERLOST JOURNALS: VILLAGE LIFE

St. Paul Village and Vence: Day 5
(23.8.2014)

St. Paul was a magical village. It was one of the prettiest places I’d seen. Cobbled streets, old brick walls curled with long ivy and pretty flowers calling out from the windows.

On this beautiful day, Gloria and I were joined by our friend Stephen from Malaysia. He’s been working in France for a few years now, and speaks fluent French. He even expresses himself in that language. I clearly remember an incident when the three of us were crossing the street and Stephen accidentally stepped on something squishy. A string of foreign French words flew from his lips. He glanced down at his shoes in dismay. We all did. We thought it was poop — pink poop? But no, it turned out to be a smashed strawberry. Only in France, I guess.

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We took a bus from Nice to St. Paul Village, where I snapped into instant tourist mode, pointing my black Canon T2i in the faces of old European buildings, wooden doors and windows, and the ever-present fresh green plants that dangled over said windows and doors.

Perched on top of a hill, this small medieval fortified village offered a spectacular view of the sprawling green country.

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We spent at least two hours strolling around, soaking in the timeless architecture and cute little shops that sold trinkets, souvenirs, fancy fridge magnets, a bunch of lavender-infused stuff and so forth. Lavender was quite the charm in the French Riviera.

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I couldn’t shake off the thought that maybe fairytales were contrived within these very stone walls. I could picture myself as one of those village people in the Disney animation Tangled. I’d wake up in the morning, fling open my wooden windows and gulp in the fresh mountain air of St. Paul Village. Instead of noisy city traffic and boring high rises, I’d be greeted by chirping birds and village people strolling the cobbled streets in their peasant clothes and fresh loaves of baguettes in their baskets. Oh, what a simple life! 🙂

I wanted to sip tea by the window in the morning, watching the world unfold slowly as it danced to its own gentle rhythm, a peaceful melody accented by the occasional hum of the church bell. Every angle of this village was a postcard-worthy.

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Our next stop was the small town of Vence. Once again, I was enchanted by the old architecture. One thing I really miss about France is the availability of clean water in random places. It was free too! Lots of people would go up to fountains or public taps for water.

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We met some friendly locals there. This cute elderly couple barely understood English, so Stephen did all the translating. The woman was thrilled to learn that we were from Malaysia.

“I used to teach English in Malaysia for 2 years,” she told Stephen. “Malaysia’s a wonderful place. Oh, you might know my friend… he lives there. What’s his name…” her little eyebrows furrowed as she struggled to jog her memory.

“It’s Ammadine,” her husband reminded her. And then turning to the rest of us, he said, “You should look for our friend Ammadine when you’re back. Don’t forget — look for Ammadine! Ammadine. Ammadine.”

“Sure, we’ll tell Ammadine you said hi,” we replied politely. I made a mental note to transfer that message if I were to ever meet anyone named Ammadine.

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Before leaving Vence, we met another woman who was chilling outsider her house with her black cat. So we went over and said hi. She turned out to be friendly. Her cat, not so, but I was able to capture this memorable moment.

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Speaking about memorable moments, I glimpsed this giant bread sitting on a table and I just hat to take a picture with it!

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