A little holiday in Burgundy, France
20 Maart 2017 | Frankrijk, Alligny-en-Morvan
I had extended my trip, and before the meeting, I stayed a couple of days with Stephanie, my ENUSP-colleague and friend, who lives in Burgundy, France.
At Friday 10 March 2017 I travelled with Thalys, high speed train, to Paris, where Stephanie was waiting to pick me up. Then we drove by car to Champcommeau in Parc Morvan, Burgundy, and we arrived at Stephanie’s place early in the evening. Then we had a delicious home-cooked dinner together, and then some French cheese of course. We stayed up late talking to each other. It was really nice. We had a great evening.
The next day, Saturday 11 March, Stephanie and I started the day with a nice breakfast together, and then we both did some work on our computers. In the afternoon, we went to explore the region and we saw many beautiful, little, old towns and castles in the countryside. We drove to a town called Beaune, where we strolled around, and then we visited Hotel-Dieu. This is a monumental former charitable hospital for “the poor and the sick”, dating from 1443, and it is now a museum. Stephanie and I did the tour throughout the various rooms of the former hospital. And although the hospital was designed for poor people, it didn’t look poor, but there were many paintings and sculptures to look at. The generosity of this charity really showed off. It was even called “a palace for the poor”. The Hospice de Dieu provided treatment and care for everyone, including for persons with “mental illness”. In one room, we saw a cabinet with some horrifying equipment that was formerly used to drill holes in the heads of living people, as an attempted “cure for mental illness”…. It was horrifying. It all gave rise to many thoughts: what a horrible past psychiatry has, and obviously some remnants of this past are still here in present days (crowded institutions, medicalization, and “resorting” to intrusive and disabling “treatments”… ). It’s interesting to see that some horrible practices have actually been stopped, such as skull-drilling (so change in psychiatry is possible?), Yet, so many horrors remain, and what happened to the generosity and altruism? It really made me think about values and morals in society, and about change, and about repression,… And what a long route it is to achieve change…
(sigh, also in the Netherlands, it’s such a long and painful route… as I described earlier in my blog on : Lack of access to Dutch remedies, http://punkertje.waarbenjij.nu/reisverslag/4967248/shocking-no-access-to-dutch-remedies )
Anyway, I wanted to avoid any unpleasant feelings of “long fights” and “lost battles”, so I skipped the philosophical questions rather quickly (also, it wasn’t my first exposure to this part of history). And as soon as we stepped outside of the museum, Stephanie and I were like regular tourists again, strolling around, chatting and enjoying, and walking into the beautiful ancient wine-cellars, which are spread out over many kilometres underneath the city of Beaune, and are used to store the wines at a cool place. It was very interesting to walk there. Wine-making is the core business of the region. Also in the Hospice de Dieu, wine was made and sold, as a business to support the Hospice.
Then we drove back home by car, again enjoying the beautiful landscapes of Burgundy, and the romantic views of castles and ancient villages on the hills, during a beautiful sunset. And then we had a great evening together at home, with French cheese, and actually some French wine for me too. We had a lot of fun, especially when Stephanie found a colourful duster (plumeau) and made a great hairdo with it, and then I learned the word: Hairbrained. LOL!!
The next day, Sunday 12 March, after a nice breakfast, a little bit of work, and a small visit to the neighbours, Stephanie and I took a beautiful route across the countryside, seeing ancient chateaus and abbeys, and nostalgic villages, and many vineyards of course. Then we went to a local event for collectors (post stamps, coins, and vintage things), which was a cosy local happening, including some folk dancing. There we met up with a friend, Didier, who joined us to visit the medieval town Flavigny, which is centred around an ancient abbey on the top of a mountain/hill. Some parts of the town date from 8th century. They make very nice candies there (Anis de Flavigny). It was really nice to stroll around in this fairy tale-like place. On our way back, I again enjoyed many pretty views of castles and landscapes. After a nice dinner in a cosy cafeteria, we went home, and had another nice evening together.
On Monday 13 March, in the early afternoon, we took off to Paris together, where we had a little bit of time together (enough time to have fun, when the owner of the café wanted a picture of my hair and we bargained for free coffee, LOL). Then I had to say goodbye to Stephanie, because she was staying at another place, and I was invited to join a dinner with the conference organizers and speakers. The dinner was nice, and I had interesting talks. After getting back to the hotel d’Alma, an Irish speaker and I walked around the block to see the Eiffel tower, and we saw the sparkling lights that show every hour. It was a nice view, quite romantic of course. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel, and I finalized the last bits of my presentation, and then I went to bed. I was curious about the upcoming event.
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Je kunt nu ook Smileys gebruiken. Via de toolbar, toetsenbord of door eerst : te typen en dan een woord bijvoorbeeld :smiley