“There is no one who is born under an unlucky star, there are only people who don’t know how to read the sky” – the Dalai Lama.
This travel post may be a bit late but I thought it would be unfair not to share because of the story behind it. I wasn’t always traveling and I didn’t have that much passion for traveling until the first time I stepped into Europe. It wasn’t so much the destination, I think. It was the mere fact that this was the first place I traveled more than 15 hours by plane to, ON MY OWN. It scared the hell out of me of course.
I guess I can be called a late bloomer, I started traveling long haul alone only when I was 23. And I can still remember how my flight went like it just happened yesterday. I was traveling on a semi-mutilated passport which I freely blame to the poor quality of passports being issued in my country. I knew I could get into trouble and I was praying non-stop to reach Europe. And while on a stopover in Moscow on my way to Paris, the immigration officer told me this was illegal! I must have looked so pitiful that in the end they just let me through, and I reached my destination without any more questions.
From Paris I took an RER train to reach Dijon, the capital city of the Burgundy region in the Eastern part of France. You may have heard of one of their most famous products – the dijon mustard. It was a beautiful time when I went, even though it was late November and the weather was starting to get cold. I saw everything through rose tinted glasses, La Vie en Rose, since it was my first time to fall in love and be in Europe.
My boyfriend at that time who was a local in Dijon, took me around everywhere. I thought everything was wonderful, except for the part where my French was limited to “ça va bien, et toi?” But aside from my vocabulary, everything else felt magical in my newbie eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I had traveled to different parts of the world before, but just not on my own. So this was the first time I felt traveling independently.
Like many European cities, Dijon had a lot of history and retained it’s historic charm. Many of the houses in the city center kept the old facade, as you can see in the photos here.
I had the chance to experience how local life was, we made meals at home, and even tried making macarons. Even though the macarons didn’t end up looking as good as was in the shops, it was still pretty delicious.
Bourgogne was not too far from Dijon, so we set aside a day where we drove out into the countryside. There we were greeted with beautiful vineyards and vast greenery. Sad to say I have very strong “Asian genes” when it comes to drinking alcohol – what people know as a form of allergy to drinking in that your liver can’t filter down the alcohol as well as other people. I turn extremely red with a few sips! So I’m not a big wine drinker, but if you are, Bourgogne would be a delightful stop.
I would recommend if you’re planning to travel to these regions, to get a local guide or host so you’ll be able to enjoy your trip more. Remember, a lot of things you’ll see won’t be translated, and having someone local to tour you around just makes the experience more enjoyable.