Friday, December 23, 2011

A monastic island

I love contrasts.

I love stark and sharp contrasts.

To me, it represents a true picture of any location. It shows me what it's really like to live or exist in a place.

Far too often, I find that the impression provided of a place is limited to a shiny facade. It isn't exactly a false impression, but it's definitely not the full picture that you get from spending an extended amount of time in a place.
So away from the beautiful facade of Cannes, away from hotels and away from the beach, I found something far quieter.

St Honorat Island is only a short ferry ride away, but it might as well be in a different country. It is an island full of monks who spend their time between quiet prayer and making wine. It is a calm and quiet place that truly allows a person to think and to contemplate the existence.

As I got off the ferry, dozens of seniors departed with me, yet surprisingly that was pretty much the last time I saw any large groups of people.

It felt as though I was on this island almost completely by myself.

And I loved it.
Following the path around the island, I would occasionally walk off to the side and find myself in front of beautiful little coves. Perfectly secluded little beaches that just begged for a swim.... and me without my bathers....
As I walked from one end of the island to the other, I found myself wanting to sit down, to just rest and even to take a nap. The sight of the vineyards also added to this sense of overwhelming calm I felt.
It was hard to believe that just over the water, the debauchery of the Cannes Film Festival would occur every year.
This place seemed too peaceful, as though it was protected by a bubble far from the anxieties of modern life.

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