Making maps

Tourrettes-Sur-LoupRelic, Tourrettes-sur-Loup
Watch me nail this cat shot, Tourrettes-sur-LoupGot it, Gourdon, France
Nailed the cat shot, Tourrettes-sur-LoupLaundry flying, Tourrettes-sur-Loup
Gourdon, France

Today’s Route

by Mike

Azure came with an itinerary – we were going to visit this town called Gourdon that she’d randomly picked on the map and then she discovered that the pictures showed a beautiful hill town high above Nice. It was in Seattle that she did all this. After a flight to London (thanks Ellen!) and then another flight to Nice we got on the scooter and made that abstract itinerary turn into real smells and wind on the face.

The town was gorgeous – in the picture above the paraglider is sailing over Gourdon – but when we got there for lunch we discovered that a loaf of banana bread was NINE Euros. Fuck that. We weren’t about to discover the cost of an actual meal. So we went down to a town we’d passed 10 minutes earlier and had Paella and a “sandwich” for lunch. Go to the flickr site and you’ll see what they called a “sandwich.”

We continued on to one of my favorite towns so far, Tourrettes-sur-Loup, a stunning medieval town that feels strongly Mediterranean where some of the actual Mediterranean cities (like Nice) are lacking. We ran into some women who were taking olive branches into their houses to burn for heat. It’s small enough that people seem to know each other, but big enough that there seems to be a population living there that isn’t reliant on tourism. Maybe the perfect town? Who knows. Most of the pictures above are from Tourrettes-sur-Loup. I think we’ll end up back there. Kim and Adam know the charms of this place.

When I was in elementary school I wanted to be a cartographer – a map maker. I remember specifically in 3rd grade being able to draw all 50 states and a few foreign countries. I had a “what’s there?” wonder about the lines on paper that must have actually existed as real places with smells of smoke or herbs and people whose experiences of life were just different.

In Bellevue in 2001 a friend’s dad drew a map on a little sheet of paper and the next week I flew to London, then went by train to Paris, then Nice, then by boat to Corsica, by bus down the east coast of the island to a little town on the side of the highway and then I walked 5km down to a town by the sea. From there I walked up a hill, took a left and I reached a front door that was somehow exactly where the little sheet of paper said it would be. Halfway around the world. I was sweating furiously because it was the hottest day of the year and I was carrying a suitcase. I remember seeing moths on the walls and there were dogs jumping up and snapping at the moths.

We’re just north of Corsica now and we’ll probably be heading there at some point to fill in different lines on the island.

Something I’ve been loving about having the scooter is that I’m seeing places in a different way. Like instead of making the world smaller the scooter is expanding it adding new dimensions to places I’ve been.



Filed under Travel

2 responses to “Making maps

  1. Kim

    Oh you guys make me cry!!! Yeah for Tourettes, we will surely be back!! 🙂 we love you!!! Was there an unusually high number of cats in the hill towns? I took a lot of photos like Mike when we were there of pretty kitties!

  2. cindy

    that photo of azure in helmet is straight out of a bond film. hot!

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