How AM I loving myself this Summer... Part I

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    The Caro Hotel, Valencia… Barbara Franken Photography

    Our summer adventure was upon us, we were off on our first long car journey since the arrival of our new red Range Rover Evoque. We had planned our 3 week driving holiday a year before, booking hotels, boat & tunnel crossings and arranged to meet up with our family and friends in Holland and England. It was going to be some good Tom & Barbara-time enjoying ourselves around Europe… and finding out just how the summer loves me.

    The first stage of our journey was through Southern Spain… Malaga to Valencia… we stopped off in Mazarron to see my friend Wendy who had taken over the management of my Rental business as I wanted to make sure everything was ok and in place for the high season. We drove on through the lovely mountainous landscape of south east Valencia, staying overnight in the Caro Hotel, right in the heart of the big city. We arrived early enough to admire this restored 19th century palace with features dating back to ancient times, of which one was an old mosaic that had come to light and afterwards took a walk around the beautiful old city of Valencia which was conveniently around the corner.

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    The Old City of Valencia… Barbara Franken Photography

    The heart of the old city has been wonderfully preserved with old and modern buildings intertwined, lovely chic restaurants and boutique style shops filled with unique creations. The city felt quiet yet alive from both the present day and the past.

    We sat down on a square and had a lovely lunch and I allowed myself to sink into the energy of this old enchanting place. I’d never been here before but I felt as if I was being welcomed home and loved by an old friend, a strange feeling, until I remembered my summer challenge I’d given myself… to observe and feel into how well IAM loving myself.

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    Water Fountain in Valencia Old City… Barbara Franken Photography

    I felt honour, nobility and loving hearts of the people who had created and built these magnificent buildings.. so long ago in the Golden Years of Europe… I felt love and joy that is time-less and is a part of me today and can only be thankful that these people reflected their grandness into the environment for others to enjoy for many years to come. I imagined the rich and nobel people enjoying their life here, dressing up and partying, but having no concern for the people who served them… the people who were poor because they were taxed on their work in order to pay for their grand life.

    I felt a mixture of feelings, a strong feeling of love and joy but also a deep sense of sorrow and injustice… which I know has never really left the Spanish people or their magnificent Environment. Today its only been 35 years since their independence from the Franco dictatorship. A young and blooming country with much potential. I just hoped they could find it.

    So how well was I loving myself… if I looked at my reflection in this Environment? Not only today, but I had chosen to live here in Spain where society reflected the conformity passed down the generations. Spain was allowing me the chance to look at how I approved of myself and what I still resisted about myself? Could I love myself more. I would ponder upon this question.

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    Old Church, Valencia… Barbara Franken Photography

    We were both tired this evening so we slept and rose early, setting off for our drive to Millau. I’d seen a documentary about the building of one of the highest bridges in the world, The Millau Viaduct 2460 m long and 343 m high in southern France and how great it was to drive through the sky. So we had booked a night in the Chateau de Creissels, Millau, an old french chateau with wonderful views of the bridge to experience it for ourselves.

    Church de Creissels

    Church de Creissels… Barbara Franken Photography

    After a lovely day driving through Spain, we arrived in the mountainous town of Millau and found quite easily the grand Chateau de Creissels. 

    It was an ancient 12th century medieval chateau beautifully refurbished with some original furnishings and modern decor and appliances. We had booked early and had been given the end corner room with the magnificent view of the bridge. We took a nice walk in the gardens and admired this ancient french chateau with its castle steeple proudly climbing to the sky and the restaurant to one side of the chateau. After drinks in the sitting room we enjoyed the cave restaurant’s delicious french cuisine.

    Garden at Chateau de Creissels

    Beautiful Gardens at Chateau de Creissels… Barbara Franken Photography

    From our window

    View from our Window… Barbara Franken Photgraphy

    Milau Bridge

    Miller Viaduct… Barbara Franken Photography

    Milau bridge from Creissels

    Millau Viaduct… Barbara Franken Photography

    Nicely rested and refreshed we headed off pretty early after a lovely french breakfast with coffee and baguette/croissants (not normally our breakfast but we couldn’t resist) and drive over the bridge to our next destination. I couldn’t wait for this experience. Tom drove back out of the valley and back onto the A75 which now crossed the Millau valley. I had my camera ready and took a couple of pictures before relaxing to admire the view, the size of the bridge, the blue sky, the valley far below, the tall steel cables diagonally passing me by… what an experience, I really wanted to do it again… but next time.

    On the bridge at Milau

    Miller Viaduct… Barbara Franken Photography

    France had a different feel to it than Spain. It somehow felt more relaxed and both the buildings and people working in the fields we passed by, seemed to exude a grandness about them, an air of self-love that seeped into the Environment and made it sing. It wasn’t by any means a selfish or arrogant feeling that most french people have unfortunately been labelled with, but I felt their genuine dedication to enjoying life and being one with life. I couldn’t believe the difference I was feeling. It just goes to show how people perceive life and them self, does reflect back into the Environment.

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    Sunflower… Silviv Daniel Tataru, Dreamtime Stock Photos

    Which brings me to the many fields of sunflowers that we passed, tall bright stems with heads of golden glory reaching for the sky, bowing their heads to the sun as it circled the sky during the day. They are receivers of the light… symbolising happiness… strength…. loyalty and exposing a magnificent display of inner darkness… infinite spirals of seeds growing… turning in the fibonacci sequence to the innate tone of oneness… the golden ratio that all life on Earth share.

    IAM sure that the delightful rays of happiness from the sunflower affect the people living around here as much as they do me and maybe like myself, when the french people look into the centre of a sunflower they are reminded of their own origin that inspires them to be their best ever self at home, work and play in a world that loves and supports them well.

    We eventually reach our destination, Riems… the champagne area for a 2 day break… but not until Truus, our new navigation system, took it upon herself to take us on a tour around Paris in the late traffic hour.

    Until the next stage of our European adventure, here’s to us all being ever thoughtful about how the Environment shows us how well we love ourself.

    Barbara Franken… Master Creator
    Inspiring New Energy Consciousness