Sashaying Through History
Today I sit in a pew. Cooling off from the sweltering heatwave outside. I think that’s why I came in, I’m glad I did. This stone walled structure creates an almost damp, but cool effect. I can feel my body dropping in temperature and my heart beat slowing down. I feel so tiny under these lofty ceilings. The Cathedral is dimly lit with candles, and from light that pours in through the intricate stain glass windows.
An odd sense of peace washes over my body. Despite the people walking around this touristy hub in the city centre, I hardly notice them. It is so quiet. I didn’t think I would visit the Troyes Cathedral, a Roman Catholic Church, that is said to have the most beautiful display of stained glass windows, but I did. It is after all, the “thing” to do in this medieval town of Troyes, France.
This is the first church I have visited since the passing of my mother almost 11 years ago. Emotion struck me, as my mind continued to become more and more quiet. As I sat in this seemingly foreign, yet familiar setting, I was overwhelmed with the thought of the millions of people that had sat in this exact same spot over the past 800 years. Pouring their energy into their beliefs, or simply just sitting here. To me, this building oozed energy, of all kinds. I felt a connection to those that occupied this space before me. Tears formed at the corner of my eyes. Allowing them to wash over my face felt good, radiant energy, that now, I was sure, I felt.
I’m not religious, and for those that are, I commend you, but today began my journey of discovery. Trying to fathom the time and energy that these ancient relics have absorbed over the centuries and their inevitable pull on us, since they were erected.
TDA tours have a way of creating a floating sensation of time. After a few weeks on tour, your sense of time is lost, we start to look at the days as riding days and non-riding days. If you asked many of our riders on almost any tour, what day of the week it was or what time it was, most of them wouldn’t know. Living in the present, which we so often forget to do at home, becomes second nature.
So as we cycle through culturally rich European countries, where some buildings date back to the 11th and 12th century, there is a dichotomy between living in the moment and reflecting on the past.
Since the day that I visited the Cathedral I, along with others, have stepped inside many more religious institutions, walked down streets made of cobble stones dating back to the 12th century, sauntered over bridges that Kings used for their armies, walked through ruins of former concentration camps, and gazed upon doorways that housed famous artists and poets.
According to the official Eiffel Tower website every year more than 7 million people visit this iconic tower in Paris, France. The riders of The Orient Express did, we are part of those numbers. These historically rich monuments draw us in, from all over the world, but why, especially when we strive to live in the moment?
Perhaps, it is the allure that the past was simpler. Does the secret to happiness lie within the history of our sisters’ and brothers’? It is possible that, simply visiting these relics and monuments, moments like the above, that we so often are too busy to have, are evoked. Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a famous Austrian born architect and artist, states “If we do not honour our past we lose our future. If we destroy our roots we cannot grow.” There seems to be merit in this statement as we step into places that carry heavier historical significances like the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria. With the weight of our history, we can propel our minds and bodies forward.
I believe that the energy of those before us, subconsciously draws us in, as we yearn for connection in our daily lives but, simultaneously look for roots to allow us to grow. So, we keep coming back. Pouring more energy into these already vibrant places increasing the draw for the future.
Whatever “your” conclusion may be, as you sashay between the grey lines of past and present, if you listen carefully, you most certainly can hear the whispers of the people that walked the streets before you. Maybe, just maybe, this TDA euphoria equips us with better hearing to absorb the secrets ricocheting off the walls….. or maybe we just get sore butts and bigger quads.