Do you believe in fate or is life filled with choices where coincidences happen?
Last summer, my daughter, Courtney, studied in Barcelona, Spain. My husband, Danny, and I planned to pick her up in July and travel around France and England on our way back to the States. This trip depended on how quickly I healed after my double boobectomy. Our three week vacation would start five weeks after the first surgery.
I had some priorities. Since the book I wrote takes place in the Côte d’Azur, I wanted to re-explore the area. In my paranormal thriller, the protagonist has to solve the dark mystery surrounding her brother-in-law, Nico, and his estate. I’ve never known anyone named Nico, but the name seemed to fit.
The view from the cacti gardens in Eze.
From the South of France, we planned to drive to Paris. It was ten hours away from Antibes. If we stopped halfway, we could explore another city. We studied a map and found Lyon. It was our Omaha, Nebraska when road tripping from Boulder to Wisconsin. Okay. It’s not, but it is a halfway point. We would stay there July 17th and 18th.
An outdoor patio scene in Lyon.
A thought popped into my head. (I know. It happens on rare occasions.) Months before, my daughter introduced me to an electronic folk combo called, CocoRosie. I hummed Lemonade for weeks after watching the YouTube video, fifty times. They’re from the US, but are very popular in France. I raced to my computer and looked up their schedule.
“No freakin’ way!” I said while staring at my computer screen at the kitchen counter. “You won’t believe this,” I shouted.
“What?” asked Danny from his office.
“CocoRosie is playing at an outdoor amphitheater called The Grand Roman Theater on July 17th!”
This was the beginning of a lot of crazy coincidences.
Except for some residual cording, (a shortening of the lymphatic tissue creating a taught string from armpit to my wrist), my surgery was a success. I needed to stretch my arms out while in bed every morning to get rid of the pterodactyl condition. No biggie.
The crowds are waiting for the “Magic Fountain” to begin its colorful display in Barcelona.
We flew to Barcelona. After sightseeing for two days, from morning until the wee hours of the next morning, we drove to France.
Gaudi’s Parc Guell.
We met a family who owned the restaurant across the lane from our flat. When we mentioned driving to Paris, they asked if we were going to watch the finish of the Tour de France on the 21st.
“What?” Danny and Courtney looked at me and laughed. “Do we have to buy tickets?” I asked.
“No. You can walk to the route.”
Courtney is serenaded in Antibes.
After touring Eze, Vence, St. Paul de Vence, and Antibes, we drove to Lyon.
The fountain at Place de Jacobins in Lyon.
Sinead O’Connor was the back up band for CocoRosie. What an amazing concert! We met a nice young couple from Lyon. Among other topics, we chatted about how most of the younger French people spoke English.
We drove to Paris, dropped off the car, and taxied to our flat. We had dinner at an outdoor cafe and then explored the heart of Paris. While walking to the Seine, I detected the unmistakable sound of bass. It was an outdoor, DJ’d, electronic music concert in front of the Hotel de Ville. What a scene! We caught the last half hour of it.
Rocking out, Parisian style.
On our last day in Paris, we sauntered through the Tuileries Gardens, explored the Musee d’Orsay. and took a short walk to the Tour de France.
On the other side of the clock inside the Musee d’Orsay.
We waited for an hour along the road. Cars and trucks, decorated like their products, paraded by. I was surprised there weren’t more people watching. We stood right in front of the barricade. I would get a clear shot of the bikers.
I had bought a Sony DSLR before the trip and had been experimenting with different settings. Sometimes it worked beautifully and other times it stalled out when taking action photos. I was nervous.
Finally, the racers appeared. I fritzed out and panicked. My camera froze. I checked the photos. I captured one before they raced by and one after. My heart clenched. I missed every biker in the Tour de France! My cell phone would have been more dependable. Danny and Courtney’s phones took great photos. I changed the setting on my camera.
We had been in a section where they biked by once. They would lap the end of the course eight times. Maybe I could get a picture there.
We joined a huge crowd on a corner, a block away. It was twenty deep with people. It didn’t help that I am so short. Everyone towered over me. There was no way I’d get a picture. I was so bummed, but had my camera out anyway.
A man beside me said something in French. When I responded in English, “Hi! How are ya?” he asked if I wanted to take a picture.
“I’d love to!” My heart rose out of my gut.
He shouted to the people in front of us in French and used his hands to part the crowd. The spectators turned around and pushed me forward. I made it to the front! I prayed, my camera would work. The racers approached and as they zipped by, I took a sequence of photos. I held my breath. I checked and my camera captured over twenty photographs. Yay! Even though they would lap a few more times, I thanked the nice man and the people around me and returned to Danny and Courtney.
“How cool are the French?” I wondered if that would happen here in the US.
After a few days of exploring Paris on foot and on bike, we took the train to London.
We checked into our flat and walked to the Kensington garden entrance. A few reporters and on-location crews stood waiting. I asked what was going on.
Will, Kate, and George’s pad in Kensington Gardens.
“William and Kate are bringing the baby home from the hospital any minute. There are a few ways back to the palace and we are betting on this entrance.”
We chatted with a lovely old lady who had only glimpsed the royal family on a few occasions. We waited for our glimpse. After an hour, (I know!), we gave up and entered the gardens.
Across from the young couple’s estate stood a row of white tents. They represented television stations from all over the world.
I approached a man standing next to an unmanned video camera. “Have Kate, Wills, and baby George arrived yet?”
He held a finger to his mouth to shush me. In a whisper he said, “My camera is a live feed to thousands of television stations around the world. They arrived about twenty minutes ago.”
My cheeks burned. I didn’t get to capture the newest member of the Royal Family, but the world got a shot of me. Embarrassed much or what?
London buzzed with all the baby news. It was exciting to be there at that time.
The next morning, I woke up and turned onto my side to start my exercises. I put my hands together and swung my left arm to to the left, and thwapped the built-in bookcase. It woke up Danny. “Sorry!” It stung, but I didn’t give it any thought until a few hours later. While walking with a throng of tourists, I pulled out my camera and noticed my hand. It resembled a bloated fish. I must have broken a small bone. Danny and Courtney freaked out. “I think it’s okay.” I reached out and up to check my range of motion and laughed. “The impact either tore the tendon or shocked it out of its seizure.” I never had a problem with cording again and kept my full range of motion. Thank God for that bookcase. I just have a little lump between my knuckles on my left hand.
Fast forward to this summer. My daughter was waiting to hear from two marketing firms in Denver. She met a guy at a party in Boulder who needed a roommate and wanted to move to Denver, immediately. She moved in with him the following weekend and got her dream job a few weeks later. By the way, his name is Nico. He’s from Lyon, France. Whoa!
Do you believe in fate?
This I believe: You are supposed to be where you are…when you get there.
That is good! Because we are there…
Your vibrancy is contagious, Susie – thank you.
Thanks Julie! It’s great to “see” you!
Everything happens for the best, doesn’t it? What a fun vacay you had. Love the photos.
It does! The craziest things happen to me. It’s hard for me to believe it’s just coincidence. I will be writing about the most recent example, soon!
Europe was a blast! I needed something to look forward to!
I LOVE those coincidences, Susie. It’s like the Universe is having fun with you! Great post. Enjoyed the trip!
The Universe is pretty trippy. I’m amazed at how life works out.
Awesome! I do believe in fate. I love Lyon and Paris. I cycled a lot around Lyon with the au pair kids. Did you know you can cycle part of the Tour de France. My sister did some when it started in Yorkshire. How fab to visit the place you’re writing about. I must write about Prague lol.
You should write about it!
I believe that the choices we make put us on a path where all kinds of crazy things can happen! If we’re on the right one, doors fly open. If we take a big detour, the road gets pretty rocky.
The tour would lose me in the mountains… 🙂
Big time… fate is what makes the world go round..:)
Right???? I am still brought to my knees by how amazing life is.
Great to “see” you Linda!!!
Whoa. Mystic places (Mts in Co and Lyon France collide big time).
There’s an stream of life force (what ever you want to call it) and when you’re in the right spot doing what you should, amazing things happen.
Cheers for Courtney.
And you, too. Certainly deserve a free float. (Thanks for the pix – these are some places I really really want to see in person)
You would love it Phil!
We share the same philosophy. It’s all about being on the right path. Even my breast cancer was a positive experience. I was able to use my humorous voice. Cancer gave me clarity. I was wasting a lot of my time.
Susie – how awesome. It is funny how things are connected and how they seem to pop up when you most need them. I remember your trip to Europe well and still use the key chain for my classroom keys. Congratulations to Courtney on her new job – she’ll have a blast. and you will, too.
I’m so glad the key chain is still holding together for you!
I agree about the connections. The wildest things have happened to me lately!
I’ll pass your congratulations along to Courtney! Thank you!
What an amazing journey. My mother always says “what goes around, comes around”. You must have put some great energy into the world to get back such a string of gifts.
I’ve had my highs and lows like everyone else, but I really celebrate when everything falls into place! You’re right. I put out a lot of positive energy, as well as prayer. It works!!!
Love the stories!
Thanks Diane! I’m so glad you stopped by the Wild Ride! 🙂
Don’t know about fate, but am big fan of serendipity, and of being ready for anything. Also of making lemonade from CocoRosie lemons!
Serendipity abounds! I always tell my kids, “No matter what you think is going to happen, it’s never how you imagined it.”
CocoRosie Lemonade. Love it! They made a successful career out of their lemon-filled childhood. 🙂
I love this story! It’s funny how things work out sometimes!
That is so true, Laurel. We never know what the big picture is going to be until we are farther away from it.
officially freaked out 🙂
Wait until you read what happened to me last weekend! I will post soon. Many won’t believe it. 🙂 This stuff happens to me all the time. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Joe!
I’m on tenterhooks now!
I’m hesitating since this is a story many won’t believe!!!!
Amazing photos, fantastic story. I can’t believe it’s not fiction!
Thanks so much Dayanara!
This kind of thing is pretty common in my life. It’s pretty crazy! My husband Danny flew home to Wisconsin from Colorado for Memorial Day weekend. Our families got together and went to a Brewer game. He invited me to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival over the weekend of June 19th and July 4th weekend, we booked the priest and the church and set the date to get married in October! That was almost 27 years ago!
What a trip! And coincidences. Neat!
It was amazing timing! Thanks Anneli! I would love to go back… 🙂
How cool is your story, Susie, from start to finish. Total serendipity!
It was a much wilder adventure than we expected and loads of fun. You just never know!!
That’s the delicious thing about life, Susie — YOU JUST NEVER KNOW. It’s always an adventure!
Absolutely!!! You never know where it will take you. 🙂
Woo hoo! Yes, I believe in both fate and coincidence. Some events are just to unexplainable to be otherwise. Thanks for the photos of Paris – they were a great reminder of our trip there last year. My secret desire is to attend an outdoor concert in Venice where they’ll play all my favorites from Vivaldi. Can we “wish” something into existence – is that what fate is all about??
I hope you get your wish! I’ve never been to Italy. 🙂
Some believe we can wish something into existence. I put out positive intentions and pray all the time and most of them are answered. I believe with a lot of hard work and commitment, anything is possible!
I’m looking forward to the day your book comes out, because you are a great storyteller! You planted the Nico seed and I read, eager to find out how he’d pop up. 🙂 And yes, I believe there’s some sort of fateful orchestration happening in life.
Thanks so much Coleen! You made my whole day! I can finally see the finish line. I paid an editor and am on the last 40 pages!!!!
I worried about the name Nico and then Bam!
My whole life has been one long concerto!!!
What a trip and full of adventure! I do believe in fate, kismet, coincidences, etc.- makes life beautiful and amazing 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing – Happy Hump Day!
Thanks so much Renee! I can’t believe I went so soon after surgery. The funny thing is, I was the one who wanted to keep exploring late at night. Dinner in Barcelona doesn’t even start until 9:00!!!!!
Happy hump day to you!!!
That is how life happens at times and you just have to go along for the Wild Ride, right!
I am always up for that!!!
I don’t believe in much, Susie, but I do know that no way would anyone part a crowd like the Red Sea for you to take a picture here in New York. Great shot!
I don’t think that would happen in Boulder either!
I got whole bunch of photos. It was a moment to remember!
I think the stars aligned for you after everything you’ve been through. This trip sounds fantastic.
Thanks L! It got me through the surgery. I had only been to Europe 12 years before, so this was huge!!! It was a crazy fun trip!
Right place, right time, right attitude, right person/s! Serendipity. 🙂
That is such a sweet comment! Thank you!!!!!! You gave me shivers! 🙂
Sometimes there is such a thing as fate and good karma. These pics are beautiful and I can’t wait to start travelling the world! You picked some great spots to vacation at!
The places we visited are simply magical. Danny and I were just talking and would love to go to Belgium, Italy and Germany. There’s an island named Lindau!!!!!
I agree about fate and karma. My list of crazy experiences is long!!!!
What a great story! I believe in fate AND coincidences. Everything happens for a reason, I always say. Great shot of the Tour! And to respond to your question, I think Yes, your experience with the photography could happen here in the US. 🙂 I think generally speaking, we are a very friendly and considerate culture.
Thanks so much Gwen! I have so many crazy stories. One which happened last weekend few people would believe. 🙂
I would like to think the parting of the crowd would happen here too, but sometimes I wonder about Boulder’s manners. I almost wrote an editorial for our newspaper!
Yes, I do believe in fate. Very muchly so…
Me too!!!!! I think it’s fate that brought all of us together here in the blogosphere!