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?
Right????? I could never live thinking there wasn’t a purpose for all of us. It’s so exciting!
What a set of circumstances. Couldn’t make this up.
Like how Danny and I got together and all of the other crazy things that has happened to me. My intuition is off the charts!
Amazing trip. Wonderful. Glad you saw a sample of Gaudi architecture while in Barcelona. I loved his work. Great chance meeting at the Tour. Nice man. Great photos, for sure. Are we going to see some more of them? Nico. What a coincidence! Enjoyed this post very much. Thanks.
I realized that I wrote about Spain and then had my second surgery (reconstruction) and stalled out. I have some amazing photos yet to share!!!!
Fate has a way of toying with my life. The craziest things happen to me!
Thanks so much for reading!
I just love your stories. Thank you for sharing. I wish i could write as interesting as you.
Thank you so much! I’m sure you have all kinds of stories to tell! When I first started writing, it took me days to write e blog post and I couldn’t type. 350 posts later, writing and typing has become second nature,
Thanks for stopping by!
What a fantastic series of events. It seems like your European trip was a smashing success. Well, good things come to those with an open mind and open heart. Such people often enjoy amazing and beautiful coincidences. Love your pictures. You’ve got some terrific captures there.
Thanks E E!!
It was a great adventure made even more exciting by the timing. I’m open to almost everything! That is true! 🙂
Spooky! Saw the Tour roll through London this year! CW
Cool! They are gone in seconds. I hope you got a few pictures.
I know. As much planning as went into that trip, we had no idea what would unfold. And we got to meet you!!!
CW back atcha!
We did one of the cyclists even smiled at Ma Fightback as she snapped away
I’ve stood by that look-out-on Paris clock face in the Musee d’Orsay! Very cool. My main memory of the place was trying to enjoy an Impressionist exhibition while the place was jammed like a sardine can with tourists. OK, yes, I was one of them, but hey…Not bad for an old railway station.
As for fate? We make our present and future – and, therefore, in the fullness of time, our past – mostly by our own actions and attitudes. And it’s probably better to make life a wild ride than hide in cotton wool! You showed us other bloggers the way.
I LOVE it!! Yes. We do make our own way and we never know what’s up ahead. I’m always prepared for the wildest of surprises!!
I didn’t know it was a railway station! It is so dramatic. 🙂
WTH… Well, if I didn’t believe in fate, I do now!
If you only knew half of what’s happened to me, it would give you chills!!
( I hit the wrong key and my iPad replaced chills with child!!! Now that would be a trick!!!)
In your case, Susie, I think it’s magic…not fate. You are just one of those people who make magical things happen around them. It’s like an aura of magic.
I can’t believe Sinead O’connor was the “back up” band for Coco Rosie. Her voice is still amazing after all these years.
I know! And her DVD was only $10 where CocoRosie’s was $20!!! I was blown away by her voice, songs and dramatic delivery.
Thank you! It does feel magical at times like how Danny and I got married after one weekend of dating!!! I have another story that happened over the weekend which is absolutely true and totally crazy! I’ll post about it soon!
I don’t know if I believe in fate, but I love the way you connected the dots in your life.
Your kiddo moved to Boulder? Mine just moved to San Francisco. Looks like we’ll be road-tripping to some cool places, Susie!
She moved to Denver, so I’m spending a little more time down there. It’s only 30 minutes away!
San Francisco is on our list! I’ll let you know if we plan to go out. Maybe we can meet up! Better yet, we could just let fate do it’s thing and we’ll run into one another… 🙂
Your trip and all the ‘coincidences’ could be a novel itself! 😉
Great, fun reading Susie!
PS Glad that tendon is behaving itself now!
I called it a tendon because that’s what it looked like, but doctors really don’t know what it is. Some kind of tissue that goes into spasm.
I have a lot of unbelievable stories!
I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe the universe speaks to us all the time, we just need to listen. Last week I was thinking all day about my dad. I was closer to my mom, so it’s rare I think so much about him. Anyway, I was sitting in L&L Hawaiian BBQ listening to Oz on the overhead radio. Just then, Julie Andrews came on singing The Hills Are Alive from The Sound of Music. My dad used to take all 8 of us girls every year to see The Sound of Music when we were little. Coincidence? Me thinks not. Cheers, Susie!
Your story gave me shivers! That is exactly how the world works. I have many stories like that! The one that happened recently still gives me shivers. It is so unbelievable, I not sure I should post it!
Great to see you Suzanne! What a difference a year makes.. 🙂
Amen to that, sister (but one more surgery to go for me). And please, POST IT! I want to hear it!
What’s your last surgery?
I have it already to go. I think I’ll post it on Wednesday. Some people won’t believe it… 🙂
Can’t wait, I’ll be here on Wednesday with bells on! Capsular contracture.
Fate or synchronicity or whatever – things certainly do get tied together in amazing ways!
They certainly do! I am always amazed at how things come together.
Goosebumps! I love hearing stories like this one. It leaves me saying “whoa” “get out!” and of course OMG! I’m so glad you were intoned enough to recognize all of these coincidences and share them with us.
All the best to Courtney on her next chapter!
Thanks Lisa! When we are on the right path, it seems to smooth out for us. I will pass your well wishes to Courtney!
Just wait until you read what happened after I wrote this one. It is really intense. I would imagine, some won’t believe it.
Sounds like a fabulous trip and of course, being you, you got more from it than ten other travellers put together. My only objection is that you didn’t stop by to visit. We were living in a castle in the north of England at the time.
Now in our Hobbit House cottage in middle of Glasgow, in case you want to come back. Of course, your next paranormal hero would have to be named Jamie and his bagpipes would hold the reincarnated spirit of best mate Angus…
I would have loved to have met you! We didn’t get that far out of London because of time constraints. We explored the Cotswolds which were fabulous!
We’ll have to make a trip to Glasgow! I can hear the bagpipes in the distance…..
We just went to the Pipeband Championships, which was very thoughtfully held here in Glasgow on Saturday. And even more thoughtfully—during a heatwave, so there were many brawny, tattooed, kilted pipers sans shirts. Of course, we were only there for the music…
What a sight! I hope you took pictures!
I full on believe in fate. It’s how I met my husband at a hostel in France when I am from Canada and he is from Hungary, and we were only together there two days! 🙂
Really enjoyed reading about your trip, I try hard not to believe in fate but sometimes it’s hard not to when so many weird things happen in life. I was lucky enough to go to the first day of the tour de France three weeks earlier in Leeds. I had bought a new phone and took a whole series of photos with my thumb over the lens, lots of cars and people but not one bike racer!
Oh no!!! I feel your pain. With your comment, I remembered a dream l had last night. I was going to repel down a mountain, but my phone died. I was racing around trying to charge it. Sheesh! That’s from all the times when it was dead or my camera didn’t work.
You should read this morning’s post. It is really trippy! I was reluctant to share it!
Thanks for stopping by!