from newlywed to retiree: on places, and what it means to love them

It's interesting what we block out when we dream of or anticipate a place. We must ignore the great unspooled ribbon of mind-numbing highway. The ugly big-box stores. The cloud cover that renders a day as colorless as a lump of pizza dough. Sometimes I think we reserve those kinds of stringent observations for home: to criticize what we are used to and tired of.

secret garden: serre de la madone

Menton, France has a Secret Garden beauty, rich as it is in dilapidated grandeur.  There are candy pastel hotels tucked in the hills, once wedding cake-grand but now closed with broken windows. The small downtown area houses murals, fountains, and statues that show their age. A striking yellow staircase leads from the Basilique St. Michel down …

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