This is the nineteenth post in the Around the World Birthday Extravaganza Series. Please scroll to the bottom to see all the other posts in this series.
We arrived in Europe (Alba to be exact) on the morning of November 14th, 2015. The awful terrorist attacks in Paris had occurred less than twelve hours earlier. Imagine the shock, the confusion, and utter sadness we felt when we landed in Europe to wake up to this horrifying news. France had been next on our agenda. Our plan was to head to Bordeaux on November 17th, and then to Paris on November 21st.
I have to be honest. We debated whether to still go to Paris.
One of my friends suggested driving to the Basque region of Spain instead, since it wasn’t too far away from Bordeaux. We wondered what Paris would be like – would there be a ton of security? Was it still safe? Wasn’t one of the terrorists still at large?
Eventually, we decided to stick with our plan. Yes, I definitely was a bit nervous, but at this point, sadly, I had started getting used to living under this “new normal” – a “normal” that included a constant, underlying discomfort mixed with a bit of fear, heightened awareness, and a persistent, “we-must-go-on” resilience. We felt it after 9/11. More recently, we felt it after the Boston bombings.
So on November 21, 2015, exactly 8 days after the attacks, we stepped onto a train from Bordeaux to Paris….