In the first few days of 2008, I lost two very special people.  First, John O’Donohue, a spiritual teacher and a friend, died suddenly in his sleep on January 3rd.  He had just turned 52.

Then my French brother, Gilbert, who my dad tried to adopt during WWII and wasn’t able to, but who I found in 1994 and who did become my French brother, died of liver cancer on January 20th.

I was going to France in late January, to visit Gilbert and to write some travel articles.  Gilbert got sick in November, so I thought I had time.  I missed him by four days.

I was able to move my trip up to get to his memorial service in time. Then, after spending six days with his widow, Huguette, I traveled to Ireland to go to John’s memorial service at the Galway cathedral.

After such a powerful beginning to my year—death in three languages—English, French and Gaelic, I began a whirlwind trip of French spas, Truflle Hunting, and delectable wine, gourmet food and chocolate.  What a contrast.

But as always, France took me into her arms and held me tight.  And as John O’Donohue would say, I was ‘minded ‘every step of the way.

This blog and the photos that follow were what I sent to friends and family to keep them up on my journey.

Enjoy!

-Diane

'Traveling in Europe' 2008

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