There is no other way to to describe today but as a gesamtkunstwerk. For those of you who may have never heard this term before, it literally means: Together-Art-Work.

Basically it means the bringing together of many forms of the arts into one all-encompassing vision. Did I ever experience that today. What a present to receive on my last real day to explore in France. Yesterday, it rained although it did dissipate in the afternoon, so it was a fitting day to go indoors to see the Museum/Palace. Today, I hoped it would be better, and my hopes were rewarded. I awoke to the bluest cloudless sky I’ve seen in some time. Summer.

Today was going to be the gardens of Versailles. I needed to do a long run today, I thought how better to experience them then to run through them. The best way to see them would be on horse back, but considering I don’t have a horse, and they are rather forbidden now in Versailles. So in order to see the entire vastness that is the gardens, I laced of my shoes and donned my shirt and shorts and headed out. To add to the grandeur of the fountains, hedges, flowers, sculptures, and waterways, they play music and time the music to the water. So here I am running through the most beautiful gardens ever, with Baroque music being piped everywhere, sculpture everywhere, and the dance of water timed to the music…and I’m running in it. I started to cry it was so beautiful, so perfect, so wonderful. The only other time I’ve experienced that multi-sensual kind of experience with relation to art was the opening ceremonies of the last summer Olympics. I was in awe, the only thing that could have made it better would have been to go spearfishing afterward! Gesamtkunstwerk!

After running and watching the show for 2.5 hours…yes it was a long run, but there was a lot of watching, I came back to the hotel for a shower. I then headed out for round two. The day was so nice, I new the photos I took today would be perfect lighting. Plus I wanted to walk the rest of the park. The park is kind of like the Louvre, you really could spend a week exploring it. There was also one last building of Marie Antoinette’s that I hadn’t been to. Here is an amazing inventive ladder/stool/bench that I discovered in her study. So smart and inventive!

By this time the place was crawling with people enjoying what has to be the best day of summer. I walked, and walked, and walked loving it all. After doing a complete loop I lay down next to the Grande Canal and watched boaters, sunbathers, and a father play a French version of Red-Light/Green-Light with his kids. I lay there thinking how grateful I am. When you get down in life, remembering the penultimate moments like this one was, it makes all of it make sense.

As the sun began to wain, I went in search of great pictures. For those of you who may not know. The best pictures are to be had when the sun has a low declination, the shadows are long, and the colors are saturated; basically sunset and sunrise. I was rewarded for my patience. I’m not going to describe much, just enjoy the fantastic vistas, and know that I am thankful for you all sharing this journey with me.

Here is one of a family of parrots that I found flying around and eating Mulberry berries. I forgot to mention, while at the McSpaddens, we all picked Mulberries off the tree, and then I baked us all a pie/tart with them. Pretty cool eating off the land, and cool that it was an entire family project.

Parting shots of France.