Maybe one of the most beautiful medieval towns I’ve ever seen,
St Jean Pied de Port, France, also had an air of magic to it for me.
My great grandfather was born in a tiny village about 8km from there,
and no doubt he was in this larger, more prominent town many times throughout his life
before he immigrated to America (in 1906).
As I was standing under a several hundred year old tree,
wondering if he ever stood there, a sorta silly thought kept going through my head:
“How far back does this go?”
I mean after all his father lived there too, and his father’s father lived not far from there,
and at one point Napoleon came through here, and it is believed that Charlemagne did as well
(my mind was just spiraling at that point).
I realized that my lineage goes back for as far as human history does. All of ours do.
It’s not something people think about very often, maybe because it’s kinda freaky to think about.
It had been over 100 years since anyone in my family had returned to the birthplace of my great grandfather,
and as I stood in the Basque Country I felt smaller, and bigger, all at the same time.