Thanks for bearing with me on all the France posts. Now I have a little journal I can look back on to remember all that we did.
The journey home was not all that easy. We had about a 90 minute delay in Marseille. Which then put me very late for a connection in Frankfurt. So late in fact that I missed the flight. The next one was 4 hours later. (And so much for German efficiency. My bag missed that flight.) Now usually that is not that big of a deal. I travel pretty often and that kind of time frame would usually mean I could read another book, yea. In this instance, not so much. I was very anxious to get home and 4 hours put me way past the Bug's bed time so no way they could come get me. So sad. And so tired. Truly tired by the time I got home. And so good to be home.
As I was getting ready for bed the little one found me and I got such good hugs. That must mean she forgave me. (She wouldn't talk to me on the phone any of the times that I called. And I called a lot.) We got to snuggle together all night. Bliss.
Today we headed to Aix-en-Provence to le Cours Mirabeau, quoted as the most beautiful street in the world. It was very pretty. But I think maybe I have been spoiled on this trip. Spoiled by the very small towns and villages we have visited. Spoiled by the wine country in Alsace. Spoiled by the open country we have driven through. Yes, it is a beautiful street.
There are wide open sidewalks on both sides of the street. The side that got the most sun had numerous cafes up and down. There were fountains at every cross street. Some small and some spectacular. The trees were large and majestic, arching over the street. But it was still just a city street.
I think I prefer the side streets. They seem to have so much character. Little hidden gems.
We had lunch in a cafe on the main drag and enjoyed the people watching. But unfortunately it was my first disappointing meal, and it was my last. Bummer. We walked around looking for soccer, or football shirts. It was the only real request from anyone so we were bound and determined to find some. But no luck. Hopefully Marseille will be more successful for that task. We did find a department store instead. I got lots of things for the bug, plus some french panties. I felt I needed some french lingerie. Although I am not sure these qualify exactly as lingerie. They are not that fancy, as it was not that high end of a store. Good for my wallet and my depleted supply of Euros, not so good for the ‘French’ factor. Oh well.
After a few hours we headed to the coast to Cassis. When we try to use the map ourselves, we pretty much fail. And yet we still do it. Ultimately we made it. We had a hard time finding parking at first. Usually we have been very lucky. This time there was much internal and a bit of external swearing, much extra driving, making last minute turn decisions and wild guesses on the right direction. And finally it worked out. As we were walking in the direction of town I turned around and took a picture. A woman who was walking near us asked what I had taken a picture of. I explained that I take pictures of the road sign for where we park so I can find the car, or at least know what street name to ask for. Not sure what she thought of that. Her comments were in french. I am going to think she had a nice response.
We went down to the harbor and wandered a bit. It really isn't that big. Then decided to sit in one of the cafes along the 'boardwalk'. It's the thing to do, just order a drink and watch. But I felt then pressure to order food since we were there taking up space. I know, very American of me. So profiteroles it was. And they weren't so great either. A truly disappointing culinary day. But the view was great.
My Grandfather, my father's father, who was French, always used to drink Cassis. So we picked up a hat for my dad from Cassis. Although we found out that this was not the same Cassis. The conversation was again in french so I many not have gotten it right. Here is my take. This particular town does not produce the spirit Cassis. It is named after a fruit that grows in the area. I wonder where Cassis is produced? (EDIT: Aha, it is actually called Creme de Cassis and is made from blackcurrants and mostly produced in Burgundy. And this also clarifies that the town is not named after a fruit. I knew she was telling me something about a fruit but obviously got it a bit mixed up.)
Another stroll around took us by a bocce court where some older gentlemen were playing. Although here I think it is called Boule. And one note on this. It is not really called Bocci Ball, or Boule Ball, as that is repetitive. Bocci and Boule mean ball. So unless you want to call the game ball ball, just one will do. Past the Boule area was the beach. Mom decided she had to put her feet in the Mediterranean. So she did.
At this point it was nearing sunset and the colors and shadows were so pretty.
So this is it. I leave very early tomorrow to head out to the aiport in Marseille. Homeward bound. What an amazing experience. I am so fortunate to have been able to not only have this time with my mom, but to do it in such beautiful places. I am very blessed.
Today was Market Day at L'Isle sur la Sorgue, lots of shopping, foot and gifts. Great day. So very French in my mind. And so beautiful. Still cooler and windy, but beautiful none the less.
Lunch was a fun treat. A huge slice of pizza (jambon of course) and they kind of roll it up and put it in paper so you can eat it on the go. Very clever.
So colorful, stands for locals every day shopping, olives, cheese, bread, fruits and veggies, meats, everything.
But then also very flea markety stuff. Mom got a wonder chopper with two wonder peelers. I won't be surprised if we see them in the halls of crap at the fair next year. Very cool! So they play to a pretty big mix. And every French woman we saw, okay at least ninety precent, wore a scarf. So of course we had to get scarves. And we kept seeing beautiful ones for gifts. Yep, lots of scarves.
Then to Fontaine du Vaucluse. This is supposed to be where the start of a spring is. So of course there is water running through the town. It is another beautiful picturesque town.
The water was beautifully clear. And seemed to be bright green. I'm not sure if it was really the water, or just that it was so clear you could see all of the very healthy plants growing. Again, assuming they are growing so well because the water is so clear.
We had a late, leisurely lunch on the river. Actually we just had crepes. At first I felt compelled to order something with some nutritional value, not sure why, but definitely felt that pressure. Then heard my mom order a crepe and realized I really didn't need to eat real food. I am on vacation. I can just have dessert. We watched the water go by on one side, and the people on the other. Oh, and I got ice in my soda again. Gold letter day. We then wandered up a very nice, well travelled path along side the river. Beautiful scenery.
(EDIT: And here it is. The start of it all. Down that very steep, rocky, unsafe hill.)
I really don't know if we started out any earlier today than any other day, but it continues to be the goal. We headed out to Chateauneuf Du Pape. This is actually a town or village or city, not sure what ranking it gets here, more of a village in my mind. But it is pretty famous for wine. Really good expensive red wine. And it is not just one winery. There are gobs of them. So many that the map for the village is all just tasting rooms and wine sellers.
All I really wanted was a postcard to send to my Dad and my Aunt Denise. I remember when my aunt flew out to surprise my dad for his 75th birthday, her one goal was to get a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape for him. I think she said that was the wine their parents had at their wedding. But in true idiotic American style, we showed up at 12:05 pm. Yep, smack dab in the middle of nap time when nothing is opened. So we drove around and kind of accidentally found what I think was the the original Chateua, now a ruin. It was at the very top of the hill and had majestic views. The wind was also back today with very strong gusts. So I think many of my photos will be out of focus because the wind was literally blowing me and the camera around. But it was still beautiful none the less.
We then wandered down and ended up in the town. We did find one open store that sold beautiful knit sweaters (that absolutely did not fit my body, dang it) and some gorgeous scarves. I got me one of those. Reminds me of lavender flowers and fields. We then had a delicious lunch at an outdoor cafe. The menu du jour was filet mignon with champignon (mushrooms), tomato and mozzarella. So we were thinking our kind of filet mignon, you know, cow flavor. Nope, this was pork. And absolutely delicious! We sat next to a very large party hosted by a very gregarious man with a sweet big dog who sat with him. Unfortunately he kept talking to us but I have absolutely no idea what he was saying. So I just smiled, a lot. I can follow your French if I first tell you that I don't speak it, okay maybe just a little. And if I know what the subject is. Words out of the blue stay out of the blue for me. But I liked the dog.
After lunch we hit the tourism office to see if there was an area that other stores we could wander in, you know, stores other than wine stores. And she either didn't understand me or there really weren't any. Or at least that is what I understood. I finally just asked where I could get a post card and she told me the Tabac, but it didn't open until 4. Mom was not eager (or even willing) to wait around an hour an a half for that. Oh well, my one goal, quashed. But we did go to a chocolate store on the way out of town. A very fancy chocolate store. And we bought stuff. Now to get it home without melting...
We regrouped once we got to the car. It was all up hill. Steep, steep hills which took a bit to recover from. Hey, I probably could have run back down to the Tabac at that point. (teasing!) We decided to go to Roussillon. It is a town known for the red coloring of the cliffs that it is built on. If you are from my area, its kind of like Red Rock just up from my parents' house. Or for the rest of you, similar to the color of the Grand Canyon. That is how they describe it. It was quite the adventure getting there. We let the lady (GPS lady) direct us. And we went through some pretty crazy small, skinny, windy, hilly roads. The kind where you hope there are no cars coming around the corner. The lady did pretty good this time. Well except for one time. Although her directions were accurate, she kept saying make a left turn, make a left turn. I bust out laughing because if I didn't follow the road to the left, the only way it was going, I would have driven directly off the cliff. I don't think my passenger thought it was that funny. Maybe you had to be there.
The cliffs really were beautiful. And they have an overlook that shows some erosion that has happened, but you get to see a range of colors from deep red at the top through orange and yellow, down to a shade of white at the base.
We wandered a bit and I found a cemetery. Yeehaw. For some reason I have become fascinated with the cemeteries here. They are amazing. First of all, they are very crowded which looks really cool, the monuments and markers range from very sleek and modern and newer, to those from the 1800's, ornate carvings, crosses, moseleums as well as markers. For some reason I am thinking they are really cool. This is the third one I've photographed on this trip.