Thursday, November 3, 2011

France Day 12

Monday, October 10, 2011

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.

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