We thought yesterday was windy, but we were mistaken; today was windy, VERY WINDY! It would have been warm, except for the wind. We had our last breakfast in Les Baux, it was a tasty way to end our visit in this tiny town.
We drove to Marsailles, which was not covered by our map, but we made it o.k. Once there we toured around the waterfront area doing some shopping. Almost all of the city is under construction right now which made it tough to get out of the city, not to mention that it was rush hour. When we finally made it out and started over the hills towards Cassis, it was almost one and one quarter hours later. But boy was it worth it when we started down the other side and saw the red cliffs and the Mediteranean that makes up Cassis. It was spectacular and worth the effort.
We checked into our four star hotel where one whole wall of our room is a sliding glass door that opens to a terrace overlooking the rugged shoreline (Mandy says I shouldn't say "rugged" but should use "cliffed" or "boulderly" cuz she thinks rugged is reserved for scruffy men on Black Angus steak commercials). We love our room.
The pool is right on the edge of a small cliff with lounge chairs strategically placed around it, all overlooking the sea. The pool actually looks like it flows over the edge and into the sea.
Then we took a 10 minute walk into town and selected a restaurant from dozens all lined up waiting to be chosen. We had a 4 cheese penne pasta dish and salad. All-in-all, a good night.
P.S. New words for the day: saumon = salmon, amandes = almonds, taille = size, heures = hours
5/29 Upper 70's, windy but warm
It was an easy drive to Nimes, but difficult finding where to park once we got into the city. We circled the city three times and probably through it twice via half concealed alleyways (I'm sure some of them were one way - not our way) but we finally found a spot to park.
We enjoyed seeing the many churches and historic buildings. Nimes has a great Roman arena dating from about 150 AD; the best preserved of it's kind and still in use today (we think they were preparing for a bull fight). There were a few other Roman sites, one called Maison Carrèe, a Roman temple.
Kat lost her voice, but is feeling well enough to pursue touristy things. We ate dinner back in Les Baux: Mandy had pizza and Kat had dessert.
New French words for the day: Ouverte = open, anchovè = anchovies, thon = tuna, bierre = beer, chivros = spicy salamie or pepperoni;
I am perplexed to learn that an issue I found puzzling in our area has even reached France. While on our way to Nimes, we saw two lost soles; alone and forlorn looking on the side of the road. We almost stopped to attemt a rescue, but it would have caused an accident, so we kept on, though their plight never left our minds. Feeling guilty, we kept ourselves alert on our return trip hoping to see another in need of rescue - nothing. We vowed to watch, alert and ready for the remainder of our time here (though we suspect Venice will not have the issue).
After much thought and conversation, we had an idea to start a non-profit organization called "Lost Soles, Internationalè" or something similar. Clearly we have a global issue here: shoes left alone & stranded on the side of the road.
Those of you who wish to donate may do so by contacting us and making your generous donations to us at any time. Your support is graciously appreciated.
OK, we have been here for two days and gotten lost 4 times. However, we still think we are doing well considering gravel roads, lack of signage, and the foreign language. We spent the main part of Sunday hoofing around Avignon and then meandering many scenic roads trying to find Les Baux.
When we finally did find Les Baux, we were pleasantly surprised. It sits high above the valley and is literally carved out of the rock. We happened on a parking lot just before we reached the town with signs to a cave; we had to investigate. After walking past massive blocks of stone there was a passage lit with blacklights. Inside was a wine cellar! After tasting some not-so-good wines, we made our way up to the town itself where we had to park outside and then walk in.
We are staying at Le Prince Noir, a very unique B&B. It is carved out of the rocks. We have a beautiful terrace that looks out over the town and the valley.
We could not resist the Crepes; deciding it would be our dessert, figuring we would have dinner later. This gave us the fortitude to manage bringing our car into town after all the tourists left and drop off our suitcases. We drove up 6 foot, scratch that, 5 foot wide cobblestone streets, pedestrians had to scramble to get out of the way in order to escape our inexperience on these roads.
Dinner was pesto pasta and an assortment of fromage since we knew what those items were. We figure we know about 40 French words now: Chantilly (whipping cream), jambon (ham), fromage (cheese), sortie (exit) - we took a few wrong turns to figure out that one, rouge (red), vin (wine) :), le addition (check please), crepes (crepes), poulet (chicken), limonade (sprite), and a few more.
We finished off our six mile walking day by sitting on the terrace, taking sunset photos (Kat got an earful about Daniel). It was very romantic with the warm air coming up the rocky mountainside. In fact Mandy mentioned that she wished she could have shared some of the
fresh pesto pasta with Daniel since he loves it so.
Today we are visiting Nimes and hopefully Pont du Gard.
We will tell you all about it tomorrow.
P.S. We found a huge scrape on the driver side door of our car in Avignon. Good thing we purchased the extra insurance!
Today is Sunday and we really had to look hard to find an internet cafe that was open. We are in Avingnon and most of the shops are closed, but the restaurants are really kickin. We were treated to a marching band of what looked like high school students. (yes Daniel, we did take photos).
We visited the Papal Palace here that dates back to the 900 to 1300 AD, the town goes back to 900 BC! We saw some incredible views, walls, towers and statues. Hopefully we will be able to post pictures in a day or so.
Today we are sweating like jambones (ham in French) as it is 90 degrees out. We would elaborate more, however these keyboards have the letters in all the zrong places; and it ,qkes it reqlly hqrd to type: Ze donùt have the pqtience to sit here qnd figure it out enough to keep on zith our story:
Nqndy qnd Kqt: lol
I have two - no, three days left. I think, but I could be wrong (I was wrong once before a few years ago). I've been so busy this last week that I think I accidently mailed my head off to someone and forgot to put postage on the package, AND my return address. There's a challenge for our the trusty USPS!
I'm so glad vacation is just around the corner.
We leave Friday around 7:00 p.m., non-stop to London. We'll arrive at Heathrow around noon or so and then immediately have to get to the middle of London to catch the Eurostar train that goes under the English Channel and into Paris. Once in Paris we have to train over to another station across the city in order to board a high-speed train down to the Avignon in the Provence region in the South. We'll be traveling 26 hours straight. Sleep in a bed will be sweet, I'm thinking!
One of my other nieces (no she didn't have a birthday) is getting married in August. She spent part of a year in France last year as an exchange student, and while there purchased her wedding gown. Mandy and I will be picking up her dress and bringing it home with us! I'm finding that this makes me feel very important here. I can just picture some action movie about us trying to keep the gown intact, away from thieves, unscrupulous hoteliers, and MY forgetfulness. I can tell you, if I came back
In case you're wondering, here's our basic itinerary: our first several days will be around Avignon, Arles, Orange and other similar hilltowns before we head to the coast: Cassis. After Cassis is the Frejus/St. Tropez area and then further East to a small town just outside of Nice. Our last 4 days will be in Venice before we jet back to London and on home. We'll be gone for 15 days!
Europe, here we come!
In two weeks my daughter, Mandy, and I head off for Europe! We're very excited about the prospect of connecting as adults and enjoying history, beautiful scenery, and beaches.
True to form, my husband's countdown to our "D" (departure) day is again flawed but fun. See, you don't count the current day and you don't count the day you leave either. Of course, Sundays are a day of rest, so you can't count those; so I believe he has us down to about 11 days until we leave. We really leave in 15 days.
Mandy and I are going to fly to London then take the Eurostar through the Chunnel and on into Paris. From Paris we'll quickly hop onto a high-speed train down to the Southern portion of France. We'll spend about 5 days in the Provence region where we'll visit Arles, Avignon, Cassis, Orange, and more. After those towns we'll head off for the Riviera! We have several stops along the famous beaches there in towns close to Nice, Monaco, and St. Tropez. The last four nights of our trip will be in Venice, one of my most favorite places to visit so far. I know Mandy will love it there.
We'll try to post as we go so you can all see what we're up to. Depending on our access to the internet and other technological goodies, we may even be able to post a photo or two. Please feel free to comment too.
We leave on Friday evening on May 26th and return on Sunday June 11th. Yipee!!!