Let me share with you The joys of Provence
Buying fresh vegetables and fruit at the outdoor market, gnochi, basil and cheese right from the purveyor. Swiping a cherry or two, smelling the fresh spices, even taking a taste of dry sausages made locally. Meandering the shopping streets, buying from a traditional Provincial fabric shop the same patterns we saw worn by the women partaking in an evening parade down the streets of Arles holding candles and fire sticks, as if they jumped out of a Van gogh or Cezanne painting. Drinking an absinthe at the Cafe Van Gogh, where he once painted and probably imbibed as well, reading the architecture dating back to the Romans. Having a chai tea in a cafe run by British expats watching Wimbledon, while in the parks they toss bochi balls, children run and scream as they always do, but we have no hurries to make. Each day a new discovery and adventure, going round and round in the endless roundabouts, digging for change at the countless tolls, eyeing Van Gogh’s fields of sun flowers, running naked on the beach into blue jade salty water, rocking to gentle waves.
Hearing the doves in mourning, the church bells in time, the lowly musician in the open plaza, african ladies with beaded braided posters offering, slipping through an open door, to a hidden garden, driving through the path of the moon, taking a narrow mountain roadway, snapping pictures from open windows. Thank goodness for GPS. How did I ever manage to drive in Europe before without Samsung. Thank goodness for Mr. DeLorme whose boat I rode for developing the technology. Who cares if the NSA is following me, I would rather follow my blue little dot running along the map, rather than blunder every turn and highway exit, driving for hours lost in the dark night streets trying to get directions in French or Italian.
Each day is a surprise, some mornings we wake up and have no idea where we will be staying that night. Thanks to the GPS and mobile internet, being an itinerant traveler can be so so so much easier than ever before. Can just look up booking buddy or airbnb in a snap to find a decent cheap hotel or apartment for the night. There has only been one place through airbnb that was such a let down that we actually asked for our money back and found a quick hotel/apartment for what was supposed to be our second night in what we thought would be a romantic chalet in the countryside outside of Aix-en-Provence, instead it was a rundown, in the middle of being renovated old stone house right next to a corporate office building that had a perpetual hum coming from its air conditioning that so played on our nerves, and then on top of that there was a disco somewhere nearby that was playing that thumping bass beat until 5:30 in the morning. We could even hear the people laughing and screaming over the music. Sound travels far in the countryside. It was the only night where we both could not sleep. The next day we were dragging our feet
through the old City of Aix-en-Provence, but managed to find the inspiration to attend a performance of Baroque music in a 16th Century chapel, which sent shivers up and down my spine.
Hopefully tonight all will be well in our quiet little room with twin beds and a terrace in Avignon, where we happened to have stumbled on the beginning of a three week theatre festival. While walking through the ancient streets, where at every corner and in the middle of the streets musicians, actors, dancers and clowns are plying their wares through mini performances and handing out flyers. The whole city is covered with posters and is filled with a wonderful artistic vibe, one that we have not experienced yet in all our travels out in the public. There is a great mix of all types of people, interacting and sharing in the joyful light of Provence through the meandering streets of the past millennium.
Today was our last full day of touring the South of France, Tomorrow we plan to visit Les Palais Ideal then off to Valloire for the Hay Sculpture show and contest.
Michele, So nice to get your newsletter. Beautiful blog too. You have a lovely spirit – perhaps a touch
of my dear friend Barbara?