I’m off to rest my muscles; boot camp is kicking my butt!
South of France by Patricia
After our plane landed in Paris we rushed over to take the train to Lyon to catch up with folks that we met on our boat cruise in St.Louis. The plan was to stay with them and tour around the city. Well as it turned out we went to the wrong station and missed our train and missed the people. Once we got to Lyon and realized there was no way to get in touch with them we grabbed our lonely planet and quickly picked a hotel and taxied over. As luck would have it they only had room for one night but that was ok because Aaron had mistakenly booked our train to Marseille a day early. The next morning we hopped on board and just before we arrive in Marseille the ticket guy comes along and we give him our ticket but he wants to see our original euro rail pass. Oh,oh, it seems that Aaron has lost it. (Isn’t it me that does that stuff?) So on the spot we are kind of panicking and fumbling around chucking all these papers on the seat trying to find it …which is not happening. (The other passengers are now looking at us pityingly) Then the really snotty ticket taker guy (language problem) said we have to pay 110 Euros (for a ticket we already paid for) so Aaron grumpily grabs one credit card…..it doesn’t work…..then another one ……..it doesn’t work either. Then I grab my card …….nope…..not working. The guy is NOT happy with us. Finally I produce one that actually does work, voila! When we get there we spend the first hour trying to sort it all out and get a refund. My Goodness! A rocky start but it all got better and Marseille is tres magnifique!
The same time the Australian Racing Team (sailboat) decided the wind was howling hard enough and the seas high enough for them to do a training run was the same time our 3 hour boat cruise started. We were off to cruise the coastline and take in all the sights and sounds of the little towns and bays along the way. To begin with we had to cross open water for about 30 minutes. It was really rough and I was a bit scared however once we got through that part and near the shore and slowed down, the water was much calmer and believe me it was worth it. The coast is magnificent with towering rock bluffs and clear blue water and the little inlets with their cafes and whitewashed cottages are just adorable. We sat in the boat basking in the sun slowly motoring into all the different bays and loving it all. On the way back I swear we were in a mini gale it was that rough. The boat was rolling all over the place because of the fierce wind, and water was splashing up over the sides and drenching everyone. Later Aaron said it was only medium rough. Well, my scale for determining level of roughness is…..... a) how many people fell down?….2 b) how many people got sick?.....1 c) how many people got wet? ……75 %. That equals VERY ROUGH in my book.
Our house exchange house in Avignon is adorable and in a verdant, picturesque, peaceful environment. It is warm - 31 today but nothing like the 42 they are having in Tucson right now.
The Chateauneuf – du- Pape really lived up to its reputation. Driving there Aaron kept spotting winery after winery that he declared “was his favorite one”. Chateau La Nerth, Vive Telegraph,…Chateau Beaurenar…...and the list goes on. After a few tastings (degustations) we were kind of down for the count. Out of shape because of the lack of Napa Valley trips in recent years we bogged down quickly and had to stop for dejeuner (lunch) and re-group. (Only a petite glass de vin rouge for lunch) One more stop at the wine museum for a tasting guided by a sommelier, and we were done for. Not too worry, we came back a couple of days ago went for a hike and did a repeat Vive Telegraph (luckily it was a different guy at the counter) and Aaron discovered a new favorite “Domaine Font de Michelle “. I don’t think there is any bad wine here…. Help!
We had a fun day trip to a town called Arles. Easily walk able we spent the day drifting through the city that Vincent Van Gough made famous. He painted over 200 canvases but not one single one remains here. Weird. However, the main attraction for us was all the Roman ruins. The city had backed Julius Caesar during the time he was seizing and plundering Marseille (they supported his rival Pompey) so he rewarded them by giving them lots of cash and built a fantastic theater. The result was a gorgeous city with allot going for it. Arles is fairly touristy but this year due to the bad economy tourism is down which is really good for us. We spend days having long walks through the countryside, alternating with zipping through a maze of towns and villages guided by our trusty GPS who keeps telling Aaron “you are over the speed limit” thank you girlfriend!
The addiction list has now grown to include baguettes plus a budding problem with cheeses. Let’s see…. The list now includes Advil, natural tears, wine, sleeping pills and allergy medication…plus the new stuff…..yikes. What addictions does India have in store for us? Hopefully it is curried vegetables! Good thing Barb and I are checking out ayurvedic spas!! We are off to Delhi this weekend.
Cheers from Pat and Aaron