Today we made the longer trip to
Arles. We drove some lovely roads through the
country side, past many of those strange apple groves – we’ve begun to feel
sorry for apple trees that aren’t allowed to grow naturally – and then down a
long stretch of road lined with plane trees.
These trees look a lot like sycamores unless they are pollarded. This is a pruning process that creates great
big knots at the end of a branch. We
have seen pollarded plane trees mostly in towns – apparently, the young branches
were originally used for fodder or for fuel.
In any case, they are a feature in most towns around this area. Kathy says they make her think of Tolkien’s
ents and they do look like they could reach down and clobber you. J
We couldn’t decide what to see first so we sat down for a cup of coffee. Lee went to use the WC and met a man from near
Orleans. We had a lovely chat before taking off down
Rue du Voltaire in search of the Van Gogh “easels” which are located at points
around town where he painted. Sigh, we
found two only. But we did some great
shopping! Even Lee shopped; he bought a
hat to keep the sun off his head and, naturally, made friends with the shop
owners. Another delightful chat ensued
and we all made friends with Corteau, the labrador who looks after the shop.
We walked some more, discovered a visiting circus and the
Rhone. Then we
headed back into town to find lunch. The
first place we tried, recommended by the Rick Steves book, was not open on Tuesdays. So we went around the corner to a sidewalk
café and had another fabulous meal! Each
of us had a different quiche with salad (all salads here are dressed just with
olive oil and maybe a little salt) and then we had ice cream or sorbet. Apparently, it is now warm enough to make
it. We had been told several times
before now that it was not time. I
suppose when you make your own, you wait until the demand is greater.
The wine we had at lunch was so good, we crossed the
Rhone to find a shop that sold it. While our café owner knew about them, they
had never heard of the café. We got a
few reds, too, one of which wasn’t all that good. And then Kathy drove us home with a few stops
to take pictures of the tree-lined road, the sandstone wall-lined road and
something else I have forgotten. We are
always on the lookout for a good picture.
We have been here a week and the snow on top of Mont Ventoux decreases by the hour. We might see if the mountain is open and go back before we leave; that is, if there is time.
Today, the 17th, Bev, Lee and Kathy have gone of to the Gorges du Verdon, the Grand Canyon of Europe. It is 2300 feet deep and many miles long. And the road along the gorge is said to be one of the most treacherous in
Provence; hence, I am not with them –
heights and narrow, windy roads not being on my list of fun things to do.
So this is my day off. Laundry, reading and a nap are in the offing. The weather is once again simply beautiful with cloud-free blue skies and a nice breeze coming in the windows. Someone is operating a jackhammer not too far away so it is not completely quiet but I have heard many birds calling back and forth. We have cuckoos and magpies and really mournful mourning doves. There is also a cat who wanders by occasionally but is not the least bit interested in greeting the strangers. Must be a female….