Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Provence - better late than never

Bonjour tous les monde!

I sit here in the middle of a Provencal town listening to cuckoos and pigeons, a dog barking, and the murmur of people preparing to return to school and work. The sun is beating down and the winds gently move the air bringing with it all the smells one hopes to find in this land - lavender, verveine, green growing things, flowers of all types, baking bread, food in preparation. My friends have left for a walk and I've finally a moment to catch up.

It's been a whirlwind five/six days. Flights were late, but time was made up in flights somehow such that all connections - plane and train - were met. Our seats on the train from Paris to Avignon were on the observation (second level) and it was amazing again to see and understand just what an agricultural country this is. Wheat, grains for making canola oils, orchards of olive, cherry and almonds, and of course grapevines all dotted the landscape as we traveled south. I was tired, but couldn't bring myself to fall asleep until the last hour or so of the ride because it was just too lovely to miss. But after so many hours without sleep, I finally succumbed.

We arrived in Avignon's TGV station, got our car and headed to Apt - known by the Romans as Apt Julia and in which part of the original Roman Road is still used. When we arrived at what we believed to be our home base we were greated by our hostess (Paul & Betty sister Jinny) who looked out the window, wished us a Bienvenue and told us not to unpack the car. After all we'd been through over the last 24 - 30 hours, another surprise was not something we were looking forward to finding. It seems she had been having work done on her apartment and, as is common with French workers, the work was not yet done and would not be until Tuesday...sigh. Now what we all wonder. However, she did have a plan, we all retired to her Frenchman's lovely home outside Apt. He was a designer of furniture in Paris and had retired to the countryside. His place was very nice, but we were completely cut off from everything - no phone, internet, nada. As you can imagine, this put a bit of a crimp in our ability to let family and friends know we'd arrived as well as arrived safely, let alone let me keep an eye on the business.

The stay at Alexander's was very pleasant and he was a fine host. However, he spoke no English and we, well speak very little French and what we do speak certainly wasn't good, but we tried. We ate and drank our fill every single day...cepes lasagna, canneloni, lamb targine, white asparagus, couscous, paella, quail, rhubarb yogurt, cheese, bread, olives, it's been gluttonous time...and fabulous.

We've been to two markets - the one in Apt and one in Vaison-les-Romaines. As expected I was transported with all the sights, sounds and smells. spices, cheeses, breads, strawberries, tomatoes, olives...oh my stars! Of course, I've bought the place out amazing how quickly money disappears even with the dollar strengthening against the Euro.

More to come as this is just was just the beginning. Lots has been done, but thought I'd better get this loaded as I'm being bombarded with "where's the blog update" queries. On the side bar I'll be listing the wines consumed by date for your drooling pleasure...my best to all. More to come I promise!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jealous. Have a Great time!