Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Provence, France

Sue and I left Boston under the usual security hogwash: No water bottles or any other liquids: On passanger arrived late, and we had to wait for them to take his luggage off the plane because he was denied boarding. In Amsterdam the plane waited for the late passenger. Go figure.

We arrived in Marselle but only stayed long enough to visit the Notre Dame of the Sea Cathederal. We had a nice lunch after the tour and drove to Casis, our home while in France. We got a car with GPS, which is necessary in a foreign land. I,m finding the keyboard foreign also. It is just different enough to have to slow down a bit to look at the keys. It would look like this if I didn,t. (It zould look like this if I didn%t). Just a little off.


Logan Airport in Boston.

Day 1
We took a boat to En Vau, and hung around that Calanques for a couple of hours then hiked out. The first part of the hike, to Port Pin, was very steep and treacherous. Hiking into the Colanques there is a warning sign. There may have been a sign at our end, but we were too much in awe of the whole place:

En Vau, Casis France.

Begin the hike out

Looking back to the start of the hike.


Ma and Pa at the top of En Vau.

We continued to Port Miou where we lunced on baguette, ham and some very creamy Chamonbert cheese. When we finally arrived back in Casis, we rewarded ourselves with a cold French beer.

Lunch at Port Miou, French Riviera

After dinner, while strolling around we heard a lot of cheering from a nearby Cafe. My instinct made me shout "soccer game". The Euro qualifier that was the rematch of the French/Italian world cup. This time the result was as it should be.
3 France
1 Italy

Keith wanted to go back to the Colanques by kayack. Sue took the boat and I hung around town for a while before hiking out and meeting Sue halfway. I didn´t want to do that steep one again. On the way our I met a couple of 30ish Artist following the paths of Renoir. They were good company and we split at the final path to Colunque En Vu. Sue arrived just as I was preparing lunch. We stuck up a converstation with the young park ranger Jean. He had been to America a couple of times and specifically to Boston and Cape Cod.

In general we found all the French in provence very friendly. Jean told us that in other parts of France, the locals really dislike Americans. I told him it is the same in America. There are lots of backwards people who dislike the French. Especially those who had never been to France.

Here is some information about hiking the Calanques of the French Riviera.

Hiking the Calanques of Casis

Good General Calanques Information

Day 3 Avignon Click Here for photobucket slidshow.

We drove to Avignon for a day trip. We visited Site Du Pont Gard, an aqueduct built over two thousand years ago by the Romans.

After lunch in town, we met up with our Dutch guide Mike, of Wine Safari.
We toured the popes summer home on the Rhone, a drive through the Cotes de Rhone wine district. The trip culminated at a small wine family farm. They had just harvested the first batch of white grapes for the 2006 year and had just begun the first process of the winemaking.

2006 white grape harvest

Touring the vinyard

The leftovers, to make grappa


Dinner was a little out of the way villiage of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. We dined at a very very gormet place called "Chambrex Les Trois Figuiers". I can,t say them either. Yes, it was as expensive as it sounds. Sue and Keith loved the place. Too Fancy pants for my tastes, but it did come highly recommended by Rick Steves

The Popes Palace in Avignon

Avignon Street

To be continued:


9 Sept.

Snapfish slideshow HERE.
If your not a snapfish member,go to bugmenot.com for a password for this or any other site that requires you to join.

A five hour drive from Casis got us into the city around 2PM. We met Todd at a tapas restaurant on the main pier.

Sue and I had made arrangements to meet our friends the Johnsons, who were departing from the city on a Mediterranian tour. We never did find them, but had no problem finding their ship.

While walking, I did see a young bike tourer. He was very easy to pick out by how dirty his bike was. And the paniers of course. I should have stopped and asked if he was posting on crazyguyonabike.com. He was making some progress with a very pretty local, so I let him be.

We had little time to spare because we had tickets for opening day at Camp Nu and F.C.Barcelona. The home team had an easy 3-0 victory.

98,000 people leaving at one time kind of clogs the transit system. We four decided to find a place to eat nearby. At 11PM we dined at a place that was the best we have had on the trip. The owner was a character and treated us very well. He ended our evening with a complimentary brandy. We made our way back to the hotel via the underground and topped a great day by walking the Main St. of Barcelona, La Rambla.

La Rambla

Our second day in Barca was great for the family. I found the site seeing kind of boring. Churches, museums and old buildings. At first it is nice, but it gets old quickly.

Todd took us to a very fancy restaurant he visited on his last trip. Sue and I kept glancing at each other with raised eyebrows looking at the prices. Yikes! The boys surprised us by picking up the tab. It was a bill that needed two people to pay. We finished dinner at 1AM and walked a couple of miles back to the hotel. That was good stuff.


11 Sept. 2001
We spent the day at the Catalonia festivle celebrating their original independence from Spain I think. Many of the banners say "We are not Spain". It was pretty interesting and something to do while waiting for our 3PM flight to Majorca.

Locals playing bocce

Vacation part II

The first part of the holidays was historical and standard stuff. Restaurants, museums, sightseen etc. Now for my favorite type.


Majorca is an island off the coast of Barcelona. We have a great apartment and a studio for the boys.

Arrival at our abode

Our back yard

The main room

Great beaches, cheap restaurants, and lots of expensive boats. One of the better features is the lack of Americans. After all, we can see as many as we want at home and this gives us a chance to be the outsiders. Lots of Brits, Germans and Dutch.

The beaches here have no problem wth topless bathing. It´s so common that no one pays much attention. Like anything, there are extremes. I have pictures of one extreme.

12 Sept.

We drove to Cals Mondrago for the day. (

When we returned we met the owner of our condo Jourgen and his wife. They are from Hamburg and are a great fun loving couple in the mid 40´s. Jourgen is returning Friday evening with a 5 litre keg of his favorite German beer. I told him it was my favorite ever though I had never hear of it. His wife mentioned it to me and said to him it was mothers milk.

13 Sept

We left the apt early to tour the island. A farmers market. An Old Roman Town and a ritzy port.

We had lunch in Sineu. It is famous for it´s wine cellar restaurants.

Looking for restaurant

Dining in the famous wine cellar restaurants.


Bike tour with sag.

Sue makes a new friend



A long climb up the stairs in Pollenca

The reward for climbing

{{{{{Theeee Quiiiickkkk Wayyyyyy DDowwwwnnnnn}}}}}

I heard the telephone man was on holiday in the States.

We got back home at 8PM, bought some pizza and opened a bottle of Cotes D Rhone wine that were purchased at the winery during our tour of Casis.

Most of the places are very touristy, which make us apppreciat our accomodations so much more. Our place is more like going home, as opposed to going back to hotel.


Friday 15 Sept.

Sue and Todd were supposed to take a boat to spend a day at some island. It was cancelled yesterday. Keith was off rock climbing with his freind Jonah. I had the day to my self again. Just walking around town and down by the marina. I visited our friends at the Irish place before walking to the market for evening tapas. Tonight is the night our hosts Jourgen and Babbette were comming over with beer.

The boat was cancelled again so Sue and Todd spend the day in Palermo. It´s what I was going to do on Saturday. They had also gone shopping for tapas. We had tons of food. Much to much for six people. Keith invided his friends Jonah and Annie from Seattle. I invited our Dutch neighbors and the German neighbors invited themselves. That was ok. For a last minute deal, the party came off very well.

Jorgen in orange brought the beer. We supplied the food.

Five liter kegs

Preparing tapas for the party.

An American couple from Seattle with their two month old baby.

Saturday 16 September.

Our last day. We spent part of the afternoon at the beach with Keith and Todd. Sue and I left early to change and to take Sue to meet Sarah the pot bellied pig.

A last supper at the Irish Bistro before packing up to go home.

Our flight left Majorca at 8AM, (10 PM EST). We flew to Madrid, Amsterdam and finally arriving in Boston at 5PM on the 17th.

Madrid from the plane

Amsterdam Airport shopping.