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.




Marselle






Logan Airport in Boston.

CASIS
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.




Shortcut





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



Tasting



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:

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