Friday, September 24, 2010
It was still pretty dark when the alarm went off at 7:00 this morning. I had forgotten that we just had the autumn equinox a few days ago. As the sun came up, there was just a tinge of pink in the sky and it was very cloudy. The sun acted like it would come out, but the clouds overcame any effort made by the sun.
I finally made contact with Kathy last night around 10:00. I gave her directions to get from Avignon to Coustellet where we would meet them at 10 AM in the town square near an odd little building that is all decorated with brightly colored murals. I was pretty sure their GPS wouldn’t do a much better job than ours did at finding our house. Mom and I got there about 9:45 after depositing our week’s recyclables in the containers in the village. We had our Kindles, so sat in the car reading. Kathy & Royal got there about 10:10, so we went back to the house where they left their car, and we all used the facilities.
We headed for Bonnieux, a hill town, which isn’t too far from Maubec. Today was market day, so we thought we would go to the market. The drive up there was really pretty with lots of orchards, vineyards, and farms and gardens, as well as old stone houses. Of course, Bonnieux was very busy and we couldn’t find a place to park that didn’t require a strenuous up-hill walk for all of us, so we turned around to go back to Lacoste. It wasn’t market day there, but otherwise the situation was much the same as in Bonnieux, so we just drove on through. The road up there though, was much nicer than to Bonnieux. Apparently, Pierre Cardin owns the chateau there and has put up a lot of money for improvements to both the chateau and the village. The chateau was originally the family seat of the Marquis de Sade. All of us, while disappointed that neither of these towns were good stopping places for us, enjoyed the drive. We decided to go to Roussillon.
Roussillon is situated on a hill of ochre, which is mined in the area for use in various pigments. It has many galleries and artists’ studios. Right away, we could tell that this town was different, and we found a good place to park. Still an uphill climb, but doable. We found a nice place with an outside terrace for lunch – pizza – and had a good visit. After lunch, we explored the town. Kathy and I walked up to the top of the village where there were panoramic views of the village and valley below. By then the sun was breaking through a little bit. The buildings in Roussillon are all painted different shades of ochre, making it quite colorful. We stopped in several shops. Kathy likes pottery, so we stopped in several pottery shops. One shop had some pretty posters depicting Provencal scenery, so we went in to see if they were for sale. It turned out to be the shop of the artist, herself, who spoke very good English and was quite chatty. Kathy took an interest in one of her paintings, which was priced far out of my price-range, and the woman and Kathy became good friends on the spot. Kathy has never met a stranger, and easily attracts these kinds of encounters – must be because she’s from the south. The woman also has a friend who has a booth at the Street Fair in Palm Desert, so there was another connection. In the end, we both bought the 2 posters. We really enjoyed Roussillon and it helped make it a perfect day in Provence.
From Roussillon, we went to Gordes (the 3rd time for us), but after Roussillon, Gordes seemed colorless, as the buildings there are plain stone. Mom was able to get into our favorite café to use their nice restroom just before they closed. We weren’t there long when it began to rain, and all of the shopkeepers frantically started to bring their wares inside. Kathy & Mom had gotten out of the car at the bottom of the hill while Royal & I parked. I managed to go back up the hill for the car and pick them up just before it started to pour. It didn’t rain very long, and once we were down in the valley, it wasn’t raining much at all. Shortly after we arrived at the house, it poured briefly, but now the clouds are clearing and there are some “Seattle sun breaks.” Hopefully, it will be nice tomorrow.
We got back to the house around 4:00 and they wanted to head back to Avignon around 5 so as to get there in daylight. I set out some pate, Roquefort cheese, apple, olives, and bread to go with some wine. We had a nice visit before they left. It has been so much fun to see them both here and in Paris.
Tonight is our last night in this house. We will need to pack up our baggage tonight. I want to leave by 10:00 so we can try to get to Pezanas before the Saturday farmer’s market shuts down. We’re looking forward to getting to “our house” in Languedoc, but have thoroughly enjoyed our week in Provence.
Salamander update: He’s back….!!