Day 21 - A few additions to our last blog!
So you learn something everyday. We went to a little Pizzeria and had delicious egg plant and peppers. Cut thin, grilled and drizzled with a pesto of olive, parsley and garlic. Yum!!! Also a pizza all washed down with a carafe of red wine. On the wall in the rest. was a signed poster of the Gypsy Kings Band. PK and I love this group and have many of their CD's and have also seen them in person in Vancouver. We asked if they had performed in Arles - whoops - we were 'smartly' told that the group is from Arles and were friends with the pizza maker. Of course SK checked immediately upon arriving back in our room and sure enough they grew up in Arles and were buddies with the Dough Man! Sure enough also they started in Arles and their parents were Spanish Gypsies who lived in Arles. Tuesday May 15, 2012 - Day 22
We had breaky downstairs then headed to Pont de Gard
. It was quite the aqueduct - huge - amazing that they built these huge arches over this gorge and it still stands today. Those Romans sure knew how to build. We spent about an hour in a state of the art museum then wandered for another hour under the many arches. Lots of people picnicking in the sunshine and of course it was photo heaven for many. We also saw about 10 rescue vehicles doing emergency practice procedures in the water below - divers mostly. We have noticed that in France they put the responsibility for your safety in your own hands. Signs everywhere stating to hang on to your kids. You need to be very careful at all times. We then headed toward Avignon arriving around 3 p.m. at the Bristol Hotel just inside the perimeter gates. We unloaded our bags and they took the car to a lockup. Our room is fine - more American but clean and just the ticket for our stay. We had to explore as we have a few hours here. We did the Pope's Palace and of course the Pont de Avignon which by the way only goes part way out into the river. Kind of like Sara Palin's bridge to no where!. The wind was blowing like crazy but PK still did a little turn and sang Sur le Pont d'Avignon ony dansel ony dansel toot en rond.
The Palace was huge and had a very good audio guide. This was the seat of the Pope for 100 years. No furnishings left but you get a good idea of the grandeur and sheer size. They were also having a rose festival so some of the courtyards were filled with roses in pots. The scent in the warm sun was intoxicating
. Every colour imaginable - quite amazing. PK needs to check about the gold roses given to the Pope as she remembers we saw one in the Vatican but apparently the last one was given here. We had a drink and then up to our room for some shut eye. PK still feeling unwell and both coughing like crazy. Avignon is very pretty nd filled with shops - the streets were still all rough cobblestones. Covered alot of ground today and have a really long drive tomorrow. Wednesday May 16, 2012 - Day 23
We made our way out of Avignon with an illegal U-turn and headed North to Beaune. We drove the beautiful Burgundian landscape and even though we were on the Auto-Route it was quite beautiful. At one point there was a run of at least 10 kms. that had red roses planted the length and width of the meridian in full bloom. SK loved this highway. Lots of cruise control in use. Three lanes - every 20 kms. a rest stop and most are like small malls with hotels that stretch over the freeway. Some have just sandwiches but others have fancy delis. Makes for a nice break after hard fast driving. The trucks utilize these stops endlessly. Sometimes we have counted close to 100 semis where the drivers have the curtains pulled and they are having their sleeps. Spain, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Hungary, France, Italy etc.etc
. etc. These countries are all represented by these drivers. We found our B and B - Le Fleurie - settled in and set out to walk into town. We found a great wine tour at Bouchard and Sons and then wandered around after and found a restaurant for supper which was snails and beef bourginon. Very tasty. Then walked home to bed. Long day. Beaune has been added to our 'come back to'
list to explore all the chateaus and wineries. Thursday May 17, 2012 - Day 24
On the road by 9 and headed to Colmar. Drove through pretty countryside. Arrived at our Chateau after some hard looking. GPS was of no use. We had to drive through Eigsheim then up into a forest. Our hotel is perched high up over a valley and is quite the place. Our room has a loft, lower sitting room, balony where you can see all the way to Germany just like Sara Palin can see Russia from her kitchen window. After doing some laundry and general upkeep we headed back to Colmar. We are not staying right in Colmar because this is a big National Holiday weekend. When we were looking at the holidays in France on our calendar before leaving, we were more thinking about things being closed rather than the hotels being full of travelers - French and German families. We found a parking lot in downtown Colmar under the Monoprix (big store) and saw signs that the store would close early because of the holiday at 20:00 hrs
. It was now approx. 16:00. We took a little train tour of the town - wandered a bit - then at 18:45 we decided that we best eat. We both had Rosti. Kind of like our swartzy potatoes only with creme fraiche, lardon, and munster cheese all baked in a Staub oval pan. Yum but very rich (for sure diet food George:)) When we left the restaurant it was 19:40 but the store with the parking below was locked up tight. Panic stations for sure
. The sign had said the lot would close at 20:00 however with no store access it put a different spin on the story. We found someone in the town square and enquired if there was another door down to parkade. A gentleman helped us find the secret door down and we drove out of the underground just as the big steel door was literally banging our car. Whew!!! A cab ride both ways would have been an easy 200 Euros. Thank goodness for the generosity of strangers. Friday May 18, 2012 - Day 25
Woke to grey skies at 08:00 and headed to the dining room for a nice breaky. Then headed to Colmar for the day. We parked in the same lot as yesterday and then went into the Unterlinden Musuem until 1 p.m. when we are to meet one of SK's former VB players from Claremont Secondary. He is a very special athlete and person most of all, and came to Claremont a few years ago as a District 63 exchange student from Germany
. The museum was full of medieval paintings but is most famous for the really beautiful Isenheim Alterpiece. This is a great little museum and we could easily have spent another hour and a half there but it was time to meet SK's friend. He was waiting for us on the museum steps having been dropped off there by his ride from the Germany/French border town of Freiberg. The lady who drove him is from Freiberg as well and comes to Colmar every Friday to play bridge with her friends. She used to live in Colmar and recommended a restaurant to Bastian and will pick him up at 18:30 to take him back. His ride was all arranged on the Internet for 8 Euros. Lunch was great and it was fun chatting with him and hearing about his studies to become a lawyer in Germany. The three of us continued to wander doing Rick Steves's foot tour of Colmar. It was kind of damp and cool today but still pleasant none the less. Spent a couple of hours in the late afternoon drinking beer and continuing to chat. Soon after it was time for Bastian to get his ride and head out. PK and I picked up our car (safely) - no problem and headed back toward Eigsheim and had a very nice dinner in the little town below our Chateau. PK got very excited when she two huge stork nests up on the church roof perched precariously at the very top. This is a very pretty little town which is part of the Alsace wine route. So lots of little vinters - you could spend days tasting and visiting these wineries. The town is very German with half timbered homes. Shutters all painted different colours and many flower pots and boxes on porches and window ledges. We had a great supper then home to bed and to do this blog.
Bon Nuit - cheers P & S We leave tomorrow for Strasbourg. Last night before heading to Orly Airport for a night then on to Lisbon.