QC Blog: Bonjour! Comment allez-vous?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bonjour! Comment allez-vous?

Hello everyone!  How are you?  As you can see from my title, I'm under the French influence, since my sisters and my husband and I just returned from France 3 weeks ago.  It was a wonderful trip, full of adventures and a journey into history that was awe-inspiring.

It always seems the worst part of a trip is the plane ride, hardly worth mentioning, except for the fact that my sister Chrissie, who has been practicing her French, got her first chances to use it here.  As we ran for our flight from Paris to Marseilles, and had to go through security check in again, we would have missed the plane, except that she asked an attendant (in French) if it was possible to make our flight that left in 45 minutes.  We were then fast tracked to an empty security check in and were aboard our Air France flight to Marseilles with time to spare.  The cutest moment was Chrissie telling the male flight attendant in French that she needed two waters because we were very thirsty from running for the flight.  He was smiling at her attempts to speak French and seemed to appreciate it.

We flew into Marseille airport and took a bus to embark on our ship.  We were taking a Viking Cruise of Southern France, starting in Avignon and stopping at several points along the way north.  When we arrived on the boat it was docked in Arles, instead of Avignon, because it had been raining for three straight days and they were not certain we'd be able to travel from our spot, unless the river went down.  After we arrived, we headed to the dining room for a splendid meal, and finally got some rest after traveling for 24 straight hours since leaving Pittsburgh.

The next morning, bright and early we were scheduled for a guided tour through Arles, a city that has roots back to the year 730.  We had receivers with earpieces to hear our guides, so we could follow at a distance to take photos.  As long as we could still hear our guide we were within walking distance of the group.

Portions of a wall that surrounded the city still exist and we visited a Roman arena from the 1st century that is still used today for bullfighting.  They have 2 kinds of bullfights there, one where the bull is killed, and the second, where the bullfighter tries to pin a rosette on the bull, and the bull gets to win in this fight, and is not killed.  We were able to go in and sit in the seats while they explained about the bullfights.  Imagine, here we were sitting in an arena that was around in the time of the Roman Empire.  Quite amazing, when you stop to think about it.

 Arles was also home to painter Vincent Van Gogh for a year.  During his stay, he painted 150 paintings and over 100 drawings.  We saw several spots that he made famous in his paintings and visited the hospital where he spent time after he cut off his ear.  This yellow cafe was one of his paintings.

 We passed the Antique Theater of Arles that was still standing and in amazing shape.  We visited the Cloitre of Saint Trophime where monks had lived.  The architecture was just gorgeous.

The streets are incredibly tiny and a car would come speeding around a bend when a tour group was walking down the street.  When we reached the center of town, an accordion player was serenading us in the town square.  We wanted to go in and look at the church, but it was closed at noon, so we missed that.

Our guided tour ended and with the afternoon free, we chose to shop a little before going back to the ship. 
Since this is the first day of walking, at this point, my feet were killing me.  I needed to stop and take some ibuprofen and put a heel pad in my shoe so I could make it back to the boat.  I put my camera away and we were on our way back to the ship.  I was concentrating on walking and how exhausted I was.  But when we walked past a set of steps I just sighed and said, stop, I have to take a picture of this.  It was calling to me.  I got my camera back out of my bag and took what Mark said is his favorite photo of our entire trip.  I took one shot, this is it.

Next:  Avignon and the Popes Palace

No comments:

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP