This morning was sad, since it was time to leave Aix. We had a nice breakfast with our hosts. Even though it was only 10 in the morning, this motorcycle dude came in for a glass of beer....kind of scared me to think I would be driving on the road with guys who drink at 10am. I have forgotten to mention the guy works in the little restaurant/ sandwich shop in the hotel. He has been super nice, made me a lovely cup of Marriage Frères tea, but also, distinctly reminds me of Herman Munster with white hair.
So, Guy went to get our car that was parked in their private lot and Robert took the luggage out to the curb in order to make for ease of loading up. I was settling up the bill with Cathy when the 2nd guy who works in the restaurant came running in with the saying "il n'est pas là". So, if you don't speak French...he was saying my car wasn't there. I started to freak out, just a bit. Cathy took the phone and spoke to Guy. She then said to me, "il ne marche pas" (it doesn't work), ok, this is at least a step in the right direction. She asked if there was some special code to use to start the car....NOOOO, it is not something that National Citer mentioned to me. I was having visions of my day of driving through Provence totally ruined by hanging out with the mechanic. Not something I wanted to do.
Cathy and I walked down to the parking garage. Guy got in the car and turned over the key and sure enough, not working. So I was like, let me try. Mind you, I wasn't thinking ooooh I have the magic touch or anything, just I have to try this for myself to totally believe we are screwed for the day. I got in, turned the key...nothing. I jiggled the steering wheel...nothing. I released the emergency brake....voila!!!! It started! Phewww! I was relieved. Poor Guy felt totally embarrassed...certainly not my intention and certainly not warranted...this was some f#$%#@ up design of the Toyota Aygo. He was like, "we have an automatic, I have never seen anything like this". Me either...since when do you have to release the emergency brake to start a car.
We went and picked up Robert and on the way, Guy told me how to get to Roussillon. Robert got in, all of the guys put the luggage in the car and we were off.
Robert was a little stressed that we didn't have our route completely mapped out ...as many of you know, Robert likes to be prepared and this winging the directions thing was totally killing his vacation buzz. I know many of you would agree with Robert, but I was not worried at all. Despite one wrong turn, we had no problems.
The way to Roussillon also leads one within shouting distance of St. Remy...one of my favorite places in the south of France. So, it did not take much effort to convince Robert that we take the 24 km detour, especially since I told him we could have lunch at the place we had dinner at before....I think some of you have heard the tales of the lime sardine salad.
We parked the car and I thought the sign said it was free during 12:30 and 2...but I wasn't sure. When a French woman came to pay for parking I asked her and she said I was right and then thanked me for saving her some Euro. Once we walked into St. Remy, Robert knew my true intentions for a visit to the village. Even though I think it is a beautiful village and I love driving through the alleys of plane trees on the highway.... yes, there was a pottery shop and I the one I love...but, first lunch. Auberge de la Reine Jeanne has a beautiful courtyard and the food is amazing. We had some more of the crudités with anchovy sauce and of course, Robert had his sardine salad. It was a beautiful place for lunch and after I was able to purchase some Provencal potterie which made me v. happy.
We also stopped in Gordes which is a perched village looking out over the Plateau de Vaucluse (in Latin means closed valley) . Really, I can say nothing more than to take a look at the pics...totally amazing.
Right outside Gordes is a little tiny area called Villages de Bories. These are ancient domed dwellings made from limestone with walls up to 4 feet thick obviously without the benefit of power tools. Unbelievably these structures date back to 2000 B.C. !!!
Finally, Roussillon! This little village is stunning with the deep ochres used in the village. The red-earth pigment gives the houses a real warm feeling and when it is contrasted with the blue, Provencal sky, one can't help but be mesmerized! We didn't get to stay long, but just seeing the reds against the pines and the blue sky was worth it for me.
We then drove through the Luberon Mountains on our way back to Nice. I thought it was a beautiful drive. So many little villages that would have been cute to stop and walk around...but we were running out of time...I guess that means another trip to the south of France...damn! LOL!
We made it back to Nice at about 7:30 pm, got checked in and off to dinner (I don't know if you have noticed this yet, but our vacation really revolves around French food). We had some really nice oysters and Robert has some of that delicious Spanish ham that banned in the U.S. My scallops with grilled mushrooms were really good. But, Robert thought that he was being charged for his mushrooms and not the fish, but he thought the mushrooms were so good it was worth the price.
Possibly most disturbing was the tank of eels. There were two of them, about 4 feet each and they totally freaked me out....then Robert told me a story about Caesar. He said there was this Roman guy who had a vat of eels and if slaves did anything wrong, this guy would shove them in the vat and let the eels eat the slave to death...yeah, that put my mind at ease. But, there is some good from the story. Caesar was a guest at this guys place for dinner when one of the slaves broke a rare and expensive glass. The guy was going to put the slave in the vat, but Caesar was so horrified by it, he forbid...and just to teach the Roman guy a lesson, he had the rest of those glasses broken. It's good to be Caesar.
After dinner we walked along the Promenade des Anglais. To call the Promenade a boardwalk is not accurate, but the same concept. It is a long walkway (about 3 miles) that follows the sea. I am not sure it can get much more romantic than walking in the light of the full moon next to the sea....truly, a perfect way to spend our last night in France.