No rain during the night, and the wind was not bothersome. Lovely bright morning, a tad nippy though. After pain au raisins and coffee we were out down to the coast to check out the sea side restaurants. We ended up down in Carro, seemingly on an island bordered by Marseille to the East and oil refineries to the West. The Mediterranean did not seem warm to touch, but was pretty rough looking, 30 plus windsurfers were making the most of the wind. It was now 12 o’clock so most of the French sailors were heading back to shore for their 3 hour lunch break.
We found a small café and I ate the classic French Mussel classic, Moules et Frites followed by Tart Tatin and icecream. Rosemary was presented with a huge Pizza.
Back to the car and a trip up the road past the oil refineries and then back home stopping for a coffee. The first town we have seen this year where there were groups of men playing Boules at the Boulodrome.
Back at home, the tent had pulled out a few pegs, must have been windy, or the soil with the drenching it has received in the last few days had grown a tad soft. I now think we have chosen the windiest pitch in the whole of the campsite. The Mistral blows directly onto our tent. Supper was the remains of the olive bread.
R and S Blasdale are out of here in the morning. Let’s hope it does not rain during the night.
Woken early morning before light by the pitter patter of rain, and thunder, Very loud thunder which made me jump. At getting up time, the rain had stopped, so breakfast and into town where we bought a roti chicken and some rustique olive bread for lunch from the market. Again stopped Rosemary from buying kittens.
Lunch over and the rain returned. Clear now, let Friday be a better day. Weather forecast looks OK.
First off to a market in the near town of Mouries. Strange things markets, they run them in the morning, with the result that by the time you come to cook your food in the evening, it has all started to breed vast quantities of bacteria and started to stink to high heaven. So though nice markets are, for those without refrigeration and not eating at lunch time, they are rather a window shopper’s paradise.
After a quick look around the market, it was off to Pont du la Gard to see this wonder of UNESCO. I have to be amazed that this stone bridge an aqueduct built in Roman times still stands. Maybe it was too large and too far away from large towns in the Medieval times to have been dismantled and turned into cathedrals and housing. Missing also the industrial revolution of acid rain dissolving the lime stone, suffice to say sufficient of the aqueduct remains to leave a very strong and beautiful engineered structure.
In recent years the French, or was that the EU, or UNESCO have spent a lot of money in building some grand exhibits. I learnt a lot about Roman plumbing, and was left wondering what happened during the dark ages between the Roman rule and eventually the Victorian age when sewers and plumbing came back into fashion. We all probably smelt rather bad. There was a lot to read and view in the underground exhibition hall. The film, (viewing available in English) was though rather trite, and spent more time on glamour and kissing couples. What we wanted were hard facts on when the place was built, why, and what renovation has been done.
Back to the campsite, and down to the local shop to buy the food for the evening meal. Maybe tomorrow as the market is in town we will have lunch cooked with market provenance. I see a lazy afternoon ahead.
Oh and as for weather forecasting, Meteo France got the sun and cloud right, but I really don’t count the extremely small rain shower, 10 drops on me, as showers.
It was a restful night with the lack of wind, but ominous clouds surrounded us in the morning. Down to the bread shop and back with pain au raisins, at 1 Euro each they are cheaper than those at the supermarket in Arles. Don’t buy the pain au chocolat though; not such a bargain. Breakfast over and the ominous black clouds had started to emit rumbles and flashes of lightening, soon to be followed by a torrent of rain which lasted several chapters of the book ‘Blind Eye’ by Stuart Macbride. Screamed my head off at a snake by the tent, but Rosemary claimed it was a very large earthworm. Mmm. Took a look at the French weather forecasting service, they got that one wrong, so not any better than the UK weather guessing service. I hope that’s the case, as they have rain and lightning now for most of the rest of the week.
Rain stopped, so we were off to look at some local sights, so a trip to Arles, a town where Van Gogh lived and drank. May have seen the café where he imbibed, were definitely on the correct street, but alas no café jumped out with signs saying ‘Van Gogh drank here’.
Impressions, reminded me of the 1970s game of Text Adventures with the ‘lots of narrow windy passages’. Large Roman amphitheatre which is still used to this day for shows involving bulls and matadors. No killings though. Not to be outdone by other cities, there appeared to be another amphitheatre only a few yards away. Lunch was eaten at a restaurant in view of the Roman amphitheatre, mousaka and steak (not exactly French cuisine), and then more wandering around narrow windy passages.
The day was pleasantly warm, cloudy with the odd burst of sun. That was what was forecast, not the torrential downpour.
Another night of buffeting and wondering where the tent would end up. Always worse when in the tent at night, compared to outside in the morning. Today did the works at the local grockle spot of Les Baux De-Provence. Here there was a fortified hill that was rather carved out of the limestone more than built. Free to visit the village which consisted of shops and restaurants. Cost five Euros to park in the village or the roads leading up. Energetic scrooges could park a little further out and walk a little more. Parked in the village, early birds, bought the works, visited the ruins, watched the treblechon, photographed the rocks and even a Dragonfly.
Took a look around a gallery, after the mandatory French lunch, which for the Brits, who are not used to large lunches, was a baguette. The gallery by some possibly famous French Provence artist was of pictures of the Provence and his tour around other countries which seem to have excluded the UK. What more can I tell you about him, he was born in 1907, and lived to 1990, and met Picasso in Nice.
Short walk down the road took us to an excavation in the limestone. The excavation was underground, and carefully done to leave smooth plat square surfaces. Projectors then projected (what else do they do) images onto the walls. These were Van Gogh & Gaugin set to music, and an excellent sequence of the seasons, and elements of the earth (you know Earth, Wind, Fire, Water). Was quite spectacular, pictures to be processed and posted at some stage.
Back to the town, dehydrated, and few beers better, went shopping for supper. Good thing we bought all we required, the rest in the larder was being raided by the smallest ants I have ever seen.