Aix En Provence: A Worthwhile Stopover!

Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
Trip End Sep 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Colonnade

Flag of France  , Provence,
Monday, August 1, 2011

I had one more day to kill before my journey to Spain and I had no idea where to go.  Visit the 2nd largest city in France (Marseille) or a cute Provencal town that you can walk across in 15 minutes and is home to the famous painter Cezanne (Aix en Provence)?  I google imaged both places and Marseille just looked too similar to the cities I had just visited so I opted for the latter.  I quickly found out that hostels are non-existent so I had to book myself a cheap hotel room.  With an aubergine (eggplant) chevre baguette in hand, I walked to the main avenue of Cours Mirabeau.  I noticed that there were quite a few people with empty wine glasses in their hands.  I quickly realized that the town was having a wine festival!  The best part?  3 euros would get you an empty wine glass and that was your ticket to unlimited wine from all the participating wineries.  SCORE!  Even though 60% of the wine production in this region is red wine, for some reason, most of of the stalls were showcasing their rose wine.  For 3 euros, I wasn't going to complain!  Wine tasting in France is different from other places I've visited in the Okanagan Valley, South Africa, Australia or Turkey.  In France, they pour you a good 1/4 glass full of wine to "taste".  After my first sampling mistake, I proceeded to tell each winery rep "un peu, s'il vous plait".  In the afternoon, I took the public bus out to Mont Saint Victoire for some amazing views.  For one euro, it was a pretty good deal!  The bus driver recognized me on his way back to town so I didn't even have to pay for my return ticket!

The next day, I took it easy and enjoyed my last French meal before boarding my Eurolines bus from hell to Madrid.  It was scheduled to leave at 8:45pm but it didn't arrive until 9:30pm.  Not a good start.  The driver spoke ONLY Spanish so I had no idea how long the stops were and when the bus would leave again.  I got about 6 mosquito bites waiting for the driver to unlock the bus at the first stop.  The bus was packed, the air conditioning didn't work, and it reeked of BO.  This 17 hour bus journey would be the longest ride I've taken in my life.

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