Arles, France 208

Trip Start Jun 14, 2008
Trip End Jul 02, 2008

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Arles, France 2008

Left Nantes around 8:30 am and arrived in Arles at 2:00 pm. Had some commotion as we stopped in Nimes for about 20 minutes. Announcements were made, but I had no idea what was happening. Fortunately the lady sitting across from me explained there was some work on the tracks we had to wait for, but she said she was hoping it was not a strike. In France strikes occur at the drop of a hat. No further incidents.

Arrived in Arles and walked to the hotel. Nice 2 star next to the Amphitheater. The old town of Arles is compact and many sites are very close by. Arles is known for 2 things, Roman rule and Vincent Van Gogh. A mini Rome Colosseum is the highlight. It is in good repair and today will seat 20,000 for bullfights. Most bullfights are bloodless, but they occasionally hold the good old blood and gore fights that Mr. Bull always loses.

Vincent Van Gogh came to Arles late 19th century and was drawn by the "Mediterranean light". He was there 15 months and put out 300 paintings, the most productive time of his career. Everything around Arles is devoted to VG. A neat VG trail was established where they put a copy of a painting in the position of where his easel would have been. His famous "Starry Night on the Rhone" was done there. For those old enough it also inspired Don McClean (American Pie) to write "Vincent" (Starry, starry night). Wondered around, had dinner on a neat terrace. Provence cooking is quite interesting. No english menu but I figured I knew veal so I ordered. When she asked if I wanted "blood, medium or black" I figured I was OK. As it turned out, I think I had calves kidneys and some nice veggies. I figured it tasted a bit like chicken, and it wasn't bad.

Was sleeping soundly when at 4:25 am my cell rang, and Charlie and my buddies from golf league were calling. Charlie who has probably been to Europe 30 times and just got back the beginning of the month, when asked if he knew what time it was said "I thought Europe was behind us." He thought it was 4:00 pm not am. Golfing, beer and pizza must fog your mind more than I thought!!!

Friday got up wandered the town more, completing the VG trail. It was very hot, around 93 so went back to the room and the AC for the rest of the afternoon. Went for dinner to the place next to the night before and had nice bull meat stew and red rice with a black sauce. It was fantastic! Best meal of the trip so far. Found the one obligatory Irish pub, had a guiness and called it a night. Off to Lyon in the morning.
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