Trip Start Jul 13, 2007
14Trip End Jul 2008
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As we found ourselves in the midst of what seems to be a million and one vineyards we set out in the first week to see just what they have to offer. We chose as a starting point Chateau Neuf du Pape, home to the most palatable red made in France. While that in itself was good fun we also happened upon a fairytale castle turned hotel just around the bend called Fine Roche
Later we ventured past all the vineyards and into the interior to the gorges of Verdon where the elevation is slightly higher and the seasonal colors are eager to display themselves. The scale of the canyon and the riot of colors were really too much for our little 3 pixel Canon but we tried our best. Think Grand Canyon meets New England in the fall and you get the idea. Brilliant!
Back home in Saint Maximin the October celebrations took a foothold with the Pumpkin Festival providing everything from stew to pie, as well as face painting and bouncy castles. Organ grinders, accordion quartets, barbeques and pumpkin scented soap made it appealing to all the senses. All the local farmers were there to show off their wares and join in on the action. We also enjoyed the Autumn Festival complete with mountains of chocolate, cheese, wine and locals donning traditional costumes and dancing out front of the convent.
Most of our evenings were filled with the tales of The Count of Monte Cristo which once completed became the impetus to set sail from Marseille to Chateau D'If
We also finally made our way back to Glamour central - Monaco to see the palace before it closes for the season. Princess Grace is still deeply missed 25 years after her death and her legend lives on. Our little Grace took a real shine to the images of the Princess and as we strolled through the palace asked aloud "When are we going to stay here?"
Bruce's parents arrived for a visit which was a breath of "back home" for the kids and a chance to break free for Bruce and Su. We skipped off to see the Roman ruins of Arles and Orange and promptly ran into Bruce's uncle in the Arlesian Antique museum. Both parties were equally surprised as it happened by pure chance (he lives in Vancouver and happened to be on holiday down here too!) He invited us to lunch and we had a laugh over what a small world it is after all
Halloween came and was politely acknowledged by the local chamber of commerce. There were a few modest decorations in the shops but no fireworks or hoopla as it is considered an un-European tradition. Trick-or-treating occurs not at houses but in shops from 3-5pm and that's it!
And so you see October flew by even faster than previous months here. Happily we find the only critters still crawling are a couple of small shy snakes, those sweet but prickly hedgeys, and Milky the friendly cat from next door. Across the road we see the vineyards on fire with the mantle of autumn. Waves of red and orange are crashing against each other under the silvery green boughs of the olive trees. Throw in a good sunset as a backdrop and you can barely drive a straight line for all your gawking. So here we are lapping up all this beauty as well as equal amounts of superb rosť and looking forward to the olive harvest, the truffle season, and a little birthday celebration coming up soon...