Wednesday, 19 December 2012

How Do You Pronounce That?

We continued our journey east towards Provence. We had a small detour en-route when looking lost, we were greeted by a local rail worker. He proceeded to give us directions but not before he invited us into his home and showed us his metal work filed out of the old rail tracks. They were amazing! We then walked the short distance to our first stop, the medieval fortified town of Aiges Mortes. We listened intently for the pronunciation of the town during the introductory video, which was shown as part of the self guided tour, but forgot it shortly after. We walked along the 1.6km of rampart which formed the perimeter of the city. The children of course climbed every single tower. One hour flew by before we knew it and it was time to move on.

Aigues Mortes

Constance Tower, part of the wall surrounding Aiges Mortes

With 6m thick walls...don't think anyone will be breaking through in a hurry!

The interior of the tower

The 1.6km ramparts that surround the city

The wall on the perimeter and the city on the right

A momentous occasion...sunglasses are on and jacket is off!

The children loved this place

Great views of the canals radiating out

Boats everywhere
 We continued on our drive and headed for the Camargue. It is a vast plain of salty lagoons bordered by sandbanks, reeds and marshes. Part of it has been drained for agricultural purposes but the whole area is still beautiful. We saw many of the famous Camargue bull and white Camargue horse, as well as big flocks of flamingos. We stopped at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer right on the Mediterranean Sea. It was a glorious day to be by the water. It was a shame that the town was almost deserted! The person in the tourist information centre ought to find a different profession. We have not met a person more reluctant to give out information. However, we were consoled by a most delicious lunch of seafood. Simple but oh so nice!

French style versions of mini dude ranches

It was so warm with so much glare that the children were complaining





Hoeing into the food!

Glare fixed. One less child complaining

You could believe you were in Spain

That roofline does not look very french...

The sea!

A tourist town deserted in the off season despite beautiful weather

Flamingoes everywhere in the Camargue
 From the Camargue, it was a short drive north up to Arles, our base for the next 5 nights. We didn't even attempt to drive past our rental house which was located within the original city walls. The streets were way too teeny tiny. We called the owners, a British/Australian family who kindly helped us find a parking spot and helped carry our luggage to the house. The house was tiny but lovely and rustic. The living spaces were spread out over three floors which the children thought was cool, but not Malcolm when he had to lug the suitcases up the narrow staircase. By now, it was close to 5pm. We went to the local supermarket, stocked up on provisions and went home for a simple dinner and to do laundry. When we returned,The owners had generously given us a bottle of local wine. The ever thoughtful hubby bought a can of coke so I could enjoy a quiet evening with him while he drank the wine.

Trying to find a parking spot in Arles was a challenge...finally found one just outside the town walls

View of the river

Our abode for the next 5 nights

A bottle of local wine from the owners

The ever dutiful husband got his wife an accompanying beverage

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