Monday (yesterday) morning Mom, Dad and I woke up early and went to a market in Fontvieille where we bought baguettes, cheeses, olive oil, rosemary olives, fruit, pastries, and smoked prosciutto ( which I did not eat by the way) for our lunch later that day. Then we stopped at a cafe and had Americanos and watched the locals greet one another with three kisses and share their morning news.
After, we all drove to Pont du Gard and went canoeing down the Pont du Gard river.
The drive there was beautiful! Like all of Provence there are tall trees with branches twisted around like they are in a dance. There is old stone everywhere- bridges, homes, gates walls, even a bus stop was made all out of the purest white stone. When rolling down the window your senses are instantly filled with lavender and sunflowers. Just as America is known for their corn fields, Provence is known for miles and miles of lavender, rosemary and sunflower fields.
The kayak trip was three hours long down the river, which ended at a famous roman aqueduct. It separated fresh water from one region to the other. We ate our lunch and hopped out of our canoe to explore the aqueduct. It was immaculate. And all hand built. It’s hard to wrap my mind around what’s been created my man. Then think of what’s been created my God. Amazing…
After the canoeing trip we went to Sault where I met new friends of my parents. They own a lavender farm which has been in their family for 13 generations. My parents were in Provence for a few days before I joined them and they stumbled upon a lavender stand in the middle of the country. They met a man named Mark Cheyrias who owns the farm now. He has two sons, one son is married to a woman named Marion Guillard. When I ventured out to the lavender stand yesterday with Mom and Dad I met Marion, Mark, and Mark’s father Alyre. There is only one man in that region named Alyre and it is the man I met yesterday. He was about 5’1, barely spoke any English, but had the most contagious smile I’ve ever seen. Every time he laughed or smiled all three of us couldn’t help but smile back.
He greeted me with three kisses on the cheek and a pat on the shoulder. A few days ago when just my parents went out there the first time, Alyre had promised my Mom he would drink champagne with her the next time we’d visit. And you guess it, while we were chatting with Marion and buying lavender Alyre pulled up in his Renault car, wearing his best hat and brought out a bottle of the best champagne I’ve ever tasted.
That evening we went to a town called Roussillon and had a beautiful dinner outside on the side of the mountain.
This morning we all woke up around 7:30am and hopped in the car and drove to Gordes where we went to a market. This market was huge and very popular with both the locals and tourists. This city is also on top of a mountain. Built right alongside the mountain are homes, businesses, pools and even an outdoor concert theater.
We got coffee then explored the busy market. The food was amazing and after shopping we went and sat in a secluded spot to eat brunch and look at the view.
Once we were filled with food and treats from the market we drove to a monastery and took a tour of some of the old rooms in the abbey. Unfortunately I couldn’t tell you much more about the tour or monetary because everything was in French. But the building and landscape itself was beautiful!
Another day of thankfulness for getting to spend some of my backpacking journey with my parents.