Thursday

A day off the bikes.    Nothing wrong with that!   😀

We walked up the road to learn much about Vincent Van Gogh and to visit Glanun, an ancient archeological site that was occupied by the Romans, the Greeks before them, and originally by the Celtic-Ligurian tribes.    Some of these structures date back to 4th century BC.   Hard to fathom . . .

Huge columns.

Along our way up the road, there were signposts displaying works of art by Van Gogh and explaining to the reader where his inspiration came from.     It was really fun to look around and feel like you could match what he was seeing when he painted some of his famous works!     We also walked by the hospital where he spent a year of his life recovering from mental illness.   This place is still utilized for this same purpose!    😀.

A mask which spouted water into the public baths. First century BC

Glanum.   This very ancient site had been covered by sediment and mud for many years.   Excavation began in the 15 and 16 hundreds under King Charles the ninth.   Systematic work was not begun until 1921 and this painstaking work has taken a century.    It would have been helpful if we’d had a guide  . .but they only provided guides in French and that would not have helped much!   😀

We spent about an hour and a half there trying to figure out what was what and taking lots of pictures.    Now our pictures look like just rocks.  😏.  I cannot imagine trying to make sense of these broken rocks, many huge chunks!

A sacred spring . .
20 BC. Restored columns of an ancient Corinthian temple
Looking down on the site.

Then we headed back to the hotel, changed our footwear and went into town looking for a good lunch spot!     We found a great place and spent over an hour relaxing over our delicious lunches!     Then we walked around a bit looking for dinner options and happy hour supplies . .    Tomorrow is a long bike ride and we want to be prepared to just totally enjoy our final day on the bikes . .

Jojo thinks I should purchase this outfit to wear in downtown Smithfield! 😀

Friday – our final day on the bikes here in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

These vibrant orange and red berries kept us company as we biked all over Provance!

Another beautiful day in Southern France.   How lucky can we be?!   😀.    No rain whatsoever . . .and it’s supposed to rain here on Sunday!    Wowsiers!    It took us awhile to get ourselves in gear this morning.    A fellow here, who runs bike trips, suggested we ride today’s route backwards and that would put us in Les Baux for lunch.    Unfortunately, some of us couldn’t get this new route on our phones.   Which meant others would have to wait for us ..  oh well . . Dave is pretty thoughtful at making sure the ladies in our group don’t get left behind . . .   he could ride with the faster guys – but I think he likes our company. 😜.     And this allows him time to take pictures!     The important things in life!   😀

Lots of sausage eaten over here!

So, we finally headed off.   Chilly!    Especially in the shade.   One doesn’t want to start off with too many clothes on because once it warms up – you have to find places to stash all the stuff you’ve discarded!    And – we hit a great Friday morning market in the village of Eygalières!    These markets are just the best!   Every kind of food stuff available.  Clothes.  Baskets.  Belts.   At amazing prices! 😀.

Which belt works for you? This guy was having fun practicing his English! 😀
So colorful.     However.    Baskets might be difficult to fit in our backpacks or our overstuffed suitcases. 😙
Lots of choices for seafood!
Do you believe these fish! 😋

Much more fun shopping in the markets than in the shops!    We were there for close to an hour.   Having our morning espresso and people watching.  Then shopping!     Jojo got a neat shirt.  D and Tom got belts.  Laurie got a cool shirt for our Thailand trip in January.   We had such fun meeting back at the bikes and showing off our purchases!   😀.     My shirt cost 15 euros!    😛

How do you like my new shirt?        I think mine is fancier . . . 😜

The next part of the ride was just beautiful!    Past rows and rows of vineyards.  Olive trees dotting the slopes of the hills.    Beautiful sunshine.  Temps warming into the 70s!    Nothing not to like about this day!   😀.    We climbed one hill and then basically cycled along the ridge . .

Heading out of town.
The Alpilles beacon . . .

Finally, we headed down and then began the climb into Les Baux-de-Provence.    We remembered how amazing this town was from our 2004 trip with Cyndy and Barbara!    A spectacular position within the Alpilles Mountains.    It’s been named one of the most beautiful villages in France.    And it is indeed spectacular!

Cyndy – heading up and around the corner into Les Baux . .   Pretty steep here!   😳
Les Baux.      Imagine living here? 😀

Traces of habitation have been found here – this evidence dates back to 6000 BC in the costapera cave, which was discovered in 1928 and houses a collective burial ground from the early Bronze Age.    We didn’t get to this site as we were too busy having lunch, exploring, shopping, and taking pictures!   😀

This was our lunch spot
Just strolling
This lady was just sitting by herself in a cafe – on her phone . . .
Another . . .
Flowers everywhere

The photos will tell the story of this amazing town!    The defensive capabilities have always made this town an attraction for human life  . . .   Dating way way back . . . .  All these beautiful villages here in Provence are located at the top of a big  hill!   Fun for cyclists!    Or not . . .   😳

I just love this contemplative photo! 😌

And then it was just down the hill and around the bend to Saint Rémy de Provence!     Time for one last celebratory beer. . .  Right here at this neat little hotel!   We actually stayed here in 2004.   Cyndy thinks she and Barbara shared the same room that Colette and Tom are now enjoying . .    Their room has a lovely patio – perfect for happy hour!   Tom arranged our food and wine and we enjoyed one last happy hour together.   It’s always a bit nostalgic as our trips wind down . .  We plan for at least a year ( we have next years trip already scheduled)  😀  and we think about where we’re going and plan a fun city to visit ahead of our cycling trip – to adjust to the time changes. . .   And then we’re off!          And then we’re done – and it’s time to head home . . .   As much as we love to travel and think about and plan these adventure travel trips  . . Home is pretty darn sweet as well . .   😍.     Lucky in life we are!!!

Missing John – who was finishing the NYT crossword puzzle 😀 and Cyndy, who took the picture!

Dinner was in this wonderful restaurant.  We had walked by this place the day before and literally begged them to find us a table for our last night in St Rémy.     Finally he gave in!   Our table was a round one  (perfect for conversation)  right in the middle of this busy, bustling place!     Colette ordered a bottle of red wine . . It was a great pick!  (So, of course, we had to have two!)   We ordered an array of interesting things.   First off . . Check out the bone marrow appetizer.

What do you think? 😀

Apparently this is now very popular!  Who knew?   😏.     It looks awful but was really very tasty!    Dave had duck.  Tom had a veggie plate.   The rest of us had cockerel – as in an entire Cornish hen.    Delish!    Dessert came from the pastry window . . Sinfully good pastries!

Colette in front of our wonderful restaurant

As we left, I thanked the head guy there   He had been really good to us!   And we did the triple kiss!   How cool is that?    😀    Getting used to the French way of living . .   Now that we’re heading home!

Sue, Betsy, Barbara – do you remember this spot at Hotel du Soleil?     Such a great place!

So today we’re off to Paris with one night there before we head home to the US    of  A.    It will be great to reconnect with our families    Andrew Wilkie has been moose hunting and he’s now home with 600 pounds (give or take) of moosemeat!    Our grandkids are well into school now with soccer and football games as well as college searches under way.   Calvin Poirier is already a month old and John and Laurie look forward to meeting him out in California very soon!   Tom and Colette always have lots to return to at their home in Portland, Oregon!     Lots to celebrate – this life of ours . ..

And so I sign off from the Provence blog  . .  Another great trip . .. wonderful friends to share it with     Great roads for biking     Super fresh food and drink   All good!

Something really special about Provence. . .  You should all visit this special part of France!    😀

 

 

 

 

 

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