Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Travel Schlepp "does" Aix-en-Provence

Well, it's been a busy, busy month -- first Buenos Aires, then Karl's dad, and then France.  The conference was in Aix-en-Provence, so getting there was a little longer than usual.  First there was the little hop over to Houston; then the looong flight to Paris.  Once we cleared customs, we worked our way from Terminal 1 to the railroad station in the middle of Terminal 2.  After a wait, we caught a comfortable TGV (high speed) train to the south.

The next day we set out to explore and came across a lovely outside cafe.  Here I finish off a bowl of penne with pesto.  (It also had sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and prosciutto, but I finished that stuff off straight away before Karl could photograph it.)

A while later we stopped by the carrousel on the other side of the central traffic rotory by La Fontaine de la Rotonde. As almost always is the case, the horses were quite friendly. 

On Monday evening after a full day at the conference, we went out with Karl's colleague, George Baldwin, and had a nice meal, again outside.  The weather was a little cool after dark, but that doesn't bother us bears.  After dinner I had a cup of the famous French coffee, which I must admit is very good. 

On the way home we passed by several fountains for which Aix-en-Provence is famous.  I think this is Fontaine d'Eau Chaude, a thermal fountain whose warm waters nourish a healthy ecosystem of moss and ferns.

Along the way back to the hotel on Tuesday evening, we met this French bear.  Very friendly, of course.

Later on we came across the Fontaine du Roi René.  Of course, down at bear height you can't see Good King René standing on the pedestal at the center of the fountain. 

With the conference over by noon Thursday, we took a stroll to the north side of town and another nice restaurant.  As with almost all our meals in Provence, we had the local rosé, always excellent.   

Later on as we roamed farther north, we came across an unusual stuffed critter--a lama, I believe, but possibly an alpaca.  Either way, it gave me a lift on the way to the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur, an amazing church. 

Here's an interior photograph looking up into the marvelous cupola of the cathedral.  The rest of it was a magnificent mixture of ancient and medieval.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll upload some photos to Picasa.

Next stop, Paris....

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