22.07.2008 - 27.07.2008 30 °C
Our last couple of days in Arles we spent sight seeing in the town itself. They have a very impressive Roman ampitheater, though there is local debate on whether it is being over-restored or not. I'm of the opinion that as long as they leave old parts as well as renewing parts, then you get the both of both worlds. You get to appreciate the achievements of the past, whilst also getting a proper feel as to how it would have looked when in use.
We thought about paying 5 Euros to look inside, but to be honest, it looked like a bunch os seats when you looked through the arches, and we decided to pay an extra 2 Euros and come back the following evening and watch a "bull race". We'd get to see the inside, and see something happening to boot!
The bull race was mildly entertaining. To be honest, the bull seemed more frightened of the numerous people chasing it around, trying to grab a "ribbon" from it's horns. There was a lot of showboating, particularly the competitors slowing down when fleeing to give the bulls a chance to get coser. All for the drama. We watched a few of these then bailed out. As suspected the interior wasn't much to talk about, but good fun to sit in a used ampitheater. Can't wait for Rome!
After Arles we craved the countryside again. We definately decided that beaches are best saved for Asia. So we headed into Provence proper, loosely planning a route accross the Southern foot of the Luberon mountains, moving accross into the Verdons region.
We had a super drive through the Luberon region and kept going into Verdons where we stopped for lunch in a tiny village square. We decided that the Luberon looked so nice and lush that actually, we should turn back and take another look! :-) So we did.
We've ended up in a lovely place near a town called Apt. A campsite that only has 24 emplacements, is as quiet as can be, and has stunning views over the mountains. We are stying here for a while.
It's so peaceful here - no screaming kids, no roads near by. All you can hear are the birds and insects. Talking about insects, they have les Aragnes here, or Les Spidres as I call them (sounds better). We found one in our tent on the 2nd day and it was like a mini tarantula, no kidding. Huge body and thick legs. I was watching some French chaps packing up yesterday and one of them let out a yelp of terror and shook his shoe upside down. A huge spider fell out and ran accross the grass. I was over 10 meters away and I could see it running in the grass..... We have since bought a special spray that is supposed to form a barrier that the little (or big) buggers won't cross. They do though, but then they die slowly. Excellent! Got through half a can in 2 days.
Everyone must think we are grande cretins. We show up, spend all day on our laptops, then empty several cans of insecticides on every inch of our "land" :-)
God it's hot! - currently sitting under a tree typing this. The only shade we have. It's nice to have tome to relax and not move. I installed Ubuntu Linux on a spare partition on my laptop yesterday. Thought I'd be all cutting edge. Looks nice, and runs well, but when you come to install software you have to spend hours "compiling your kernel" and such stuff, then when you finally get it working, you find it's text only. I'm too old for all that I've decided. Leave it to the nerds.
Other things that get done when you have time on your hands....
(A woman's work is never done)
(The result of my somewhat lacking vocab. I asked for a broom for the tent floor. I got a rake)
(K reading the Sunday Times - p.s. the Euro version only has a one page section for the "In Gear" bit - sigh)
Random things... oh yes, Kirstin ate Oysters in Arles - she's very proud! We also bought an electric fly swat - like a small tennis racket that puts 10,000 Volts through them - great fun as they crackle and pop.
Also, they have nutty snails here, millions of them, and they all like to climb things. Not sure why, as "things" include telegraph poles, which I'm pretty sure don't taste any good.
They are absolutely everywhere to be seen. Lots of lavender too. Famous for it here.. expect K&R in lavender field shots soon.....