Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sightseeing by Peugot

Poor Alan, I never let him take a break! We were up with the sun again—but anyone who takes photos knows there is only an hour or so of that beautiful morning sun that would be more valuable than the gold it looks like if you could just catch it in your hands and keep it in a jar till later. Besides, at 7:30 in the morning you find the towns devoid of tourists, the cafés full of laughing locals, and the boulangeries (bakeries) lined with chatting old ladies who look at you kindly because you have found the golden hour (and their baguettes!) but know that you don’t really belong.

Looking out from Menerbes
My goal for the morning was Menerbes, the next town down the road on it’s own little spur of the mountain. I had no goal in mind besides wandering, so that’s all we did. The town is bigger than Lacoste, but smaller I think than Bonnieux. I followed my nose to the bakery (which is better our’s – Alan says he’s been told they don’t bake their own bread here, and that it will close at the end of the month, with the end of the tourist season). I also indulged myself and bought a Cavillon melon – I had read that they are excellent. It was very good – but it is just a cantaloupe! I thought it might be something different.
Every town has a belltower, ringing out the hours.
Cavillion melon

We had to be back so Alan could go to a meeting at 10am, but after lunch he was free until dinner. We have given up on getting our maps, so we set out first to Apt to buy one (and some diesel) before driving around a little. It was getting cloudy (it is supposed to rain Friday and Saturday), but not raining. We left Apt and headed on a little back road (with our new map!) to Saignon, which has a very cool rock jutting up at the end of it’s mountain spur, with the town nestled below it. We didn’t stay long, but I am sure we will come back for another look when the light is better.
We left Saignon on what was an even smaller road, if possible, but thankfully we didn’t meet anyone and so didn’t have to share our 1 ¼ of a lane of asphalt. I had picked this road as the guidebook said there were more bories along it, and sure enough we found a pretty intact one. Alan is trying to figure out if he can fit them into one of his photo projects. He has plans to do one on the markets (his commercial/travel one) but hasn’t really got the fine art project nailed down.
Alan in a bories
Our road continued past plunging views of the valley and gave us our first sighting of lavender fields. The season is mostly over, and the fields we saw had already been picked. Too bad! I want to try some of the lavender honey they sell at the market. Lavender is also supposed to scare away scorpions (which they have here). There is a bowl of it on a shelf and a sheaf on one wall, so hopefully that will be deterrent enough for our studio!

The town of Cereste, built in Roman times along the Domitian Way that linked Rome to the Rhone delta, became our turn-around point for this trip. Not nearly as touristy (or pretty!) as others we had seen, I really wanted to see the Pont-Romain, a bridge which is not actually Roman but medieval. We kept looking aand looking, with me thinking that it would surely be obvious, a big old famous bridge, when we finally went down this road and around a bush and there the tiny thing was! Maybe twenty feet across and barely one car wide, it made a little arch over a creek. We laughed and laughed as we drove across it, turned around, and drove home.

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