Return to Cassis 

Those of you with really good memories may remember that we visited Cassis during our transatlantic crossing last fall.  We loved the harbor with all the good seafood restaurants.  Cassis offers boat trips to visit the calanques which line the Mediterranean between Cassis and Marseille.  A calanque or creek is a narrow, steep walled inlet.  Unfortunately, last fall there was not time to take a boat tour of the calanques and we were not there at meal time.  We  immediately added both items to our bucket list and Thursday was the day to cross them both off our list.

When we visited in November last year it was a nice quiet town.  As you may guess, that was not the case in the middle of July.  We drove around for thirty minutes looking for a parking spot.  We finally found one on the street that was only a fifteen minute walk to the port.Susan is standing in front of our tour boat with the port in the background.The variety of pine trees on the walls are able to grow in the cracks between the rocks and require little water.These rocks looked like a stack of giant building blocks.  Kayaking in the Calanques is very popular.  You can see two kayakers at the end of the peninsula.  Following the boat ride we had an early dinner/late lunch at the port of dorado for Susan and sea bass for Bruce.  We both thought it was our best meal in France so far.

We have been doing a lot of driving, so on our last day in Provence we decided on a change in plans; and on the recommendation of a friend, we visited Staint Rémy-de-Provence.   This is of course the town where Van Gogh was hospitalized for one year during which time he painted 150 masterpieces.  That is almost a painting every two days! He was hospitalized in what is now the Monestery Saint-Paul de Mausole.  Their lavender was clearly past its prime.  By the way, with spending three years in Provence, did Van Gogh ever paint lavender fields?The courtyard of the monastery.Vincent’s bedroom.One of the treatments he received while hospitalized here was “shock bathing”.  Apparently the thinking was that immersion in cold water would somehow make you think clearly again.  He shot himself the year after he left the hospital.  He did most of his painting in the last four years of his life.  He created over 700 paintings.

Saint Remy is another beautiful French town with plane trees and classic architecture.This simple building was home to Nostradamus, the physician and seer who is famous for his many predictions.

Saturday we pick up our friends Lavonne and Daryll at the Marseille airport and drive to the beginning of our boat trip on the Canal du Midi.  Fortunately, our friends are experienced boaters and we are deck hands to help in the locks.  It should be quite an adventure; but unfortunately, we will not have wifi so you will most likely get a one week break from posts.  If so, we will pick up in Vienna with a summary of our canal trip.

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