Another day cruising Provence

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August 12th 2013
Published: August 20th 2013
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Sorry if this is sounding repetitive but as the dawn arrived we could already tell it was going to be another hot day.So it was breakfast indoors again which is a bit of a shame but actually afternoon shade when its pre dinner drinks time is really a more enjoyable time to be outdoors on the balcony.

We were up a bit earlier today than yesterday as we discovered that cruising around taking in the sights and spending time walking to soak up the laid back atmosphere,time can pass by very quickly.

An area of interest to us is the Camargue,a wetland west of AeP where the Rhone River flows into the Mediterranean Sea.It is well known for bird watching and there are flamingos in the area.It is also the area where bulls are raised for the bull fighting rings of Spain and there is a breed of white horse only found in the wetlands.Access to the area is limited by road and because the road to one of the few towns in the middle of the area was a fair distance away we have opted to head for Port-StLouis-du-Rhone which is on the eastern edge of the Camargue and is also where the Rhone flows out.

Getting there was a maze of local roads near Marseille airport and on the way we did our supermarket shopping.As we have discovered,with the stores closed on Sundays,they are maniac on Mondays as people fill up their larders again.

We saw a novel way of collecting and transporting empty supermarket trollies while we were at Carrefour.A guy driving a small tractor unit with a tow bar was collecting trollies left in various bays in the car park and moving them to other bays with less trollies.Quite a change seeing this essential service motorised rather than being manual.Although with our much smaller car parks in NZ with less room to manoeuvre we can't see it being a goer at home.

The drive towards Port St Louis took us through some heavy industrialised areas and we were wondering on the wisdom of not travelling further to see what the Camargue had to offer by way of scenery.

However,it all turned out OK as we arrived at the town and had our lunch down by the edge of the Rhone River near the embarkation spot for river cruises.In contrast to the Rhine which was a muddy brown,where we saw it in mid Germany,the Rhone was blue.This may have been of course because of rain or run off from the land or even the level of what was going into the river from industry along its banks.

We left and drove back up a scenic road following the Rhone River towards the city of Arles which was an important town right back in Roman days.It was also the home of Van Gogh, the renowned Dutch painter, for a year between 1888-89.During the drive we had hoped to spot some of the fauna in the area but we had no luck,putting that down to the fact that we probably really needed to be out trekking across some tracks off road.However,the temperature just after 2pm was into the mid thirties again and it was too hot to be out walking for too long.

Arles looked an interesting place to walk around but we had difficulty finding a car park close to the older part of the city and this combined with the heat we decided to give any walking a miss and instead took a slow drive around some of the streets taking in the scenery including the Rhone River as it twisted through the city.

Like yesterday we took a different road home and arrived back earlier than yesterday giving more time to relax on the balcony watching other guests in the pool and pre dinner drinks.For dinner tonight we had purchased 3 'lamb chops' of French origin.We were sure they were labelled as lamb as we translated the packaging using Google translation.However,they didn't cook up at all like lamb and they certainly didn't have the taste on NZ lamb.

We haven't had a decent fish meal since we have been away but we have the promise of a Yorkshire fish and chip night out when we get to meet up with my cousin Rhona and Eric when we get to Leeds in the latter part of September and are really looking forward to that.The lamb we think we might just have to wait until we get home and perhaps our girls and their hubby's will have a lamb roast ready for us.

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