Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Source!!

Here is a view of the source. We were in the middle of a long drought during our stay and the river had retreated. There are pictures of the water coming out of this cave as if from a hose. The darker part of the opening is about 20' tall so it must be a huge volume of water.

Vaucluse River

This is a river, the source of which is a mystery. Whenever there are large rains or large snow meltoffs, the river gushes out of a cave in the side of a rocky hill. The French have been trying to determine for years where the true source might be. Jacques Cousteau even designed and built a small, radio controlled submarine to try and get to the source. No luck. Mysteries have their place

More weeds

The subtle colors come out in the Fall.

Weeds, Saignon

I have always loved weeds. They are the toughest plants out there, surviving against both Nature and man. In the Fall they are always the most interesting shapes left in a field.

Field, Saignon

Here is a shot I took one day as I decided to walk into the field on the way home. I saw two of our housecats with mice they had caught.

Little House

This little house was another rental property on our landlord's acreage. We went and peeked in the windows, as it was unrented for our stay. It has a lovely little living room/kitchen taking up the whole ground floor and, I assume, a bedroom/bathroom upstairs. It was such a scenic little building that I took a picture of it almost every day and will bore faithful readers with many more shots as we go along.

View to Saignon

Back to beauty. This is the view from our driveway up to the town of Saignon. When we arrived all of the cherry trees were green leafed and here, halfway through our 20 days, they were a lovely yellow and all of the trees were changing. Having moved to Florida from Vermont almost 15 years ago, it was nice to see a seasonal change again.

Wine vats

Just to remove a little of the A Year in Provence feel from this report, these lovely looking, rusting towers were right next to our favorite super marche. They were holding tanks for one of the larger wine co-ops in the area. Their wine was very nice, but images of a cellar lined with lovely wooden casks aren't the reality anymore.

Bonnieux from above

This is our 3rd or 4th trip to this region. We have always thought of Bonnieux as one of the highest of the hill towns. Perched on top of a hill with a deep valley between it and Lacoste, you feel on top of Provence. Imagine our surprise as we left Foret de Cedres and looked down the hill at Bonnieux! It looked like a toy village it was so far below us. Perspective is amazing.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Front Gallery in oil

Here is a painted version of the same scene done on the computer.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Front Gallery of our rental

On the warm days this was a delightful place to sit and watch the fields around the house.

Other side of the kitchen

Our Kitchen

We had all of this plus a nice (Weber) grill outside on which we cooked a few of the wonderful fresh local chickens. The stove was a 5 burner gas so we always had room for a coffee pot while the tea water heated.

Our bedroom

As you can see, we didn't suffer in our accommodations . A very comfortable room.

Janie and I atop the Luberon

We went on a hike in the Foret de Cedres that runs along a spine of the Luberon range. We were told that it was and easy 3-5 mile walk in the cedar woods created by importing cedars from Morocco to replace local trees that had died off. It was a great success and the forest is majestic and tranquil.................if you follow the trail. We wandered off to read a trail marker and followed a path that led downhill for a mile or two and then back up a trail of mostly rock and very steep, plus a bit slippery with dew. After 45 minutes, and many a curse at the travel writers, we emerged to a stunning view of the whole Luberon. We climbed down to a road that didn't seem to go back to our car so we bit the bullet and went back the way we came. Going down the still slippery rock trail was even harder then going up. We arrived back at the car ready to wring Rick Steve's neck. The best part was discovering a tiny bistro tucked by the side of the road up the mountain to the Foret that served either the omelet du jour or the tarte du jour. Both were superb and we were some hungry.

When we returned to the house we all got out our guidebooks and found that we had wandered off the main trail and onto a very difficult hiker's trail that was listed as challenging. We went back to Foret de Cedres later and walked the main trail, all paved and offering many wonderful views. It was nice but the first visit will be the one we all remember. We did return to the bistro and the food was even better.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cat on sill, Les Lantins

When we were shown our house we were told there were three cats about that were fed by the owner. We were given the option of feeding them or not, as they were all good at mousing in the nearby fields. As we have 2 cats of our own, it was great fun to be adopted by the three of them, who soon, as cats will, became rather vocal when they were hungry and greeted us at the end of every day, expecting their handouts.

Saignon field

Provence is famous for it's spectacular landscapes, full of fields of sunflowers and lavander. As lovely as they are, I love the Autumn scenery as the land gets quiet and the colors mute. This field was on my daily walk and changed every day of the 2 weeks we were there.

Road from Saignon

This is the road we walked up and down to the town in the afternoons. We'd climb up, buy an almond tart, filled with chocolate, have a giant bowl of coffee to go with it, and walk back to our house and arrive about even on calories.

Back street, Saignon

Chair and Shadow, Saignon

Lunch in the Luberon

One of our favorite things about going to Provence is being able to get a great bottle of local wine, a loaf of local bread (thank you Christine, and artisanal cheeses and a nice slice of meat from a local market and having a perfect lunch in the yard of our house. Everything tastes wonderful, and French. Then we can walk off the calories on the local trails.

Faces in the crowd, Isle sur la Sorgue, Market Day

Even in Provence!

American culture (?) seems to be everywhere, but this guy seemed very comfortable with it.

Statue, Market day, Isle sur la Sorgue