Due to a pesky head cold that’s making my brain a bit fuzzy and giving me writer’s block, I’ll just share some of the highlights from my weekend in Aix en Provence in no particular order:
- Kate getting pooed on by some random bird from outta no where.
- Dinah buying not only one, but three pairs of new shoes in a single twenty minute period after her feet turned into something out of a horror movie (bloody, unrecognizable, eerie to even look at) just in time for Halloween.
- A little boy eating whipped cream while sitting atop two old fashioned phone books.
- A perfect Saturday afternoon complete with a handcrafted fresh market salad for lunch and a wine tasting in the country.
- Kate finishing off every last drop of her, mine, and Dinah’s melted chocolate by the spoon full.
- Yummy green olives as an appetizer at the local pizzeria.
- Being shown around town and coached on how to interact with the locals by an American ENGLISH speaker named Hilary.
- Seeing a full fledged protest in Marseille that actually caused our first train to be cancelled.
- Hot Chocolate Number 9 (a caramel and vanilla infused hot chocolate served in the most stark white porcelain tea set you’ve ever seen) from the patisserie Riederer.
- Figuring out how to say “What you talkin bout Willis” in French: “Qu’est-ce que vous parler environ Willis” then repeating it over and over again the entire weekend.
- The “dirty Santa who looks like he just got out of prison” (direct quote from Hilary), selling us the most pure, fresh, and utterly (get it “udder”?!) delicious goat cheese I have EVER tasted.
- The perfectly mushed together buildings, all so well worn and clearly loved. Complete with the most delightful little shutters and terraces adorning each window.
- Learning that the French do not understand wine by grape name (Pinot Noir, Shiraz etc.) but rather by the region where the wine was made…e.g. Luberon.
- Running my hands over the delicate letterpress stationary at the paperie: L’Atelier du Bilboquet.
- Despite being in France eating more pizza than I did during my last vacation to Italy.
- Boutiques of shoes galore!
- The endearing square of Place de l’Hotel De Ville that turned into a floral haven on Saturdays.
- Dinah spending the majority of her time in Aix learning pharmaceutical French from the local pharmacist as she loaded up on bandages, antibiotic cream, and ibuprofen for her poor feet.
- My pretty new swirly pottery that I bought from a street vendor during our stroll of the local Provencal market.
- Losing my brand new hat at Riederer because the French women sitting around us weren’t nice enough to get up and help me look for it.
- Sitting cross legged on comfy, lush pillows during my very first visit to a Hookah bar with Kate, Dinah, Hilary, and Brian.
- Rotisserie chickens spilling their juices over the scalloped potatoes waiting beneath them.
- Adding the last of this season’s fresh basil to our freshly made goat cheese salad.
- The exquisite gardens at the Chateau Val Joanis winery.
- Maria (the woman running the B&B) telling us how annoyed she becomes when she gives restaurant recommendations to guests and then they never go. Then us never finding her recommendation that evening and eating pizza instead.
- Having my very first glass of Viognier and loving it.
- The butter vent.
- Realizing that the “shots” we were given both nights at the pizzeria were NOT in fact supposed to be thrown back, but instead sipped.
- Learning that “Hollywood royalty” means nothing to the French (Brian told us that at one point Brad and Angelina had landed uninvited by helicopter in an attempt to purchase the winery we visited and were given less than five minutes to leave the property).
- The most exquisitely colored spices I have ever laid my eyes on.
- Accidentally knocking a basket of apples off a table at the market and then being made to pay for them in good ol’ French manner.
- Watching Dinah unknowingly eat her first Nutella crepe and loving it, after telling us the day before that she doesn’t like Nutella.
- Kate saying “I’m gonna cry” at least 2,364 times during our winery and market tour.
- Being shown where a real Pony Express once took place.
- Learning the 5 S’s of wine tasting: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, and Savor.
- Vanilla sugar, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and fresh mint mixed with Mas Amiel (a scrumptious dessert port wine). Total heaven.
- Basking in the sunlight in the city centre across from La Rotonde fountain.
- Finally being shown by Brian how to cut vegetables using those fantastic knife skills I’ve watched for years on the Food Network.
- Watching Ashton Kutcher with his shirt off in the movie Killers on Dinah’s iPad.
- Taking an afternoon nap while it poured rain outside our B&B window.
- Being able to put my French phrasebook down for an extended period of time.
- Spending quality time with K & D.
Protests in Marseille.
A canary yellow door that I fell absolutely in love with.
Kate covered in bird poo.
The best hot chocolate EVER from Riederer. You could even see the beads of fat floating on top….yummmmm.
The Saturday market.
Santa and his fromage (cheese).
Funky mushrooms at the market.
Aren’t all the colors of these spices just magnificant!
My new pottery! Isn’t it gorgeous?!?
180 year old Bechard’s is still family owned and run to this day.
The butter vent outside the front entrance of Bechard’s that entices customers to come in for bakery goodness.
The exquisite gardens (jardins) at Chateau Val Joanis.
The dessert that made my taste buds dance!
Me double fisting my wine.
My first Hookah bar.
My pretty cup of hot chocolate at the bar.
Melon flavored coal atop a Hookah.
A cool mural advertisement on a building near our B&B.