Saturday, June 4, 2011

Les Alps!

L'isle Sur Le Sorgue is a wonderful town. about 2 hours after my last post we were awoken by a massive thunderstorm, the likes of which I haven't experienced since south carolina. But the town the next morning, the air was fresh and so were the pastries!

while we can get pastries and croissants equally as good in the bay area, there's something more natural about them here. Like one gets to experience them in their natural habitat or something. it was also great seeing a line of locals filing in. there was more often than not just a brief and friendly first name greeting and a swap of 2€ for a baguette. I loved this town, famous for the waterwheels that have been spinning for literally hundreds if years.

sort of sad to leave, we stopped by a little supermarket for some vin rouge and road trip supplies for a meandering trip through the Alps.

Speaking if road trips, I love going through rest areas here because Europeans generally don't eat in their car. they stop at these large truck stops and stand around in mostly silent circles, drinking espresso from tiny little plastic cups, or stretching their legs outside, collecting in crowds of smokers 15 people deep. I always get a kick our of the different foods, and will load up on ketchup flavored chips, quiche, and local cookies and hit the road per usual.

Anyway, we soon passed through the Luberon region, and because of the mountains where I'm from, and watching Le Tour footage on Vs., I felt immediately at home. Cereste was beautiful, with it's hills and river, but I could happily live in Apt or Manosque too, both of which possess vieux villages, or historic hilltop centers.

well into the alps at this point, we soon were at le gorge du verdon, which gives any high elevation road in colorado or maui a run for its money in terms of vertigo inducing corners. I love experiencing these types if mountain roads, so I think I was smiling continuously for ~75 minutes.

We were running low on gas and so I found s little mountain town to fuel up. a couple of observations. we're getting about 35 mpg, it was €72 to fill up (~$105 for 9 gallons) and I filled the tank in about 30 seconds. yeah, the flow rate is so much higher, and there's no fume control on the levers. weird. I wonder why all European cars are manual and mostly all diesel...?

Finally we arrived at Les mas Candilles in Mougins, just outside if Cannes. thanks to Expedia, we booked a room here last minute from a suggestion from Danielle's friend Mireille. This was an especially nice treat for Danielle because it was not only her birthday, but she spent the past 7 hours stuck in the car like a trooper while i blazed our car all over the Alps. But really, I don't have the words to describe this place. it's a 5 star resort hotel with an amazingly attentive staff, and the views, atmosphere, food, facilities, woah-hey-topless-woman-in-the-pool-I-must-be-in-France, were all top shelf.

While I said that the food in barcelona was winning, we didn't eat at a 5 star restaurant there, but I will say that the dinner that we has at Les Mas Candilles was one of the best I've ever had. I had literally the best fois gras terrine ever made, and we both had a Mediterranean sea bass.

so yeah, it's damn expensive for Americans here. it would be expensive even if there wasnt a euro symbol after all the numbers. in other words, a teenie tiny cafe au lait (of which it takes like three to pri my eyes open) is 2 or 3, a sandwich is ~7, an entree is ~20-25 for something basic... a glass of wine seems to be the only typical thing that is comparably priced. anyway, those prices are expensive enough, right? then I remind myself that those are euros, so multiply by 1.45. uugh.

another thing is that we're mostly mistaken for French here, which Danielle just loves. when my face soon displays incomprehension however, it's all I can do to stumble out a "j'habit au California". really though, people here are super nice, and as horrible as we're butchering their beautiful language, we're mostly spoken to en fran├žais and greeted with smiles while being helped right along with the language -- even though they all speak excellent English.

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