Monday, May 07, 2012
Our morning began with bright sunshine that lasted the entire day! So nice except that it was too hot to have the sunroof open. Linda supervised packing the luggage and for the first time we are really able to see out the back window. She was required to take a class in packing for a job years ago and knows how to gain the most from every inch!
We took the fast way towards Arles and then headed south once we arrived to spend most of the day touring the Camargue; a flat tidal area that is known for its birds…especially the flamingos…and many others. It borders the Mediterranean Sea and also produces a large crop of rice. You almost feel like you are in Spain…white buildings…very arid and open. They raise bulls here and are known for their white horses.
Our first stop was at the tip in the town of Sainte Maries de la Mer. This town is famous as the place that Mary Magdalene came ashore on a small boat to live in France. There was a girl named Sarah with her and once a year the Gypsies flock here for a huge festival where they carry her statue into the Sea and then back out symbolizing her arrival.
Then we drove part way back towards Arles and then started down the other side where; after a long drive on very narrow roads…sometimes gravel…we found the birds. Along the way we stopped to admire the beautiful white horses….saw some bulls but didn’t stop there.
The flamingos were unbelievable! I’m still dealing with a spot inside my lens but decided to post some of the photos anyway. It was difficult to leave….but finally we did…and then we found another area where we were able to get even closer to the birds.
Arrived in Arles about 3 pm; filled the car with diesel, and then checked into the hotel. Not an easy feat in this small town with very old and narrow one way streets. We even had a hair rising drive down a pedestrian area filled with tourists. Fortunately the pylon at the bottom was not up and we were able to get out on our own.
Once we had our rooms, we walked nearby and had a late lunch before walking to the Arena and the Ancient Theatre for tours. We then started walking the routes of all of the various sites where Van Gogh painted in this city. We’ve still more to do tomorrow but did manage to get several of them down today before stopping at the grocery store for supplies for lunch tomorrow.
Back to the hotel, dressed up a bit and then headed to the restaurant for a light dinner. It was getting dark as we walked over to check out the Laundromat for tomorrow morning. It was a long day and tomorrow’s another day.