Road Fatigue

Kicking it, at the Bastide

Kicking it, at the Bastide

We’re in Aix en Provence, staying in a renovated, 16th century Bastide I found on the internet. We have another two days of driving to get back to Besigheim, and decided to dwell here in Aix en Provence for a second night, having evacuated Saint Pierre-des-Champs yesterday. I am growing weary of foreign countries and roundabouts, however.

We got into the village here at a good time yesterday, and didn’t have too much trouble finding the hotel. We did have to ask for directions, which suggests I am getting bold with my French, and managed to get ourselves checked-in, with breakfast arrangements, and passwords for the Wi-Fi.

I rented this place because it has kitchenette units (what they call an Apparthôtel), and I thought we would all appreciate a bit more space, and separate living quarters for the mothers. We are next to one another with a nice courtyard, where we ate warmed-up Coq au Vin and cassoulet last night after finishing off the cheese, serrano ham, melon, and Rosé we hauled from the last village, three hours west of here. We have an interesting mish-mash of uneaten, leftover food – including some potatoes, onions, eggs, and a variety of other things we’ll likely drag back to Germany with us, or abandon in one of the hotels.

Today, we had our breakfast and headed into town. Dawn and the moms have been talking about a walking tour to learn more about the artists who frequented this area, so we just drove into town, following signs to “centre ville.” We’re about a 30 minute walk from town, in the Bastide.

I can blame some of it on the coffee, but mainly, I acted like an ass to the other adults as we debated where to park, where to go, which was the right way, et cetera. So I dropped them off, and came back to the Bastide to do some writing and have some “Bill-time.”

Right after dropping them off I realized it was a foolish choice though, so I found a place to park, got out, and started walking in their general direction, hoping to find them. I passed other cars parked on the street and noticed they all had small green stickers on their windshield suggesting they were residents, so I got nervous about the car getting towed and went back to it, then headed back to the Bastide. It was right when the maids wanted to be in the Bastide though, so I went back into town and stopped at the supermarket for supplies. I got in the wrong checkout lane (this one only accepted cards, no cash), and had to pay with another checker. They were very polite, and I apologized, then got back on the road.

I drove all around the village of Aix en Provence looking for the others, looking for a parking space, looking for something, but basically all I got was frustrated. I stopped for gas (they made me pay before I pumped, which is the opposite way it worked in the last gas station), and then decided I would just leave. But I couldn’t find the right way out of town. This is ironic because when I was being an ass earlier, I said something like, “if any of the rest of you were paying attention, you’d know how to get yourselves home later.”

Now I am back at the Bastide, waiting for them and hoping everyone’s okay. We have cheese and fish soup planned for later.

One of many coffees "en vacance"

One of many coffees "en vacance"

Categories: Travelogue 2009

Tags: , ,

2 replies

  1. You prove the point that men need private time, as much as food and coffee, to stave away grouchiness. It never ceases to amaze me how similiar men are. Did you manage some Bandol while in Provence? Kermit Lynch wrote a great book on his early travels in France while becoming an importer. Provence seemed to be the place closest to his heart.


  2. Ha! I loved your descriptions of the foods (you have me salivating) and I laughed at your ‘grouchiness’ as James put it. I have to say, it’s not just a male thing. Remind me to tell you about my incident with Olivier and my in-laws at Pike Place Market.


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