Enjoying an Italian Dinner in Genoa, 2016

Enjoying an Italian Dinner in Genoa, 2016

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday morning in Arles

Good Morning!  This blog is getting away from me.  I missed all day yesterday, but apart from packing, getting on the train, riding on the train, walking uphill to our hotel (NEVER AGAIN) and trying to decide where to eat, you didn't miss anything.

First off, Why Arles?
The Arles Arena
You know Jerry and I are suckers for Roman Ruins, and actually Arles (and area) has some of the best preserved Roman Ruins outside of Rome.  This arena is still used and seats 22,000, but was built in 70AD as a "perk" for the Roman generals and mucky-mucks that retired here to the south of France.  See, Rome was smart, when you retire your officials, send them off to another country so they can't gum up the works of the present day government.  Maybe we should do that.  I'm thinking Branstad could retire to the ....moon?

We stayed in Arles our very first trip to Provence in 2011 and had a very cute and knowledgeable tour guide named Andrea Luhrs.  Actually she is a friend of ours from Pelican Lake and her Mom and Dad, Jon and Deb Luhrs live just down the road from us.  Andrea was working for a music company in Arles and when we came to France, we naturally came to visit her.  Well, needless to say, we fell in love with the area.  I mean, what's not to love?  Quiet, great weather, wonderful food and wine and Roman Ruins.

We arrived in Arles yesterday in style, sweating, panting, and exhaused from walking the 26 minutes from the train station, lugging our luggage (that's probably why they call it luggage).  Jerry didn't think that it would be bad, so his executive decision was that we walk rather than call a taxi.  "You're FIRED!"  From now on, he doesn't get decision making power!

Our hotel is charming.  Le Calendal, Spa and Hotel.  We are on a courtyard of tables and trees, yes there is a spa (hot tub) and we have nice rooms.
Dave and Dee's room over looks the arena

Our little private courtyard

A perfect spot to relax and write a blog.
After unpacking we realized we had not had lunch and it was 4:00.  Of course, being American, we assume that all places are open for food.  Not so France.  Restaurants, even cafes in this area close at 2:00 and open again at 6:00 or 7:00, so after walking everywhere around the town, we ended up back at the hotel for chips and wine.

Making dinner plans was problematic also, because we were all tired and didn't want to go very far.  Jerry wanted to stay put, The Reeds were amenable to whatever, and I was eating in a Restaurant.  We finally chose one with the help of Trip Advisor and set out.  Not 50 feet down the road was a nice restaurant!  Yahoo!  We stopped, and had a great meal!
To start, Foie Gras with cherry jam

Sea Bream and fried polenta

Stewed Bull.  I had that, and yes you can say I am full of Bull.

While there we met an interesting couple, Margaret and Peter who have retired to the area around Carcassone and were here on a "monuments" tour.  Lovely "English, Australian, New Zealand" couple who have traveled EVERYWHERE!  Hello Peter and Margaret!
I should have asked them for a better picture.  Sorry.

We came back the 50 feet to the hotel and went to sleep.  Jerry had a little tummy upset, so he is still sleeping, Dave and Dee are off seeing the sites, and I just ate a fresh croissant and fresh squeezed OJ with Cafe au lait.  Life is good.

We take off at 1:00 for our apartment in Avignon (only 19 minutes away by train).  We are all looking forward to "spreading out" in an apartment.  We have 2 BR and 2 bathrooms but space to "unpack" and stretch out.  Also, a washing machine.  I have only worn 2 pairs of pants and 4 shirts so far.  Yikes!  I am sick of these clothes!

Dee and Dave are doing GREAT on this trip.  Understanding more and more each day and David has gotten so good at pointing to what he wants on the menu!  He is a workhorse!  He walks, he carries my "steamer trunk" when I can't.  Amazing.  Poor Dee developed a cold, so she is miserable but doesn't let it get her down, and I am stronger than ever!  Working out at the fitness center has really paid off!  Thank you Kristy!

We are in contact with Laurence Brun and will meet up with her and with Martin and Patricia on this next leg of our journey.  I can't wait!  A bientot!