I am into my 16th day of our 19 day tour in France and we are about to disembark the Avalon Waterways ‘Scenery’ river boat and make our three hour journey into Monte Carlo. It has been truly a vacation of a lifetime. But that is tomorrow..today is still ahead of us.
Today we docked in Arles (R L do not pronounce the s). It is very beautiful a contrast of Roman Ruins, Medieval ingenuity and modern conveniences.
I took an excursion to an olive growers for a tasting. Yum! Surprise ladies the big change in olive growing is … are you ready….ladies face and body cream products. It is almost as big a market now as selling regular olive oil.
From there we drove to a place called Les Baux high into the craggy hills where blue sky meets the sun-scorched earth. A picture perfect place for the ancient monarchy to overlook their lands; ripe with grape and olives trees. Oddly enough some parts are flat and fertile enough to grow France’s only rice crop.
Walking up the worn cobblestones towards the castle’s high point, souvenir shops now occupy the garrisons and ammunition holds. The speciality is, of course, olive oil products, pottery, and anything for the sweet tooth.
It’s a busy place on this river. Our ship is snuggled up to another on the dock and then a third tied up to us. Presently I am sitting in my stateroom packing with my patio window open when I noticed new guest arrivals into the next river cruiser unpacking. Oops time to close the drapes!
We have had 16 days (and we are not done yet) of delicious food served to us by crews of international birth and backgrounds. Ferry the assistant bartender and server is from Jakarta while Radu is from Romania. The captain and chef are Dutch and the front office staff is Hungarian.
Then there is our incredible Avalon Tour Director, Yvette Laurent; a wonder of French beauty and energy. She is much loved by all our group…what’s not to love. Yvette is by far the most professional, the most knowledgeable, the most kind, and definitely the most patient tour director I have had the opportunity to work with in years. High praise as I have been doing this work for 37 years!!
Well I am off to continue my packing,