God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Relaxing in the Luberon

A friend of mine, Kathy, her husband and daughter spent almost a year living in Provence--much as we did in Italy. Kelly went to the local French school just as Casey went to the Italian school. Both kids flourished and grew and are different from the people they would have been without their experiences.

Because of their time in the lovely Luberon area of Provence, they now offer personalized tours of the area--The Luberon Experience. It is from Kathy's writings and infatuation that we are here now--not on a tour but I feel that she is here with us as I see the area she loves so much.

We enjoyed Arles even though it was just for two nights. The location of our hotel, Hotel Le Caleandal, was perfect and was truly delightful and picturesque. Our room overlooked the Roman amphitheater while the ancient areana was steps away from the front door. Walking the town was simple and pleasant. After the Nice adventure, it was good to just be able to regroup and relax.

With amazing good fortune, we happened to be there the night of the annual Costume Festival. This is when the women of Arles, young and old, dress in traditional clothing during the day and participate in an hours long parade at night time. Some pushed antique baby buggies with real babies or dolls. Little girls skipped through the parade, holding hands. Different groups represented different elements of society--farmers, bakers, etc. And, not be be left out, there were plenty of men along in costume. The biggest surprise, though, were the horse riding festive groups from the local Spanish cultures. For much of the time we were able to watch directly from the perfectly positioned windows of our room--to which we retreated after a small but bothersome attack of the mosquitos.

Yesterday morning we left Arles and drove to the Luberon and the wonderful B and B Le Mas Perreal owned by virtual friend Kevin from Slow Travel. Everyone I knew who has been here has spoken in glowing terms about the inn, about Kevin and Elizabeth and about the copious and delicious breakfasts they present guests. And, I can report that it is all true.

Our room is delightful--or should I say rooms as Casey has his own room off of ours. The colors are the colors of Provence, the structure is a restored centuries old farmhouse, the pool is inviting and the 17 acres it sits on is covered with vineyards and foliage.

Casey's Room

Today is Casey's birthday--11 years old. At breakfast Kevin had brought from the local bakery a beautiful fruit torte birthday cake and the guests all sang to him. It was so really nice. Casey will tell more about it on his blog but here is a picture until then..

Elizabeth, Casey and Kevin

After breakfast we decided to drive a route Kevin showed us that led through the Colorado red rock formations of the Luberon, small villages and fields of lavender. No tourist spots today. Ken and Casey did some hiking in the spectacular red rock formations (I forgot to put on hiking shoes and my sandals were guaranteed to cause problems.) And then we drove and explored--a good day.

Tomorrow we will explore Kathy's Luberon some more. Our time here will give us only a taste of what there is to see and do. We will take with us lovely visual memories of a lovely part of France and Provence--maybe to return some day.


Anne said...

Ahhhh, this sounds heavenly! Gorgeous photos and how wonderful to relax after the pickpocket nightmare.

Happy Birthday to Casey!!! :)

nancyhol said...

Oh, to see those lovely lavender fields!

The Luberon sounds lovely.

Give Casey a birthday hug from me!

Trekcapri said...

Hi Jane, looks beautiful! How great to be there during the Annual Costume Festival. Fun!

Happy belated Birthday to Casey!