After the excitement (and associated meltdowns) of our trip from Paris to Arles, we spent one day mostly hanging out at this square and our apartment:
|The obelisk square. the kids loved the expanse to run around in and the accordion player. It was interesting to really spend time there and see the tour groups pour in and out at regular intervals.|
But it wasn't long before we were ready to take advantage of our wheels and see more of Provence. First stop, Pernes les Fountaines, a town with 40 fountains that my business partner had visited last year. We thought we'd enjoy a bit of road tripping and the fountains would be like a scavenger hunt for the kids.
|Our first fountain sited! I think Stella was still waking up....|
|On the fountain trail!|
|Checking off the ones we saw. Otto mostly wanted to play in the water and spot cats, but Stella was having fun finding fountains and the arrows showing our path through town.|
We had thought about making another stop while out and about but decided to head home and hit the nearby castle on another day. But once we got home, we decided to walk to one of Arles' bigger sites, an ancient Roman coliseum. It was interesting--old, big, but retrofitted so that it's a functioning arena for bull fights and the like.
|Parts were old and scenic....|
|Not sure if this will work or not, but a neat panoramic shot Tyler took.|
|Stella drawing a half block from the café (painted yellow on the left) that is famous for being painted at night by Van Gogh.|
|And Otto? Well, he really liked his spaghetti Bolognese|
And today was Wednesday. I've been anxiously awaiting today since we arrived because it's one of two market days in Arles and one thing I *love* when travelling is markets. First we stopped by a playground we had spied for the kids, which was conveniently located near the market street, then decided to walk through. Which quickly was no fun. Hot. Windy. Dusty. Tacky, cheap trinkets, clothes, housewares and the like for blocks and blocks. While trying to steer Otto and Stella away from the cheap, tacky kid eye-candy conveniently placed right at kid eye-level. After a bit of a trudge and not having fun and getting hungry, I told Tyler we should just turn back. We had decided to head to the Tarascon castle in the afternoon, and it seemed better to just get on the road. It had also been a day with an early start for me and Otto, and a day where just getting out the door had seemed like quite the accomplishment. Fortunately, we decided to first drive by the far end of the market (it is a big market, and only about half as big as the Saturday market). Finally! The market I was looking for!
After lunch and a ridiculous diaper situation that I will spare all you readers from, we finally drove to nearby Tarascon to see the chateau castle. From the outside, it looks more like a fortress, and Tyler enjoyed telling Stella all about the defensive options (arrows through the tiny, slit windows!).
|Heading into the castle, initially with a crashed out Otto-bot|
|The garden and pond at which Stella declared, "I could stay here all day!"|
|Looking across the Rhone to the castle across the way in Beaucaire|
|Tarascon from the top parapets. I have a slight anxiousness about heights, so it was cool to be up there, but I was a little relieved to head back down.|
Then probably my low point of the trip. I finally insisted that Tyler go with Otto and got ready to lift Stella onto my shoulders. But as I bent to lift her up, she jumped up, bashing my jaw with her (hard) skull, so hard I bit my tongue pretty impressively. I actually started to cry because it hurt so bad, and she started laughing (which I think is her nervous reaction to that kind of situation). That and I think my nerves from having Otto hang on and run like a little daredevil had gotten the better of me. Fortunately, I think Otto realized he needed to give me a break and we got to the car and headed home. Which led to lots more tears (I need two arms for cooking), but also a delicious, mostly-market-based dinner: chicken, salad, cheese, bread, and olives.
Two more days in Provence, then we start what is effectively two days of travel to get back home....I can hardly believe it. Stella continues to be a hardy traveler, but I think poor Otto will benefit to getting home to more routine. We keep having to remind ourselves he's quite a little person to be having such a big adventure....