Aix en Provence (well…sort of)

Well…once again, we managed to wear the little ones out today, but unfortunately it backfired and we ended up doing the same to ourselves. The day started with a great plan, funny how we as humans do that isn’t it? Plan… When I was bartending several years ago, a rabbi walked into my bar (no this is not a joke) and told me something I’ll never forget. He said, “Son, man plans, God laughs”. I’ve never forgotten that. Well today was one of those days.

When you think of Aix en Provence or “Aix” as the French call it, what do you think of…. sure the same thing we do, wine, the Luberon, the still standing aqueduct ‘Pont du Gard’, the rolling majestic hills, fields of lilac, rows of cypress trees and pretty french chateaus, biking down dusty roads and eating cheese and bread, a land of relaxation, love and where the English go to retire…rent Aix en Provence or buy it off of Amazon if you don’t know what I’m talking about. It is sensational, was filmed in the 80’s (or 90’s) and based on the book by Pete Mayle. Outstanding piece of work…where was I, ah back to the story and that “great plan” we had drawn up.

So…as we ventured early morning into the countryside with the thoughts above in our head, what did we end up with….well God laughed, that’s for sure. We made it to the central train station hoping to rent a bike, rent a car, take a walk, do something that involved at least some of the items listed above…epic failure! The tourist hub (probably one of the biggest and best we’ve ever seen in Europe) weren’t so tourist friendly. Not a big deal, we’re cool with that. But come on man, options were minimal. You can’t bike (too far and hilly, especially with children), you can’t rent a car (apparently you can’t rent a car in France…exaggeration, yes…but…what the heck, I could write a novel on how that played out), you can’t walk (too far), and you can take a bus (if you want to get dropped off in the middle of nowhere with no plan and then hike to almost everywhere). O.k….bag Aix en Provence as we envisioned it for the day, let’s conquer the town instead. Luckily, there was loads to see in the town itself, including an old roman bath, a radiant church, a park for the kids, fountains and winding streets galore, and a beautiful gardens and a french chateau. After walking the kids little legs off, we decided to head back to Marseille.
We were going to see the real Aix en Provence and the Luberon, by golly, it was just a matter of how?!?! We formulated a plan on the train ride back to Marseille, We will attempt to rent a car from other sources tomorrow and head back into the countryside. We’ll let you know how that goes. With a little time left to spare before dinner, we metroed it down to the Marseille Harbor and took in the ancient fort, Notre Dame cathedral on the hill and rows and rows of colorful sailboats rocking gently in the glistening water as the sun set. All of this was viewed in about 250 paces from the metro with an immediate about face because Mylan was about to have a mini-melt down and Sienna would not stop asking if she could have her chocolate for being “so good”. They were done….and so were we. We are traveling parents on steroids, this is Weatherly Travels after all, but mommy and daddy know when to shut her down, and at about 5:00pm today, it was time. We metroed back to the house, made dinner, ate on the balcony while the sun finished setting, watched Finding Nemo on Cierra’s laptop and crashed for the day!!!
Although today was not quite like we drew it up, it ended up being a fun and memorable adventure anyway. As the great Samuel Johnson once said, “All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own, and if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” Fortune took the Weatherly Travels a different way today, and for that, we did enjoy it!
Until tomorrow….Aix en Provence…Take 2!

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