between the lands

Jessica and Andrew’s travel journal

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Aix-En-Provence, FRANCE baby!

Posted by Jessica in FRANCE (October 19, 2006 at 6:19 pm)

we are now in the south of france, and it is SWEEEET!

we pretty much had to tear ourselves out of amsterdam, that place is so freakin COOL. but we had already paid for the euro-rail passes, so it’s not like we could just chill in the dam until it was time for our radio conference in jordan.

Aix-En-Provence was conquered by the romans back around 100 BC, so it’s pretty old. and it has LOTS of cool fountains and OLD buildings.
fountain at center of townold church behind old wallandrew before the old city wall

more old roman stuff, this time in a church dating back to the 6th century AD. there’s a fragment of mosaic flooring, some fresco fragments with a cool horned cow sporting a halo and wings (what’s THAT all about??), and then me & andrew sitting in front of it all.
mosaic fragmentfresco fragmentjessica & andrew in the old church
but the best part is, it’s france so there are amazing bakeries (chocolate croissants), patisseries (pear & peach pies), and of course numerous cafes with amazing coffee. plus, we get to practice our french. i (jessica) have to do most of the talking, but andrew understands pretty much everyhting that’s being said.

we had a hotel room with a kitchenette, so we could save money by cooking in rather than eating out. i have gotten pretty good at beef stew and ginger pork chops!
pork chops!beef stew!
one of the reasons the romans liked this spot so much (and its previous celto-ligurian residents as well liked it) was because there are lots of underground waters AND geothermal waters. the roman emporer sextus had a famous bath built there using the geothermal waters, and several of the town fountains, still running at dozens of plazas throughout the city, had warm water from underground as well. there is now a fancy-schmancy spa at the site of the former roman bath, and a tiny bit of the old roman vestiges are visible there.
roman baths 1roman baths 2

more fountains in Aix-En-Provence:
jessica with baguette at fountainbelching fountain detailanother fountain
this being “provence”, the south-eastern region of france, they have their own regional dialect called “provencau” (”pro-vahn-so” or thereabouts). we ate this pizza and got this box demonstrating the provencau “joy of life”. (the waiter told me it was italian. he was wrong. i guess he was french and not provencau!)
example of provencau language

here’s some pretty countryside from when we took a grueling (ok, i just about died from the hills; andrew was barely winded) 18 km bike ride out of town:
horses, jessica, french coutryside

one day there was a fun romanian gypsy band playing in the central square. they were very entertaining, and although i couldn’t give them any cigarettes, they were happy to accept my 2 euro donation
romanian roma (gypsy) musicans

ok, that was provence, next stop: Cinque Terre, ITALIA!!! (we leave for the train station at 5am, and i’ve been blogging instead of packing. sigh!)

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