one weekend at a time

before this weekend and its plans hit, i should probably finish this post of last weekend’s festivities – a post i clearly started last week and am only now completing (hence the incorrect posting date. no, don’t worry, you have not travelled back in time).

the aussies’ friends shaz and stu arrived on wednesday and thursday, respectively. shaz came all the way down from dublin, whereas stu, as you may recall, studies in paris (it was his apartment alex and i stayed in over the holidays). on thursday night we had a fabulous evening of food planned. josh had spent the previous two days preparing a boeuf bourguignon (burgundy beef), and it was simmering on the stove with the newly added potatoes. in my room i put together an international cheese platter, including the sharp american cheddar josh brought back from new york. the semi-firm fresco something-or-other i brought back from italy, and a french roquefort purchased from the fromagerie here in aix. we had some rhône valley wine (decanted in my decanter that i got for christmas from josh and claire!), sausage, grapes, tapenades, jellies, rillette, cornichons, and bread to eat it all with (living the good life, even on a student’s budget!). and that was just the appetizers! the real dinner was fabulous, as has come to be expected from chef josh, and we finished the evening with coffee and a raspberry tart.

the next day, stu, josh, shaz and i rented a car and headed off to the luberon, with little planned but to sight-see. it was quite incredible, and i was SO glad i joined them. we had lots of fun and i saw parts of provence that i had really been wanting to see – the provence you read about and imagine before even coming. we had lunch in the perched town of gordes (where some filming of the movie “a good year” took place), drove through apt and stopped for a couple hours of exploring in the small town of bonnieux (even more filming took place here). after that we just drove around some more, taking photos and admiring the general splendor of provence. we even happened upon a cave du vin, did a little tasting, and came out with half a case of wine! (it wasn’t expensive stuff).

gordes (click the photo to view large)stu and joshblue windows on a building in gordesshaz, walking up to the cathedral on the hill in bonnieuxblue car, bonnieuxjosh, looking like a random homeless boygrape vines in provence

saturday passed without much fanfare, and on sunday claire, caitlin, brianna and i hopped on a tour bus to go to monaco. it was nearly a 3hr bus ride, but the drive is of course beautiful (and this tour cost us half the price to get there and back as it would have otherwise!). monaco was sunny and 15 degrees, and smelled like florida to me (it was amazing). and clean! so clean, and so beautiful. of course, that’s what one should expect from a place soaked in so much money. which of course was the tempering undertone of the day – how to reconcile the beauty with what one can only describe as greed. and why do only rich people get to live in such a beautiful place? it’s such a great inequality. granted, i’ve already made retirement plans involving the place so who am i to say? 😛

claire, jardin japonais in monaco
monaco coastline, as seen from the oceanographic museum
the crew, minus caitlin
one of many harbours filled with giant speed boats and yachts
brianna, my canadian compatriot
one of many excessively expensive cars. though this one WAS pretty cool… (batman!)monte carlo casino, as seen in the reflection of the fountain mirror
monte carlo casino (10€ just to go inside)
me and cait, enjoying the afternoon sun at café de paris, just in front of the casino

so it was a full weekend. lots of photos were taken, and lots of ground covered. i think we’re all starting to realize how fast the days are going now (less than 100 days left), and want to get in as many things as possible. tomorrow (saturday) we might take the 1€ bus to cassis to spend the afternoon walking along the water. weather pending, we’re going to bring picnic lunches and just take it easy. i’ll post another update soon!

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