Thursday, March 29, 2012
Day 89: Return to Arles
The morning began with goodbyes. Becky and Christy were off for their next adventure in Paris. They left around 8:30 to return the car and catch the train.
After they left we finished getting ready and we walked to the train station to get a ticket to Arles. We enjoyed our time there yesterday, but we wanted to see more. While at the train station Janey, Linda, and I also figured out the necessities about obtaining a shuttle to the other train station to catch our train. I'm glad we did this; it saved some time and energy for the next day.
While in Arles we walked around most of the Van Gogh tour. We first saw the "Yellow House" which has been featured in paintings and is where he used to live. Later as we were walking we also saw a park that he used for inspiration. Along the Rhone there is a stop where he supposedly set up his easel to paint "Starry Night." The scenery doesn't really look anything like the painting, but maybe he used his imagination. Before lunch we saw the Hotel Dieu which is actually a hospital. This is where Van Gogh went after the loss of his ear. He painted the courtyard while he stayed at the hospital. There was some good shopping in this courtyard. I bought a couple posters postcards, gifts, and some music. The final Van Gogh site we visited was the cafe that is in one of my favorite paintings. It is interesting to walk in the footsteps of an artist and try to see how they saw the sites.
We ate lunch at the Blanche Mule and it was amazing. This might have been one of my favorite meals on the trip. Janey and I ordered the plat du jour. It said veau, so we were thinking veal, but after biting down on the tender meat, we think it may have been liver. It also came with buttery scalloped potatoes. It was a rich meal which I probably paid for the next day. We ordered a bottle of rose that came out in an icy bag. We sipped our wine as we enjoyed the beautiful surroundings.
The restaurant was not busy at first, but it definitely filled up as we sat there. One couple sitting next to us was from Chicago. He asked how the plat du jour was. We talked a bit about home, but then it was time to get up and see a little more.
Earlier in the day we saw a church. We must have walked past this church over five times, but we never realized that this was the church we were searching for.
We caught the 15:24 train back to Avignon for my last night. We decided to walk around and eat out together. We finally went up to the gardens at the Popes Palace after seeing the broken pont. It was a nice hike up the ramp. Each step higher got windier. We walked around at the top and then began the descent. We found the church to be open, so we sneaked in. There was a statue of Mary Magdalene inside. It was a nice church.
We came back down to the square and ate dinner at a more touristy place. Although it wasn't the kind of restaurant that I'd prefer, I had great company which is more important. It was sad to think that it was our last night together, but I was also excited to go on my independent journey to Paris.