Monday, October 16, 2006

Cezanne's Country

Today we visited Cezanne’s country – the place where he painted the same mountain 60 times in an effort to get it right. The nearby town is Aix-en-Provence, which is affectionately called "Ex" by the locals. We did Rick Steve’s walking tour of Aix, people-watching at a sidewalk café where we sipped café-au-laits and stopping to marvel at meringues and linens.

Then we headed up to Mont St. Victoire, the mountain Cezanne painted repeatedly, to hike and marvel at the view. I lasted for about 30 minutes as we hiked up and up and up. Then I found a nice tree and sent the others on up the mountain. You can imagine that hiking is not my best event, although I am always game to try for as long as I last.

I ate my peanut butter Clif bar, read 50 pages in my Peter Mayle book (that takes place in Provence), and then laid back to take a nap. When I woke up, I looked up to the canopy of green against a cerulean cloudless sky. What I noticed immediately was the only sound I heard was the wind. There was not a single other sound to admit the presence of humanity. WOW!

After a while I was rejoined by my companions and we hiked back down the mountain to discover rush hour in Aix. On the way out of town as we headed back to Lourmarin, I snapped this picture of poplars lining the road.

When we arrived back in our little village, we stopped by the local grocery store to buy the ingredients for dinner. This poor chicken came with head and feet still attached. While he roasted in the oven with olive oil, herbes de Provence, and garlic, we munched on fresh local goat cheese, a baguette of French bread, olives, marinated mushrooms, and local wine of both colors. We watched slide shows of everyone’s pictures while David advised on computer matters of all sorts.Dinner was spectacular, with the roasted chicken, baked potatoes, a tossed salad with vinaigrette, and still more wine. Could life be much better than this?


Blogger Mother of Invention said...

You were good to last 30 minutes! (By my standards!) Sounds so relaxing and it's good you can do your own meals if you want to...although I don't think I could look at that chicken with his head and feet still attached and then eat him! Maybe the wine would help!!

Do the French say you should have white wine with white meat? Or does that matter anymore? And is it red with beef more than white? I don't think it matters. Most people just drink what they want. But they might be more particular over there.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this blog/log.........I am so "with" you all..........


11:04 PM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

My grandfather always cooked fish whole, or we saved the heads to make a fish stock for perlos and such.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI -- I don't think the French care which wine you drink with what. Drinking wine is the important thing! The local wines are really excellent.

I hope everyone realizes the picture is the bird BEFORE he was trimmed up and cooked. I just could resist, although the young woman who sold him to me asked if I wanted her to cut the head off.

Kate -- Thanks for mentioning my French ramblings to DC Blogs. Wonder if we will run into your friend?

OL -- I wanted to save the head and feet to make chicken fricasee, but the rest of my crew were too grossed out so they went into the trash can.

5:14 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Funny (peculiar, not haha) how less dead an American supermarket chicken looks than one with head and feet intact. I raised chickens for meat one year but after killing and plucking them myself, I couldn't eat them so gave them all away.

I WOULD have devoured those meringues, however! Sounds like a wonderful trip so far - so glad you are sharing it!

7:13 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Are you brave enough to cut the head off a chicken? Wow, I am impressed! Great pics; I love the poplars lining the road. Cool.

9:25 AM  
Blogger steve said...

Interesting that they sell the whole bird- You would have to look long and hard in the States for that, I believe. And yes, those meringues...dangerous stuff!

9:32 AM  
Blogger playfulinnc said...

I would have had to use another napkin to cover the eyes on the bird. Something strange about having your dinner watch as you ingest it.

Maybe with all the wine, I might not have cared.

wonderful pics!

2:14 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Sounds like a truly wonderful day. Though, I'm not such a chicken fan, with or without the head and feet...

3:20 PM  

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