Mont Ventoux

Sep 09, 10 Mont Ventoux

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

We had a lazy start to today with a tasty French brunch of cheeses, pates and fresh French bread. This afternoon we drove up to Mont Ventoux which is a dizzying 1912m above sea level. The views were breathtaking, literally. The wind was so strong it felt like it was sucking the air out of our lungs. The temperature dropped from about 25C at the base to about 9C at the top. Mont Ventoux features every now and then in the Tour de France. It’s certainly popular with cyclists on holiday. The village we stopped at at the foot of the mountain was filled with cyclists who were on their way up or had just returned from the 21km trip up the mountain. In fact the road way up to the summit even has its own cycle path. Most of the cyclists were in fact Dutch, we counted at least a few dozen. I guess they’re learning the hard way that not everywhere is flat! Overtime it seems that the various cyclists have written messages of encouragement on the roadway up to the summit. A lot are in Dutch but the one that caught our attention was on the very summit itself. It simply read thuis, “Home”...

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More Romans …

Sep 08, 10 More Romans …

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

Today we went to the nearby town of Orange to view the Roman Theatre. It was pretty spectacular and as Annelies & I sat in the stalls that could house 8 to 10,000 people you could quite imagine the plays and mimes so beloved by the Roman masses taking place. Orange is of course also famous as the principality associated with William I the leader of the independence movement in Holland. In 1568 he declared the Dutch republic and led the revolt against the Spanish rule ….. here my knowledge runs out and much to Annelies chagrin so does hers ! We had an interesting evening meal in Orange during which I spent most of the time trying to coax any facts out of Annelies. (there weren’t many!) By the way … completely unrelated …. but the owners of our Gite have got a really cute little dog called Robbie...

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Taranis is still angry …

Sep 08, 10 Taranis is still angry …

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

01:20 – Wow … we’ve just come in off of our balcony after spending 20 minutes watching the biggest thunderstorm I’ve ever seen. It’s been going now for about 5 hours and looks set to go on throughout the night. 11:38 – Storm is over and the gorgeous Provence weather has returned. We must have had about 5cm(2 inches) of rain last night but all seems back to normal...

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“Le Petit Pompei” – Part Deux

Sep 07, 10 “Le Petit Pompei” – Part Deux

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

After last night’s storm we had a leisurely breakfast (which lasted the whole morning!) until the afternoon wind seemed to waft back the warm Provence weather. We decided to go back to Vaison La Romaine again to see the Medieval part of the town. It was well worth it. The Medieval town was built on the opposite bank of the river to the Roman town around a large 12th century fortification. The medieval town is not only perfectly preserved but is still in contemporary use today. Its cobbled streets wind upwards towards the castle through a maze of small houses, shops, art galleries and restaurants. The view from the top was fantastic. Below the fort and adjacent to the Roman town is a 12th century cathedral on a site that traces its origins back to the fourth century when the Roman Empire adopted Christianity. It’s been extended and rebuilt in places but has been a place of Christian worship for over a staggering 1600...

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Taranis is upset …

Sep 07, 10

Taranis, god of thunder of the ancient Gauls, is displeased. After days of sunshine and almost stifling heat we’ve had continuous thunderstorms, lightening and torrential rain all last night and through this morning. However I have to say I find it rather refreshing and invigorating.

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“Le Petit Pompei”

Sep 06, 10 “Le Petit Pompei”

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

Provence’s proximity to Italy has meant that, even before Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and added it to the young Roman Empire in 58 to 51BC, it had already come under Roman influence. Today we visited Vaison La Romaine, a beautiful Provencal town with oodles of interesting Gallo-Roman history. There are two major sites that have been uncovered by Archaeologists with entire villas, roads, shops, Roman baths and an amphitheatre on display. We were able to walk down collonaded avenues and roads complete with pavements, statues, frescos and mosaics just as they were nearly two thousand years ago! Just the idea of people living, working and going about daily life within the same walls and avenues we were able to walk down and touch was thrilling! Vaison La Romaine also has a well preserved medieval centre including castle and cathedral which we didn’t get to see as we were so absorbed in the Roman quarter …. I think we might go back ! 😀 By the way there’s a prize if you can guess what I’m sitting on in the picture below ….. I’ll give you a clue : They were communal and wouldn’t have smelled too sweet back when the Romans used...

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