Last day on the hike

Apt Travel Blog

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Saturday, June 19

We met the Japanese couple again at breakfast. They were up early in order to fly back to Tokyo. We found out that they had been coming here for a week for the past twelve years. Dawn begins to get nervous if we go back to the same place twice.

This is not true. I've probably been to Paris fifteen times, and four to Cezac. I cannot resist returning to sights,sounds, smells, tastes, and people that I love. It's just the world is so full of a number of things (to quote A. A. Milne) that I feel I should pursue new directions, new continents, new experiences and languages. The other truth is that if I could bring my loved ones with me, I would be perfectly happy spending the rest of my years in France.- Dawn

Well our plans to get a ride to Apt fell through. A child's recital in another city has taken precedent. We were told that the best way would be to hike in on the road and some one would give us a ride. We got out on the road and walked and took pictures, but no car passed us. Finally one came tearing down the road, glanced at our outstretched thumbs, and continued around the curve, where to our amazement it came to a screeching stop. We ran up and piled into the car. She was going , not to the market, but to work, and she was late. She drove fast. At one point, she looked at me in the front seat and asked, "Are you afraid." I said I wasn't and we continued careening toward Apt.


After she had gotten into her parking space, we got out quickly and as she moved toward her building she gestures that the market was over that way someplace. Well it wasn't hard to miss because it took over almost all of old Apt. But first we had to find our hotel the L'Aptois. To our amazement the room was available a little after 9 in the morning so we were able to stash our packs in the rooms and be back in the market in no time.

We are not shoppers, we see markets as entertainment, but we did have things to buy so we set to work. But first we had to get some cash. So back across the town we went to the Tourist Office to find the Post Office where we did cash 200 euros of our travelers checks. It was a major operation with passports and forms and much signing of things.

One of the nice things about buying gifts is that you get to think about the people for whom you are buying things. So, for the next couple of hours we pondered Dawn's children and grandchildren and our friends as we wandered through the market streets. We found ourselves attracted to the fabrics and ended up with napkins and folding bread baskets and seat covers all made of that wonderful fabric that is so redolent of this part of the world and our small stay in it.

We liked Apt, named by the Roman soldiers who made camp here because it was an apt site. We were tourists so we never got out of the old town where cars go much faster and life has a harder edge. We found a place for coffee where the stools were so comfortable our mouths dropped opened. He should have been selling them.

We spoke to a woman who ran an Antique shop. Great stuff. We said we couldn't possibly buy anything because we were still on foot. She replied with shippers' names who would get anything to the docks in American for less money than it would take to get it the rest of the way.

We found a park to sit in, a bar to have a glass of wine in, a pizza place to have dinner. An apt place for winding down.

Sunday, June 20

We could get up late. Take a stroll for coffee with a view and in the sun. Actually we found two, the first place wasn't quite right. Not enough sun.

Back at L'Aptois we spoke to the woman behind the desk. She turns out to be the owner of the place with her husband. It has been her mother's, who had owned a well known creamery outside of town. She had stayed here when she came to sell her products and when she had had enough, she bought the hotel and named it after her creamery. She then took us down into the bowels of the building where she showed us the stable that used to house the patrons' horses when they were staying at the hotel. The mangers were still there. Some renovation is scheduled once their new elevators are complete. Something about a game room. So, for her the hotel is not just the day to day business of renting rooms, but a present from her mother. I think it's a present that makes her mother present in her life and makes the history of the place with its clip-clopping of horses' hooves magically close.

But the bus was waiting and soon we were on it and headed back to Avignon.

Dawn: .

It was a little sad to be at the end of our hike and almost at the end of our time in France. The bus covered space so quickly in contrast to our pedestrian rate of the last several days. There were only a couple of other passengers on the bus so we could stow our packs on separate seats and move around to see sites from the windows on both sides. We noticed signs to places we had decided we'd not be able to visit on our hike, like Menerbes (made famous by Peter Mayle's first book), Bonnieux, and La Coste where the Marquis de Sade had  lived. We were looking out the windows on the left side of the bus, facing the hills on the south side of Rte 100 where we had not hiked. Suddenly a purple flash caught my eye out of the window on the right side of the bus. "Stephen! Quick! Look!" I said, and for two seconds we finally got to see a field of lavender in exquisite full bloom...through the window of a moving bus on the highway! Not exactly what we had hoped for, having hiked through scores of lavendar fields ready to burst, but,well, something anyway. The little irony of it gave us a laugh.
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photo by: jsbuck1