When Maïté was not here nor was I in Paris, I travelled the region a bit alone in order to not to miss the still warm weather. On self-discovery journeys, meeting new exchange students, taking pictures like a tourist, it felt strange but familiar all the same.
[Click on the bolded-italicised-title-links for more pictures]
- Sainte Victoire Sunrise [27 July]: On this fine July morning at Gare SNCF Aix-TGV, I witnessed the sun rising behind the silhouette of Sainte Victoire. I tried to get some "artistic" photos but I was too tired [it was 6:00am, and I had just come to bid Maïté farewell on her return to Paris].
- Monaco & Monté Carlo [5 September]: This weekend [of my Birthday], I took an organised trip with George, simply because I have never been on this one with him. Monaco and Monte Carlo was the destination. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world; only Vatican City is smaller. Monte Carlo, which lies in the French Riviera on the Mediterranean Sea in Monaco, is surrounded by France and close to Italy. This chic-bourgeois city, often featured in movies, is famous for its Ferraris & Lamborghinis, races [Formula One Monaco Grand Prix], casinos [Monte Carlo Casino], and the sun & surf. Travelling alone was not as boring as imagined, since I met some of the exchange students on the bus and we were soon doing a bit of touring together.
- Benediction Calissons: Aix [6 September]: This Sunday afternoon, there was a very traditional and provençal festival in Aix: La Bénédiction des Calissons. A traditional festival where Calissons are distributed to the public, I was spectator to many provençal icons: The Guardians of Camargue [The Cowboys], Camargue Horses, traditional costumes, The Mayor of Aix-en-Provence [Maryse Joissains-Masini], The Queen of Arles [L'Arlesienne: Caroline Serre, a very pretty queen I must say], and finally I was privileged to hear the Occitan / Provencal Language. During the day, I also visited the antiques market, the book market, and the museum of tapestries.
- Sainte Victoire: Irish Lads [17 October]: We met an Irish guy and an Italian guy [who spent some time in Ireland] randomly one day while clubbing for Halloween perhaps, and we all decided to go together for a hike to Sainte Victoire. Although I had been there before, it was a refreshing hike, which reminded us all of how beautiful France was, and what it has to offer in terms of freedom and nature. It was the first time also that I climbed fully to the top, that is, to the Cross of Provence. It was so high, and steep, we had this feeling of "vertigo".
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