Yesterday was spent driving to the delightful wee town of Isle sur Sorgue. I had to negotiate a tight knot in the roads leading to the town and drove around the roundabout a few times. Once there though, the emerald green river flows through the town in canals and we continued through the village, going uphill to find the source of the water at Vaucluse. We parked in a leafy carpark and followed the wide waters of the river uphill past a waterwheel that pounds pulp for the papermill.
There are covered stalls along this wide pathway – both of us happy in the knowledge that we had beaten the main rush of tourists. At the top of the path is a deep, still pool of emerald clear water sitting at the base of a pink wall of rocky mountainside.
I cannot describe the serene minutes we spent here, in mesmerised contemplation of the water rushing from the spring downhill. We could see it oozing out of other spots as we descended.
All in all, one of my favourite spots on this whole trip.
When we reached the little town of Vaucluse we had a cool drink overlooking the waters.
Then a bit of shopping and we got back in the car to go down to Isle sur Sorgue and lunch. What a charming antiques town it proved to be too. No antique shops open but plenty of street stalls and charming back streets.
Eventually we stopped at a riverside table and enjoyed a lunch special of asian origin which was very tasty.
Upon leaving town we wound through tiny country lanes barely wide enough for the car. Came back to relax by pool and eat bought deli items for dinner.
Today – Friday 25 May – was ‘discover Vincent van Gogh Day”. This town we are staying in (St Remy) is where he spent some time, particularly at a hospital for his mental disorders. There is a museum in the heart of the old town which gives a short outline of the artist and his influences. We started there, picking up a map to continue a journey up the hill to the sanatorium where he stayed. All the way along were paintings in noticeboards with quotes from his letters beside them.
It was a lovely walk uphill and so good to see the influences on his paintings right at hand.
We shared the path with many school children on assignment. Soon the stately entrance to the hospital opened up before us.
Inside were many posters of his work. A rather melancholy statue of him stands at the entrance clutching sunflowers.
Best of all, his room which he mentioned in his letters to his brother, and the view he must have stared out from so often.
It was not too bad a spot to spend some time.
Walking out to face a long downhill progression to the car, we noted the immense Roman ruins over the road. These will have to wait for another day!
Helen and I lunched in St Remy at a sweet little bistro which featured a chatty parrot.
We have both swum in the hotel pool and feel a pleasant sense of having used the hours well.