Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Good Gordes!

YK attended his first outdoor (Lady Gaga) concert last night and returned home exhilarated and (literally) breathless. He almost fainted from the lack of oxygen after standing for 6 hours amongst thousands of hot, sweaty bodies.

I was the one who didn't hesitate to buy him the tickets because I wanted him to experience the thrill of seeing a live concert in the park. I like my kids to have a rich life experience. From young, I've signed them up as volunteers at the zoo, sent them to camps and had always approved of trips and excursions organised by the schools. They may not enjoy everything but I know they'll thank me when they look back.

I want them to live their life fully. It is that intrepid spirit that took me to my first cycling holiday in France. I wanted to be amongst the field of flowers in Southern France where Vincent Van Gogh did his most brilliant paintings. Yet I wasn't contented to be a tourist, I wanted to immerse myself in the beauty of it all, under the burning sun of Provence, where he painted scenes of the fields, cypress trees and rustic life characteristic of the region.

That was how we found ourselves in Gordes one evening. After a long train journey from Paris to Avignon, we realised that the only bus that would take us to Gordes only leaves in the evening. We spent an entire afternoon sitting at the bus station with nothing to do.

We had no idea how long the ride was going to take but when the bus started rumbling up a winding road lined with dry-stone walls, we kept our eyes peeled for signs. In the distance, Gordes looked imposing and awe-inspiring. The tiered stone village is perched on a hill, terraced into the hillside are honey coloured stone houses and tall trees spiraling around the rock face.

This labyrinthal village of stone was once built to thwart invasions during the war. At the summit of the hilltop village sits an imposing medieval castle, flanked by four round machicolated towers bearing terraces for artillery. This castle once served as a fortress but it houses a museum and tourist office today.

The bus had driven past our hotel. I ran to the lady driver, gesturing her to let us alight. She spoke no English but seeing my frantic face, made an unscheduled stop along the narrow road to throw us out.

We walked downhill until we reached the hotel (below). Then it rained. Weren't we lucky?

Lady luck was certainly on our side that day. A kind lady gave us a lift to the village where we had a lovely dinner at a posh cafe. Halfway through our meal, we saw an amazing sight. A double rainbow! No wonder some of Vincent Van Gogh's best years were spent in Gordes!

We got up the next morning to see the entire village covered in a thick layer of mist.

When we arrived at the village market to get some supplies for lunch, the mist was beginning to dissipate, unveiling stalls that were bursting with fruits, cheeses and flowers!




We bought a roast chicken from the rotisserie, some olives, cheese, baguette and a bottle of wine. Then we got on our bike and bade farewell to Gordes.

Looking lovely in the morning sun.

From its hilltop location, Gordes offers a spectacular view of the Luberon Valley.

The lavender fields provided eye candy as we cruised along.

CH is the one with better stamina.

Sometimes I had to stop and push.

4 comments:

Nick Phillips said...

The only live concert I ever went to was when Eric Clapton performed here years ago. I went ballistic ... hehehe ...

Wonderful pictures. I like the rainbow you captured :D

WaterLearner said...

I love the lavenders. And they are so abundant in Europe during summer times!

mooiness said...

You bought your son a ticket to watch Lady Gaga? Wow you are an awesome mom.

And I agree with exposing them to all the colours of life. :)

EE said...

Addicted to reading yr travel blog ;-) almost feel like I am travelling there right now. Thanks TT. Wonderfully written!