I’ve said it before, everyone looks for something different in a vacation. For some it might be a golf course, or white river rafting, maybe shopping or big adrenaline adventure. For us, we like to see and experience something new. We like the relaxation of walking around taking it all in… but also an activity to bring some excitement, and culture to round it all out.
Our relaxation came from the tradition of ‘paseo’, a term that actually means walk in Spanish, a time honored tradition of walking around the town square before dusk and dinner time. It’s a time for the Spanish people to visit with old friends. In France, the tradition takes another form, when the people sit at a table, turning their chairs to overlook the street and watch the people go by. We practiced it often to be sure we got it right!
Of course, the views while sitting watch the people go by, are stunning. As you can see where we were overlooking the boats in Cassis or the old ruins in Arles.
The ruins and history everywhere we went were fascinating. It’s hard to imagine the stories these places could tell, and to be in the presence of something so old. Some built as far back 7AD, others as new as 1600.
The village overlooks were stunning.
Even the streets themselves were fun to walk through, with their cobblestone walkways and decorative archways.
We especially enjoyed the markets in all the villages with it’s own town as the backdrop. Fresh veg and hand crafted goods were marketed with passion and pride. Farmers carefully laid out their vegetables in an attractive presentation. Lines formed behind favorite (and great) cheese and salami makers. Amazing breads were everywhere, made with pride and passion.
Which had to be our favorite part about the entire trip… the people. It was not Rick Steves-afied, i.e popularized beyond belief. It was real and genuine. The people genuinely wanted to please and help. They took pride in everything they did to make it the best they could, whatever it was they were doing. They offered it and presented it in such a way to make it appealing and beautiful. And everything was amazing.