Oh, So Tired…

Saturday was the trip to Avignon, which was great, but very, very tiring. We left at 7:00 am (correction: we needed to be there by 7:00 am, but we did not leave until 7:45) and got back at 1:00 am. So yes, a long day. We started off with a stop in Orange to see the Roman theatre, which is damn impressive, still standing and looking good for its 2000 years. Lunch at a café, then back on the bus to hit Avignon and the Palais des Papes, which was less elaborate than I thought, but really cool nevertheless. July is the month-long Avignon Theatre Festival, which spills into the streets. Sure, there are traditional plays, put on in traditional theaters; but there are street performers, guerilla theater events, and even the people involved in the more traditional productions pound the pavement, in costume, handing out flyers to advertise their shows.


After a few hours in Avignon, it was on to Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct and public beach. Those who brought their maillots de bain could go swimming, and those (like myself) who did not could wade, or hang out in the shade or hike. I have not appeared in public in a maillot de bain for a long time, though I did wish at the time that I did bring one, as it was damn hot. After our sojourn with nature, it was back on the bus, back to Avignon, to enjoy some of the theatre festival. We walked around a bit, but the crowds were insane, so we picked a spot and sat down. We chose well, because after 10 or 15 minutes, just when we were wondering if we were really going to sit there for another hour, a street performer set up right in front of where we were sitting. His was probably the best act we saw on the street. He performed for about 45 minutes, and his act had a definite Charlie Chaplin, Harpo Marx, silent clown influence. It turned out that he was Spanish, and didn’t speak a lot of French, but he made it work for him, with a melange of French, English, Spanish and a patois of his own creation. It was impressive, and if I hadn’t been cash-free at that point (mayhaps I purchased some petits cadeaux pour mes amis?), I would have made a contribution to the hat. I also saw something very cool, which I am not going to post as of yet. I want to recount the story, in person, to Puppy Mama, KS(-P) and Bad Influence, as they will appreciate greatly. Plus, I have visual aids.


But all the theatrical goings-on made me miss the gang back home. The Blitz is next weekend, and it is always a hoot and a holler. KS(-P) and I will not be writing as a team this year (sniff), and she’s already gone and found a new collaborator (sniff). However, don’t cry for me Blogosphere, because I am in France, and I suppose that’s cool too.


After a couple of hours in Avignon, we left for Grenoble. At 2 minutes before 1, we get off the bus. I walk over to the tram stop and the board indicates that I missed the last tram by 2 minutes. Disappointed, but not surprised, I start to walk off in the direction of chez moi with some others. It isn’t a long walk, but at 1:00 am, I would prefer to ride the tram. Then I hear the tram approaching. I holler an obscenity (in English) and haul ass back to the tram stop. Fortunately, I make it, and get to ride instead of walk. As dead-ass tired as I am when I get home, the disgusting film (which I know contains sweat and sunscreen, but I shudder to think what else) coating me is too much, and I take a shower. Then I sleep the sleep of the dead.


Then on to Chartreuse the next day.


The Chartreuse trip was only a half day, but to those of us still exhausted from Avignon, it was a long half day. The weather was kind of crappy for an outdoor excursion, but what can you do? We went up into the mountains, saw a church (very striking), saw a museum about the Chartreux monks (very interesting) and hiked up the mountain (very exhausting). I took many photos. Then came the part that most people were waiting for: the visit to the Chartreuse distillery, along with free degustation. The folks at the distillery showed a couple of short movies (one in 3-D!), which were freakin’ hilarious, a brief tour, and then the tasting. I knew that Chartreuse has a distinctive taste, and that a lot of the people in the group, who are used to drinks that don’t taste like drinks, weren’t going to like it. But I had no idea that they had all these fruity liqueurs, so those people were covered too. I’m a purist at heart, so I tried the Chartreuse Verte. If herbal tea packed a wallop, that’s what Chartreuse Verte tastes like. Of course, the tasting room is adjacent to the gift shop. I picked up some of the supercharged vert “Elixir” for my brother, and the tisane (herbal tea bags) made by the monks for myself. Since I will have to tote anything and everything I buy home with me, I assume I will wait until I am back in America before I buy my own Chartreuse (sure it will be more expensive, but since I have had the French experience, and I can remember how heavy my luggage was before I came to France, I figure the extra cost is worth it). And then, this winter, I will try a Green Chaud – Chartreuse and hot chocolate. Hey, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, right?


But back to the “real world” (the French real world, at any rate) of classes and such.

As for today’s title – I stuck my arm out the window, as I do every day to check the weather (Who needs météo when you have arms?).  Freaking cold.  We’ve been complaining about the weather here lately, but no lie, I bet it didn’t even make it to 60 today (and I ain’t talkin’ Celsius).  Oh, and there’s snow covering the Belladonne range of the Alps today, as I noticed with shock and horror from the bathroom window this morning.  But hey, I have a view of the Alps from my bathroom window, so life can’t be all bad, can it?

But seriously, we were told that it gets really hot here, so I packed one hoodie and one pair of pants, which I have been wearing every damn day (except for Saturday) for the past week and a half, or so it seems.  I hear by Bastille Day, however, things will be warm.  Actually, I hear next week will be stifling, but I trust French meteorologists as much as I trust their American counterparts:  that is to say, not at all.