I had the good fortune to be invited down to one of my student’s house in Provence. I had only driven through this country before and never really stopped to get a sense of what lie just off the road. The McSpaddens were not only gracious hosts making me feel as if I were at a resort, but they ferried and trucked me all over the countryside to see other small provincial cities and take in all that Provence has to offer. The days were filled with waking to morning runs with the family or a family swim in their pool. Then we would load up the car and investigate some local water way or some local town known for the ice cream. At this point I must go on the record and register the finest ice cream/glace/gelato that I have ever had. They took me to this tiny town, and I kid you not I had the finest ice cream EVER!!! Carmel with milk…heavenly.

The also took me to swim at some pretty spectacular places where we took turns jumping and flipping off the cliffs. I took my own sweet time getting up the nerve to do a back flip off one of the smaller cliffs, but in the end I finally did it. Rhea and Liam, 9 and 11, showed the old men and women in the group their fearless demeanor when they without hesitation jumped of cliffs all the way up to 35 ft!!!

This picture shows you the splendor and beauty of the countryside and why so many ex-patriots can be counted among the locals. We also took in a winery by the name of Singac. I hoped that it once belonged to the famous pointilist Paul Singac, but there was no relation. However, the finest wine I’ve tasted in all of France so far is to found at this winery just over the hill from my friends estate. They had a wine that is easily within the top two that I’ve ever tasted, they know it too, as the name is “La Secret”!!! At 30€ a bottle it is by far and away the most expensive bottle of wine I’ve seen in France, but worth every penny!

As we drove around we found this magnificent Lavendar field. Being my loves favorite color/scent/flavor, I had to take a couple pictures for her.

Yesterday, we hiked to the highest prominence in the local area. It is a place known as Caesar’s Camp. The Romans used this easily defensible table rock mesa as their command post to control the local region. with 360 views of the local area, they were able to control and keep Gaul rebellions under control. Here young Master McSpadden has climbed with extreme agility atop an old Roman wall.

So, after spending the early part of the day in Avignon with the family today, we arrived at the train station 2 minutes too late to catch my train. I had to pay another 78€ to get back to Paris!!! I am staying in Montmarte this time. While I am in the middle of the “Happening” part of the city, and I am a stone’s throw from the Moulin Rouge, I am so ready to return home. Tomorrow though will be another round of museums. The next two days will be the same. Finally, I will spend two last days in Versailles, and then return to SF. I can’t believe I am going to say this, but I am so ready to go back to sleep on my boat surrounded by the sea lions!!! I miss my consistent life to be right honest.

I am also ready to get back to working: with the boys and with my own paintings. I know I have a few things left to work out, but I am ready to be done.