Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Holiday Eyes {Aix-en-Provence}

Sunflowers Provence

Something marvelous happened the day after Brazil Day, Mrs. London and I got to go Aix-en-Provence, alone. We were free to wander the quaint streets without a single huff being puffed.
(This rare event occurred because Gregory and I were going to Toulon for the weekend. Since Fifty would be keeping Gregory company on the journey down, I thought it was only fair that I kept Mrs. London company and a short detour to Aix seemed like the right thing to do.)

On the way, we were able to take our time and stop and smell the flowers, literally (sunflowers to be precise). And we enjoyed the scenery and slower pace in what would be our last roadtrip with Red Mist (that's what we call Mrs. London's little go mobile). The lease is up and Red Mist must be returned from whence she came. A girls only trip to Aix seemed like a lovely way to say farewell.

When we arrived in Aix, I made a point of viewing the city with 'holiday eyes' not, 'I've lived here forever eyes', a condition that has gradually taken over my psyche. My end of summer resolution is to view my surroundings with 'holiday eyes'.

Sidenote: Personally I feel that us expats that are married to natives get cheated a bit. You see, when both parts of a couple are new to an area, they are equally excited to explore, but for me, being married to someone who is no longer impressed with the châteaus and ambience means that I have to pull teeth and twist arms.
Hotel de Ville Aix-en-Provence

Mrs. London helped my holiday eyes quest by parking on a side of the city that I've never parked before (this was an accident because we took a wrong turn, but it ended up being a happy accident). Entering Aix from a new angle meant exploring new to me streets and discovering a charming Italian restaurant. It had all of six tables inside and one outside on the street with a small parasol perched precariously off the side of it. Naturally we took the spot outside; perfect for people watching, a must do for my holiday eyes.  

I ordered the Gorgonzola Gnocchi even though the heavy cream sauce combined with the hot, sunny day made me feel like I had been hit by a tranquilizer dart (I couldn't help it, I heart Gorgonzola, unlike this guy). Mrs. London ordered her usual, Caprese Salad. (If Caprese Salad is on the menu, nine times out of ten, Mrs. London will order it. Fact.)

After lunch we slowly ambled, twisting and turning up tiny streets before coming out into the square in front of the Hotel de Ville. We saw guests arriving for a wedding so we took a seat on the edge of a fountain and waited for the bride.

Hotel de Ville, Aix-en-Provence

It was scorching under the sun and we chatted about how uncomfortable some of the wedding guests must have been in their suits and cocktail dresses. And then we commented on how uncomfortable we were in the heat and how dumb we were when Mrs. London's pool was only an hour away. And that was the end of my holiday eyes moment (but not 'the end', the end... my holiday eyes are only beginning to open up).

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  1. I know what you mean about holiday eyes... when you have "stuff" to do you tend to just whizz about doing it and not stop to smell the sunflowers.
    We were in Aix yesterday, being all cultural visiting the expo in the Musée Granet. Good stuff.

  2. I'd never really thought of it until you mentioned it, but it would be a bit of a bummer to move somewhere new and not have someone with you who wanted to experience the newness, too. Tell Gregory to get off his butt and be your tour guide!

    Gorgonzola Gnocchi sounds like the best possible thing to eat right now. It beats the Caprese Salad every time, in my opinion! :o)

  3. LOVE the "holiday eyes!" It's hard sometimes to not be jaded living here like, "oh, just another castle perched on a hill," but this is a great way to try and keep it fresh. And love how easy it is to get a whole new perspective just by parking somewhere else! Maybe I'll start going into the city from a different gate too. :) And totally agree, gorgonzola gnocchi is delicious but a tranquilizer dart is damn right.

  4. Dying to visit Aix....glad you had a girl's day without the "huff". :-)

  5. What fun! Living by the ocean, or close to Boston and Cape Cod, we sometimes do the same....I love looking at an area through "holiday eyes"!

  6. Someday, I'm going to come visit and then we can be dweeby, awe-inspired tourists together!

  7. LOVE little side visits like this, so fun and beautiful! XO

  8. I have thought about this is so weird for me that I moved to a place where everything is new to me but nothing is new to David. He never gets excited about things that make me feel like a little kid.
    Glad you had such a fun trip!

  9. I'm definitely with you on needing to switch to holiday eyes. I keep trying to remind myself that one day I won't live here, I won't see Mont Blanc out my window every morning, the crazy guy behind us won't scream in French all the time, the cows won't walk down our street...and that sometimes helps to keep my holiday eyes open. :)

  10. impromptu girl's days are my jam. sounds like an excellent afternoon : )

  11. Hooray for holiday eyes! You know what? I totally took it for granted that I live with a handsome French man (as you do) that is a mega-explorer! But...he is not from Provence and like me, moved around so much that he takes nothing for granted. So no arms need to be twisted. And yeeeeet, oh how I envy you your girly day with Mrs. London!!!
    And can I have the name of the resto pleeeease? I will walk to Aix if I need to in order to have that gorgonzola gnocchi.

  12. Do sunflowers smell? I love the look of fields of them waving in the breeze, but I've never got that up close and personal to one to find out!

    Glad you had fun, sounds like Fifty and the mister need to hang out more ;o)

  13. Ooooh one of my favorite places in Europe! LOVE the sunflowers!!!

  14. I can't help but feel sorry for the poor little car. Separation anxiety.

  15. Love wrong turns that turn into "Happy Accidents", those random moments always turn out to be the best :)

  16. Variety is the spice of life and it's true, sometimes you have to adjust your way of looking at things to see the variety around you. :)

  17. I love Aix-en-Provence and it seems that every time we go we see something that somehow we missed on all of our previous visits. Interesting point about the difficulty of persuading expat spouses who have already seen everything to go out and explore/visit with you. My sympathies!

  18. sunflowers are my favorite. they are so happy!


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