Thursday, August 20, 2009

Geography at the scale of Launa

In case you are wondering where we are, and to prove that I'm learning something about that question myself, here is a list of places I newly now know:

We are in the Var region, just below the Alpes-De-Haute-Provence. We are currently renting part of a house that is less than a kilometer from Sillans-la-Cascade, where we also buy the baguettes.

We are 7K from Salernes, where there is a big market twice a week. Bill got good smoked ham there, but very bad green beans. Salernes is also home to my beloved Casino supermarket.

We are 10K from Aups, where the girls will start school in early September, and where you will visit us. Aups is a tiny village where they have a truffle market all fall and winter. There is a cute square with a big market, a little school for the girls, and some cafes and restaurants. Rumor has it that there is also good pizza almost as close to our rental as than Pino's is to 361 1st street .

Just north of Aups is the Gorge du Verdon, the Lac St. Croix, and the magical little village we visited last on Wednesday, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, home to the rhubarb sorbet.

We are 45 minutes from Draguinan, the provincial capital where you get an iphone and talk to the kind people at HSBC bank. No lunch there between 2 and 3 PM. Between here and Draguignan is Flaosc, the beautiful town I can't pronounce.

When we drove to Aix-en-Provence, it took about an hour and a half. We drove along a beautiful road past the sweet little town of Barjols, and then through St-Maximin, with its enormous basilica, then onto the A8 for awhile past Cezanne's Montagne Ste-Victoire. In Aix are tons of caf├ęs, well-dressed tourists, fountains, and places to get haircuts and clothing. The parking garage feels as though it is on a half-size scale as compared to ones in New York, and I was briefly terrified and claustrophobic trying to get the Megane into a space.

I love that all the road signs think the way I do. When you get to an intersection, there is no North, no West, and often no route numbers. They just list the next towns in that direction on an arrow pointing in the proper direction, so you drive from point to point to point. It's on a human scale rather than a rational grid. In exactly this way I'm starting to build a web of understanding where we are.

Perhaps after that I'll start on why we're here.

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