Being in the French Riviera, Ryan and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit Monte Carlo, Monaco. After meeting Sami and having a crêpe brunch in Nice, we took the tram to Place Garibaldi, walked to the port, and took the #100 bus to Monaco for just €1.50 each. Leaving France was bittersweet; I would miss our time in France, as everyone we met was friendly despite us trying to converse in broken French. I loved the beautiful shuttered buildings, the plane trees and pointy cypresses, and the chugging sound of the cicadas – the soundtrack of summer.
The reticulated #100 bus to Monaco was full, but we got seats and maneuvered our luggage as the bus wound its way along the cliffs. After about 30 minutes craned around in my seat, taking photos out the window, we arrived in Monte Carlo, Monaco!
Donatello works at night and often has trouble sleeping during the day. Apart from noise and temperature, darkness is so important in getting a good sleep. We have blinds, a black out curtain, but the bedroom still wasn’t dark enough. The polyester eye masks from the airplane never stayed put, so I decided to invent my own. These two graphic leather eye masks are the result.
After spending some time in Aix-en-Provence and the Camargue, Ryan and I headed back to Nice. It was the last day we had the car, so at the last minute, we decided to visit Marseille. It was just a 30 minute drive from Aix-en-Provence, and as we headed into town we the saw the Chateau d’If in the distance! The Chateau d’If was built in the sixteenth century. Its most famous prisoner, the Count of Monte Cristo, never existed.
We parked near the cruise ship terminal since we doubted we could find parking closer to the Vieux Port (although we later found out we were wrong). It was a hot, cloudless walk through the streets full of dog poo and smelling of urine, until we spotted this gorgeous stone church.
From there we walked along the water, wondering at how empty the streets seemed, thinking it was just a regular lazy Sunday. Then we saw the market tents along the old port corniche. We moseyed along the water, looking at the famous Marseille soap, lavender, nougat, pretty woven cotton cloths, and hats.
It was cool and cloudy on our drive to the Camargue. We stopped by Arles at 1pm for lunch, and had another rage-inducing bout of looking for parking, any parking. The medieval city centre is narrow, and half the streets seemed to be blocked for market day, so we found a free spot across the Rhône river. We found the market stalls were just packing up, so we frantically flitted from stall to stall, buying things for lunch including accras, a duck sausage, a donkey sausage, a bottle of apricot-flavoured rosé, a baguette, a pain au chocolat, and a bowl of mixed rice with four types of meat. Ryan and I found a bench on which to eat our lunch and watched the shopkeepers tidy up. There was quite a mess leftover, but city cleaners promptly started to hose down the streets and streetcars swept up any debris. We spent a few more minutes wandering the narrow, medieval stone streets before heading back to the car. By now it was hot and sunny, so we made a beeline for the Camargue visitor information centre.
The land gradually got flatter as we hit the salt flats, and we saw a marsh of pink flamingos, which prompted me to pull over so we could take photos.
A few weeks ago, my best friend from grade 5 had a baby, so of course I had to send something to her in Finland! I sewed this hourglass baby quilt in various shades of yellow and green, since my friend didn’t know if she was having a boy or a girl. A variety of sunny yellows were the main colour since I had several yellow fat quarters and scraps, but you could easily switch out the colours.