France, Provence: A Great Escape

France, Provence: A Great Escape
For centuries, Provence in Southern France has served as a refuge for victims of persecution and for people who are just plain tired of modern civilization.

Alone with my thoughts, I sit on the summit of Mont Ventoux surrounded by a large landscape of rocks and boulders. If you have clear skies, there's a phenomenal overview to the Mediterranean Sea. The locals say you can even see the Pyrenees at times. The daylight of Provence is different from anywhere else in the world and it creates colors you've never seen before. That's why it's such a popular place for photographers and artists because their works usually turn out great.

Change of time, change of surround­ings. Two days before we were stuck in a big traffic jam shortly before reaching Avignon. We are hemmed in by lots of Harley riders and when I asked what's going on, one of them says they are on their way to a big Harley Rally in Carpentras. Even Mickey Rourke and the French rock star Johnny Halliday, both staunch fans of the American brand, are supposed to show up. When we get into Avignon it's already dark. We park, have a quick dinner, and go for a walk through the town center. It's worth it; the overlook to the 'Palace of the Popes' and the old part of town is amazing. Finally, we get to our hotel and fall into bed totally tired.

We are so impressed by Avignon's center that we have to return early the next morning. We walk over to the Place d'Horloge. Only a few artists have set up their easels; usually the place is filled with them. Most of the others are probably sitting in the nearby bars and cafés, lingering over a typical breakfast of café au lait and croissants, and reading the regional newspaper Le Provencal. On the Place de Palais, we watch two young boys playing their barrel organ. A small dog with them howls along to the melody  -  a strange but funny composition.