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Thu Dec 04 2014: The End of a Life-Long Love Affair

It was a very relaxing time in La Cadière-d'Azur. We went out for walks in the pretty countryside (when it wasn't raining), Trevor and Neda took turns making dinner each night, and over wine our talk would turn to all the places we'd "maybe" point our front wheels towards. Trevor travels much like we do: no schedule, no plan. A few months ago he guessed he'd be in Asia by now, just like we thought we'd be in Argentina right now... but things happen, stuff changes and you just end up going with the flow.

I sometimes get the sense that people think we're being evasive when we're non-committal about our plans for the future. "What do you mean you don't know where you're going? How can you not know?!" Here in this tiny town that nobody's ever heard of, in the middle of the French Riviera, it was refreshing to drink, eat and just chat about the future using nothing but shrugs, "maybes" and "perhaps".

Some travelers find comfort in schedule, but for us, the freedom to float and wander is a dreamy intoxication.

Bags all packed, ready to hit the road again

Bye Trevor! Thanks for putting us up, and for taking this pic! :)

We took advantage of the clearing weather to bid adieu (or however the French do it here) to Trevor. We're pretty confident that we'll run into each other again.

Calanques are steeped-wall inlets typically found in the Mediterranean

The best examples of calanques are the Massif des Calanques just south-east of Marseille. Since the weather was so nice, we took the twisty coastal road back west with zeal, parked the bikes and hiked for 45 minutes to peer over the cliff tops of the Calanque Sugiton into the Balearic Sea.

Strong winds whip through our wind-proof gear and threatens to blow us over the edge!

We spent quite a bit of time marveling at the beauty of the jagged coastline

This range of calanques runs about 20kms along the coast, and sometimes extends to about 4kms inland

It's a very popular area for hikers - we passed by so many on our hike to the coast. We felt very out-of-place with our motorcycle gear on while people power-walked passed us clad in spandex and carrying those funny hi-tech hiking poles. There are many well-marked trails so it's hard to get lost. We remarked to each other how unlike these trails were compared to the very primitive ones in Central and South America.

The only thing that could have made these easier to follow would be little blinky coloured lights on either side of the path and an information booth every 100m...

Simply stunning!

Here's a short video of us riding the coastal roads past the Massif des Calanques

Approaching Marseille once again

The weather was still on our side, so we stayed off the Autoroute and headed inland. Neda heard that there was an amphitheatre in nearby Arles, so she wanted to check it out (which means, she wanted to see if it was better-looking than her hometown amphitheatre in Pula). We couldn't find affordable accommodations in Arles, so we're staying in Nimes which is only 30 kms away.

We seemed to have picked up another rider somewhere in Nimes. We're a motorcycle gang now!

I may have overstated my French-language skills in the last blog entry. Everywhere I go, my attempts at Le Français is met with blank, uncomprehending stares. I repeat my words often, and slowly the people I'm talking to piece together what I am trying to say. Then they repeat what I just said. Word for word. Didn't I just say EXACTLY THE SAME THING?!? Is it my terrible imitation of a Quebecois accent or something?

Very disheartening... :(

Laundry day in Nimes?

Since we were here in Nimes we spent the day checking out the town. We found out that there are many examples of Roman architecture right inside the city. And they aren't ruins! They are in remarkably good shape!

Hanging out at the Maison Carrée. It's the most well-preserved Roman temple found anywhere

French Bullfighter?

The non-gluten, non-dairy diet continues. Red wine is allowed!

The city is so empty at night. This isn't Italy anymore, people don't sleep during the day here.

Dammit! My camera was just a couple of milliseconds too slow for a great shot!

The Nimes Arena

It turns out Nimes also has a Roman Amphitheatre, we just happened to stumble upon it while walking around. We did a circle around the structure and then Neda peered inside it. She sniffed and proclaimed: "Yep. Ours is better."

I agreed instantly without any hesitation at all, whatsoever...

It is done up nicely with lights that change every few seconds though... oops, did I say that out loud?

Gothic Cathedral Saint-Baudile

Maison Carrée lit up at night

It's been over a week on the non-gluten, non-dairy diet and Neda is still experiencing GI issues. We were seriously thinking about going to a doctor to get it professionally diagnosed.

I normally don't get up before Neda does, but one morning, I happened to catch her at breakfast. She was spreading a thick layer of Nutella over a slice of toast.

"Um, Neda... Nutella has dairy in it."
"So what? I've been eating this my entire life!"
"Well, maybe you should stop eating Nutella for a little while, just so we can tell if that's actually causing the problem or not."
"Well, maybe you should shut your dirty piehole!!!!" (except she didn't say it as nicely as that)

At this point, she was fiercely protecting her jar of Nutella, much like a mother bear would protect her cubs. I sensed I was in imminent danger, so I dropped the issue and backed away slowly.

A couple of days later, I found a half-full jar of Nutella in the trash can. Neda's GI problems had completely disappeared overnight, replaced with a palpable sadness that hung in the air.

This is one "I Told Ya So" that I'm not going to say out loud. Because it would be met with homicide... or in this case, Gene-o-cide.

In Hollywood circles, this happy couple was known simply as "NedTella".
This is my heartfelt tribute to a long-term love affair that still ended much too soon...

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