Honeymoon
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Our drive through the Camargue & more

Map
No traffic, no planes overhead, just pastoral land, for we were in the Camargue, the wide mouth delta of the Rhone river where it spills forth into the Mediterranean.  (https://www.beyond.fr/sites/camargue.html) It is basically a giant preserve (85,000 km) that cuts into the center of the French coastline.  It is a vast combination of wetlands and lowlands given over more to animals than villages, where we actually saw flocks of flamingos, two beavers (muskrats), lots of frogs, hundreds of black bulls and horses.  It is sparsely populated with a ratio of 1:1 for horses to humans.  The people here are the closest France has to Cowboys.  They raise all the temperamental bulls for the bullfights that occur Easter week throughout the South of France.

Aran Is Driving

Green Camargue

Grass Forever

Bulls Being Bulls

Thatched Home
Here is the first flock of “Flamants” that we saw.  There are mostly pink beneath their great wing span.  We parked our little, but powerful Peugeot at the edge of the waterway and had another picnic lunch.

Marshy Camargue

La Petite Car
We owe our next mini-adventure to our 1st French flamingos, for otherwise we would have sped by the little sign beyond the car that said, “Pottiere Sculpture Barn.”

Pottery Students 2

Bill The Bull

Pottery Students 3

Pottery Students 1
Of all days, we walked in on eight delightful kids taking pottery class at this studio. Jo (pictured) and his wife work and teach and live tucked within the rhythms of the Camargue.  Jo, not only showed us around, but he and Aran shared pottery secrets, while I chatted with the children about their creations: a specially armed submarine, a plaque for Daddy’s birthday, a seated bull and more. 
 
www.ceramique.com/Gaudino/index.html 
 
Aran and I bought two pieces for ourselves that were created by Jo (as is the bull pictured), and three little vases that his wife threw as gifts. 
 
(I should take digital shots of our pieces…) remind me aran)  
 
We were off to Saintes Maries sur la Mer (the saints of Mary on the Sea).  Which sits on the left edge of the Camargue.  We romped and acted foolish, as all newlyweds should do.

Wee Little Aran And Jess'S

We Kiss

Swimming Jessica

What A Magnificent Belly

Jess In Love 2
After frolicking about the sea, we entered the city to visit its brooding church and pose like the statues (my favorite traveling pastime).

Bull And Rider

Jess Is A Beauty

Aran Being Bill

Cathedral Wall
I have longed to go to this city, for annually thousands of gypsies (Manouche & Gitanes) pilgrimage to the 12th Century church, in May.  This church preserves the relics of Mary Salome (the mother of the apostles James and John) & Mary Jacobe (the virgin Mary’s sister) who came here together to make converts after the death of Christ.  But it was their Egyptian servant Sara (Sara-la-Kâli – Sara of Black), who is the patron saint of the gypsies that draws the most visitors.  Immortalized in a wooden statue kept in the crypt of the church, Sara and the statues of the other two Marys are annually carried to the sea by thousands of gypsies on May 24th in a procession of chanting, hymns, and song to dip the feet of these saints in the water.

Maries

Gypsy'S Black Sarah
(enlargen a bit) add the image of the wall with the other maries in the boat. 
 
for more, log onto this Nat. Geographic piece. 
www.nationalgeographic.com/media/photography/dickinson/gallery1.html 
 
After an afternoon in Stes Maries, before the sun set, I drove us a bit north to the city of Arles, close to where the Rhone River tightens up her belt and becomes a single river once again.

Smiling Jess

Fuzzy Morning Landscape
Arles seems to be laid out in circles that lead up to the center of town, a circle itself gifted by the Romans – a coliseum, where modern day bull fights still occur. 

Bull Fight Poster

Coliseum

Jessica Moon Bubbles

Aran Bubbles

Sneaky Aran
And feasted like locals at a quaint tavern with house wine overflowing from a handmade jug.

Cicada And Ant

Jessica At Dinner

Aran At Dinner
What a day, what an evening, what a Honeymoon!
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