Monday, March 19, 2012

Aix-En-Provence: Day Three

My parents are now in the custody of tour guides, and are beholden at all times to go wherever the guides lead.

My parents did a moderate amount of exploring the town of Aix-En-Provence on their own on Saturday and Sunday. Nevertheless, this morning, after breakfast at the hotel, my parents—and the rest of the tour group—were given a guided walking tour of the town.

My parents had already treaded many of the same streets on Saturday and Sunday, but they enjoyed this morning’s guided walking tour very much. The guides pointed out items of interest—historic and artistic—that my parents previously had not discovered.

Despite the informative nature of the guided walking tour, my parents say that any charm Aix-En-Provence possessed for them on Saturday and Sunday has worn thin. Aix-En-Provence is a remarkably dirty place. It is impossible to ignore the decrepit state of prime buildings—even key historic buildings—in the very center of town.

Participants in the guided tour were left to their own devices for lunch. My parents joined a couple from King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania, in dining at what turned out to be an exceptional restaurant. The food, according to my parents, was stupendous.

This afternoon, tour participants were transported to the countryside to visit vineyards and a winery. A guided tour of the winery was provided, as was a wine tasting. The entire purpose of this exercise was to get tour members to purchase cases of wine. My parents enjoyed the countryside scenery, but the winery tour was tedious, as might have been predicted. My parents had had to endure a similar vineyard-and-winery tour three years ago while touring Southern Portugal.

Once this afternoon’s excursion to the countryside was completed, tour participants were transported back to the hotel to spend the evening on their own.

For dinner, my parents and the couple from King Of Prussia went back to the same restaurant at which they had experienced an excellent lunch.

The food at dinner, according to my parents, was even better than the food at midday.

Tomorrow, the tour group moves on to Avignon for four nights.

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