The apartment here in Avignon was perfect: A spacious bedroom/dining area, adequate shower and functional kitchen. There were even enough outlets for our chargers. The complex itself was gated, with an inexpensive laundry and key entry for both the building and the apartment where we’d call home for the next six days. There were three grocery stores, well stocked with vins du pays within a minute’s walk. And one featured everything we’d need for dinners at home. The only luxury we lacked was a private patio. Since we were on the ground floor, Carol and I simply set about the task of creating one.
I’d begun reading the late Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence and the sequel Toujours Provence aloud to Carol, generally as preparation for our trip to France but specifically for our stopover in Avignon. While his depictions of the region would differ from our own during the week we spent there, one in particular was spot on.
My eVest has given me the kind of security only a true neurotic could love. Like B.C. and A.D. once upon a time, I could rename this era for me as B.e (Before eVest) and A.e.(After eVest), such as 2017 B.e and 2018 A.e.
In 2017 B.e. I traveled through France without an eVest. My days of travel were spent checking and rechecking pants and shirt pockets, constantly padding them down to make sure all my vital items (passport, credit cards, cash, phone, granola bars) were all still safely on my person from my last check five minutes previously. From a distance, the sight of me sauntering down the streets of Europe must have looked like someone using his body like a set of bongo drums.
We’re at Day Eight of our maiden companion travel adventure, and if what was going to happen in the weeks ahead had happened already, Carol and I might already be re-thinking train travel in Europe. Instead, our first week has been an effortless glide through a Looking Glass of visual beauty of landscape and architecture, as well as an enriching tour of culture and history surpassing anything endured in World History 101. Then, there’s the laughter, which is turning out to be its own category of travel experience.
Like our first night in Arles.