_ Lale Ak

It’s a trip to the blue-the so-called Cote d’Azur. It’s a trip to the spring of France- to the green, yellow, pink, burgundy of the Provence…It’s a visit to Matisse, Cézanne, even Van Gogh. It’s a trip to glamorous Mediterranean. In other words, it’s another trip to the south…

We arrived to Nice on a rainy day. Disappointing yet expected, we geared into the good mood to explore the city immediately. Then again, we are not so well prepared: Its a Tuesday, and apparently everything is closed on Tuesdays in Nice. No problem: How about a trip to Monaco and Monte Carlo?

For a person, who can reach a city centre of another country by passing a border, in shortest 6 hours, it always fascinated me that I could reach 3 countries in a day. Here we are touring in Monaco, which is only 20 minutes away from Nice. Carry on a little, you will be in Italy.

Its all so posh and glamorous and superficial in Monaco, I immediately fell in to the ‘lets look at this picture too and leave this museum’ mood. We don’t belong there.

We are luckier the next day, the warm weather welcomes us to start our 1200 km journey around the Provence.

Our first destination, Bonnieux and then the little town called Lacoste. Little, but important enough to have a Film School for American exchange students. I am afraid that one of the students, after having studied here, will grow up being a Director to make a blockbuster movie about Lacoste and this town also will turn into St.Tropez. Hurry up, get there before!

Watching this town from top of the ruins of the Chateau de Lacoste, once belonging to the sadist ‘Marquis de Sade’, we realise once more that the view is breathtaking. We’ve been having the same feeling throughout the whole trip: Its like travelling through a postcard. You see these fields, trees, preserved architecture only and only in the movies/postcards. Everything is so beautiful in the lights of the sunshine, all you want to do is stop at every corner and embrace it.

St-Saturnin-les-Ant, Villars, Gargas, Gordes, Roussillon, Rustrel: All these villages/towns made the highlight of our tour, thinking Luberon is the place to be. France is less intimidating here. French people are very friendly, even if you don’t speak a word of French, very calm, laid back and aware of the beauty around them-therefore much more radiant...

Having had the change of breathing in this beautiful area, we target the coast again for a beautiful ride. Driving over Avignon and spending a night in Aix-en-Provence, once more we appreciate the food and the wine. This is the land of indulge(ment)- even the cheapest restaurants you go have the best taste and presentation…

We go back to Nice via Cassis, St Tropez and Cannes. Cassis would be the place to buy a house, settle down, have kids and never travel again. Its so familiar with its unique Mediterranean feel and the beautiful Calanques. Cannes, is all about the extravaganza. You have rich people with lots of concerns of looking glam there, I don’t think they even enjoy what they see. Then again, this is the place where the stars pass every year, they need to fit in…

Leaving the beautiful scenes behind us, we fly off to Geneva, to go to Interlaken. Welcome to the stiff but equally gentle Swiss world. Everything is so organised, it hurts to make a mistake in this country.

Interlaken is a great destination to travel to, since the train ride there has the most amazing scenes of lakes, green fields, foggy mountains. Its also a town in the middle of many different ski resorts. Snow has gotten all smushy obviously this time of the year, but it was a fabulous experience to go up to 3500m and feel the sun again.

The part of Provence we went is only a tiny bit of the whole France. This petite part made us realise, that French have the right to be so ‘snob’. They’ve got everything, the culture, the beauty including coasts, mountains,the sun, the food&wine. Why be modest?

This trip was about discovering new places that I have not been before, but also about reuniting with the loved ones. Again, I realised, where you call home is where you have friends, who welcome you anytime you come back to visit. I stopped thinking about where my home is, and decided to enjoy every home I have in the world.

And, there is nothing like travelling with your family who are as close as your friends, and spare precious moments which you will cherish forever…
April 05

Lale Ak #