Sunday, January 15, 2012

Good Morning Provence!

Apparently the traffic into Aix is notoriously horrible. It took us about 1-1/2 hours to get from the village of Luynes (where Josie will go to school) to Aix...a distance of just a few kilometers! Traffic was completely stopped. Caroline said it's normal to be slow, but this was particularly bad. Once we arrived in Aix, there was the round and round to find a legal parking space. We got a nice tour of the neighborhood until we nabbed a spot close enough given that we had FIVE suitcases to wheel down the street. Our street is pedestrian only, so we couldn't drive up to our door to drop our stuff off.

Then came the stairs! Oh, first two automated locked doors to open the front two doors, then three long flights of stairs. Old building = high ceilings, so each flight is equivalent of two normal US flights. Then we get to our apartment door, which has no doorknob. The lights at the top of the main stairs are out, so it's pitch dark. Thankfully, Caroline brought a flashlight.
Once inside our door, we are faced with a flight of spiral stairs...not long, but tiny...miniscule. Our biggest suitcase nearly wouldn't fit. I had to bump it up ahead of me with each step.

Not sure what we would have done without Caroline! She visited the apartment the day before we arrived and stocked the fridge and pantry with some basics and a bottle a wine. Also, she made our bed, brought an extra blanket, and left dish soap, sponges, shower gel, etc.!

Our apartment is from the 18th century and the original tiles have been uncovered....beautiful, quaint, cozy, and tiny, but perfect for Josie and I. The location is perfect! Right in the middle of the shopping district off of the tree-lined Cours Mirabeau. We can't stand up in the bedroom...our little hobbit hole.
The next morning...Saturday...dawned clear and bright. Sunlight streaming in our kitchen window...

The Saturday market is just outside our window...
We spent the day Saturday just trying to get our bearings, finding internet, being challenged by French keyboards (!!), trying to get cell phones, and arguing with each other...part of the adjustment process! :) Josie fixed the internet in our apartment, so we are online now.

Dinner with Caroline and her family...we learned a wonderful new tradition for eating king cake that we have decided to adopt. The youngest person gets under the table and determines who gets each piece of cake, so the person under the table doesn't know who's getting the piece with the baby...just in case the baby pokes its head out while the cake is being cut.