That cliche about needing a holiday to get over your holiday is horrifyingly true.
Last Sunday we slept through our alarm, and only my panic upon waking up and checking the time whenever I'm going away, regardless of alarms, allowed us to catch our Sheffield to London bus on time. From central London we got a train out to my aunt's place, which is in a little village on the Thames. As it was Sunday, bloke got to see his first cricket match. It was lovely to be able to see my aunt and my cousin, as they've been having a rough time of it lately. The next day we trundled from there to the British Museum, where the day was spent in geek joy. We also managed to squeeze some shopping in, in preparation for France. We woke up at seven the next day to catch our train to London, from where we caught two tubes to another train station to catch another train to the airport. With very heavy bags. Always fun.
We didn't arrive at the airport with a huge amount of time to spare because of some tube delays earlier in the day, but we weren't in too much of a rush. Until, that is, bloke's bag got pulled out for a search at security. The guy searched for about fifteen minutes until he found what he was looking for - a tiny swiss army knife that bloke had forgotten he had. We were thus late to arrive at the gate and didn't get to sit together. Other than that it was an easy flight and we arrived at Toulon in plenty of time to pick up our rental car and navigate our way to Avignon. We had to stop by the coast first as bloke was most excited at seeing the Mediterranean for the first time. We made it to Avignon by about eight that night (Bless the French roads and their signposts) and ventured into the city for some dinner.
Avignon is a gorgeous
town a walled medieval city, dominated by the Palais des Papes
, the seat of Rome in the (I think ) 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. At night it was just stunning. Our hotel was small and basic, but very central. If it weren't for the creepy dolls littered about the dimly lit hallways, I'm sure I'd have liked it very much. The next day we headed out into the old city to do the tour of the Palais. They're big on audio tours in France, apparently. Which I always think are faintly ridiculous, but it was handy to have. We have many, many photographs, but as they're on bloke's camera, it'll be a while before I can get them up. Late in the afternoon we left Avignon to get to Nimes, which took about fifty minutes. The driving around Nimes looking for our hotel took another two hours, however, at the end of which we were both quite snippish, to put it mildly.
The next day in Nimes we spent looking at the Roman remains - a temple facade firstly, but also an ampitheatre in amazing condition. They still do bullfights there every year, and the festival had just finished when we arrived. The tour was fun, but I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know. From Nimes we drove down to Marseille airport to pick up my friends Pob and lil_nibbler
, who had arrived with jaaam
, her boyfriend Harry and her parents. I was given directions on how to get to the house in Provence, and off we set. After about ten minutes driving and looking at the map however, I realised that the directions were wrong, and we headed back the other way, eventually getting to the right road. The other car didnt realise so quickly however, and we had to wait quite some timebefore their car caught ours up. We reached Varages (a lovely little town in Provence) a bit before midnight, found the house up at the top of the tallest hill, had a cup of tea, and headed to bed.
The house was really lovely. It's used as a yoga retreat by the owners, who are friends of jaaam
's parents. The list of fabulous things about the house is far too long to mention, but my favourites included - the pool, the five-ring gas hob, the balcony outside my bedroom window and the hammocks littered throughout the grounds, the Irish teabag supply already in the cupboard when we arrived. The views and the weatehr were spectacular the whole time we were there, though we got a little chilly at night, being so far up in the mountains. Our time at the house was pretty uneventful - lots of bread, cheese, wine, reading and Pictionary. I think it's the time of year for them too, but I saw at least ten shooting stars while I was hammocking at night. Myself and bloke drove down to the coast one day so we could swim in the Med too, but it was less than two hours each way, and not too strenuous. It was brilliant being able to hang out with ma buds and such, seeing as it's been so long since I've seen them, and just doss for five days.
Yesterday we left early in the morning so we had time to stop and take pictures and buy presents. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time, but our plane from Stansted was delayed becaue of the security restrictions there, which we'd only vaguely heard about. We were thus two hours late landing at STansted, and even the hour and a half cushion Id given us between landing and catching our bus wasnt enough. Also, bloke has an American passport, for which the queue was an hour long coming through customs. As he had to be up at six this morning to catch a flight to Boston from Manchester, this was not a great state of affairs, especially seeing as when we asked about coaches, we were told the next one would get us into Sheffield at four in the morning. Eventually we decided to rent a car that he could drop off at Manchester this morning, as it was cheaper and quicker than getting the train. We even got back home earlier than if we'd caught the coach we weremeant
to get, which made up for the crapiness, if not the extra expense.
So that was my holiday, and I went back to the lab today, and I am tired.