I wish I had paid more attention in high-school. I know six years of French classes must be stored in my subconscious somewhere, but I’m sure it would take weeks or months of being submerged in the culture for me to remember it. Fortunately, the basics have come back easily enough and most people we’ve encountered speak at least some English, so we’re doing fine.
For the first time in our three week holiday, Ron and I went our separate ways today. He wanted to hike to a point of land we could see from the waterfront area and I wanted to meander through the old city, check out the morning markets and then find a bench by the sea to read and/or write.
I enjoyed the old city with its narrow streets lined with tables of pottery and racks of clothing and shopkeepers standing in the doorways having a cigarette (okay I didn’t particularly enjoy that part, but it does seem sooo French!)
Walking down the long narrow market street, I was greeted with the most amazing array of smells. The herbs and spices in cloth-lined baskets filled my nostrils with their bold earthy scents. Home-made soaps and bags of lavender offered a delicate fragrance. Ripe fruit and vegetables gave off a pleasing aroma. Freshly baked panini and pizza made my mouth water.
I had to walk quickly by the fish table. The odor was so strong and flies landing on the uncovered fish made it very unappetizing.
Fresh flowers, homemade jams and preserves, embroidered towels and aprons trimmed with delicate lace added visual appeal to the market.
Now I’m staring at the endless expanse of water before me. I know now what color Mediterranean blue is! A color so cool and fresh that it lures bathers—even on this windy cloudy day. I’ve seen pictures of this stretch of beach completely filled with chairs and umbrellas, but today only a handful of diehard sun-worshipers lay on striped towels, hoping, I guess, for the sun to penetrate the cloud cover and add color to their already bronzed bodies.
It’s actually a great day for pictures. With breaks in the cloud, the sun peeks through, illuminating bits of the city here and there. I glance over at the high-rises on the curve of the bay to my right and see them gleaming. On my left just minutes ago, the rocky point of land where Ron is hiking was lit up. Now its my turn. I close my eyes to breathe deeply as the sun caresses my skin and wraps me in a loving embrace. J’amour la soleil!