We woke up feeling pretty refreshed and had a slow morning taking our time packing since our train to Marseille didn’t depart until 2 in the afternoon. We finally remembered to get a few quick shots of our basic but comfortable room. We checked out with Eric, glad to see his bright smile and adorable voice, and left our bags with him to pick up later in the day.
Since it was Wednesday morning, market day in Arles, we headed off to wander through, partly for the experience, and partly looking for souvenirs or tasty consumables to have later. There were loads and loads of beautiful fruits and vegetables, and huge variety of cheeses, spices, and olives, all open to the air. The seafood booth was probably one of favorites (and the stinkiest), with whole fish sprawled out ice. I think there was swordfish and some sort of small looking shark, though I’m not sure if that’s actualy what it was.
There was a booth for everything! Several with multiple varieties of nougat, another with many different kinds of nuts, a watch booth, and jewelry booth, a booth with random junk, a scarf booth, and sweater booth, a general clothing booth, an apron booth, a pottery booth, and olive wood booth… seriously, anything you can imagine, they probably had a booth for. It just kept going on for blocks and blocks and blocks. The streets were filled and we occasionally had to push our way through the dense masses of people when there was a particular popular/discounted booth. It was a pretty fun experience and it was nice to be surrounded by crowds of locals for once, rather than the crowds of tourists we had grown familiar with. Many of the “locals” were immigrants of all different ethnic origins, so that only added to the excitement and depth of the atmosphere.
After wandering through for about an hour and a half, we trekked back to the booths that looked most appealing to us and bought our souvenirs. We settled on two aprons (olives on one and cicadas on the other) and two pouches of lavender from one booth, and small olive wood cutting board and risotto paddle from the olive wood booth. Those decisions were difficult, as I wanted everything, but alas, wood is heavy, large, and expensive.
After heading to the ATM and Monoprix, we found we were a bit hungry since we had skipped breakfast, so we headed back the same café we had eaten lunch at yesterday. The same girl who took our order the day before took it again today. She was from Austria and was working in Arles over the summer to improve her French. We ordered gazpacho and sandwiches again as well as bubbly water. Prior to this trip, I never consumed or enjoyed carbonated water, but I found it refreshing on this trip. It somehow cleansed my palate better and seemed to quench my thirst moreso than regular water. We ate out on the patio and enjoyed a relaxing lunch while people watching and taking in the view of the city and its ancient monuments one last time. Then we headed back to the hotel to pick up our bags and head to the train station. We were glad to have given ourselves plenty of time to get there, as we got a little lost on the way. The map we were using was a tad confusing, but thankfully we figure it out before we’d gone very far. The train station was quiet and we were easily able to find our seats on the train. I had planned to journal on the train, but was too exhausted opted to people watch and enjoy the passing scenery. We could tell we were headed to a much different part of Provence, as there were several Arabic people an women with head coverings aboard the train. I was eager to get to the city and see its diversity myself.