Today, May 18, we woke up at a respectably late hour and pulled in to the town of Viviers, which is a lovely small medieval town along the Rhône. We did a walking tour in the old part of town. followed by a petanque lesson from the Fanny Petanque club in town.
Petanque is basically like boules or bocce ball, except that it uses steel balls instead of wooden ones, and the players who are furthest away from the ball keep pitching until they become the closest.
Since we were still docked in town for a few more hours, Jim and I borrowed a couple of bikes and rode along a path by the river. Parts of it were like riding in a forest, and some of the views of the medieval ramparts from the trail were stunning. One of the coolest things here in Provence at this time of the year, the red poppies are blooming everywhere: on the roadsides, in the fields, in the vineyards, and even at town dumps. I’m a little bit obsessed with the beauty and happy ambience of these hardy little flowers, so expect to see a bunch more pictures of them.
Our afternoon’s entertainment involved another wine tasting from a vineyard called Chêne Bleu onboard the ship. This turned out to be a very good thing because we had a good rain while we were tasting. Then it was time to sail down the river to Arles. Our little posse headed up to the upper deck to watch our sail, but the gale force winds, and the fact that the whole deck had been flattened down to allow passage under several very short bridges. Bummer, so we regrouped later. However, tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful clear day in Arles.