19 October 2009
By eight thirty, we boarding the Cosmos bus yet again, winding through the rods of Geneva and out, into the countryside, into France. To Digne-les-Bains, our final destination. Having only ever visited Paris in February, I was awed by the splendor of Provence in the fall. Such vivid foliage painting the hillsides, mountains of such a unique color and shape… houses grew reminiscent of adobe styles one might expect to encounter in the desert, with simple walls and terracotta roofs. Streams and rivers were lined with beautifully round stones. Stormy clouds of purple and grey hovered over the mountains.
After a picnic lunch in a sunny field, we pulled in to the Villa Gaia in the late afternoon. Evening sun filtered through the trees, dancing patterns of light among the blades of grass, dying slowly in the autumn cold. A grand chateau loomed in the twilight, delicious scents drifting from its open windows. A piece of idyllic French countryside, ours to experience. We headed to our rooms, exhausted. Adrienne and I were given an exquisite old room, furnished with intricate wallpaper and a mirrored armoire. A strange homesickness came over us. We had begun to associate our independent lives with the lesser quality found in youth hostels and student apartments. Being in such an upscale setting made the absence of our families almost startling.
Dinner was a decadent experience. Four-course meal, potatoes au gratin, cheese course, roast chicken, and dessert made for an unforgettable feast. Sleep became the only option after so much food…