Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Last night in Lacoste...

Tonight is my last night in Lacoste. We finished up classes yesterday, and I stayed an extra day, just 'cause. Tonight was our "bon voyage" dinner at the Café de Sade, where they served us copious amounts of soupe au pistou (vegetable soup with pesto), a Provencal specialty. It was quite delicious; just ask Drew, who snarfed down no less than 10 bowls (!!!) of it (though he did struggle with that last one.) Anyway, it's been a good quarter, but I'm getting ready to be back settled in at home, but of course I don't fly home for another week. Hey, well, I've got a rail pass, might as well use it now. Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I'll be heading to Basel, Switzerland, to spend a short time before heading to Rothenberg and Munich and whatever else I can see in Bavaria. So, see you back in Savannah!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Vernissage/Exposition

Tonight we just finished up our show of our best artwork from the quarter. Everyone participated, even the architectural history and historic preservation classes, who showed off some of the research and photos of the work they've done this quarter. I even managed to sell some of my artwork, mostly prints but one original drawing as well. That will give me a little spending money while I travel around next week.

Only two days left of classes, then we have a few days more until they kick us off campus. Many of the students are waiting until the last day, Friday, since they let the school make the travel arrangements and are leaving as a group, but I more than likely will be leaving earlier. I was thinking Wednesday originally, but maybe on Thursday instead just to have an extra night of rest (not to mention a free night's stay and meals!) I haven't really finalized where I want to go, just "Switzerland and Germany." I think that given the limited time, and the fact that I will have to change my money to Swiss francs (they are not on the Euro,) I'll probably just pass through on the way to Germany. It's a convenient stopping point for a night, anyway. I plan on seeing some things in Bavaria, like Munich, Röthenberg, and the castles built by "Mad Ludwig" that inspired Cinderella's castle in Walt Disney Land. So we'll see how things turn out.

Nothing much else to show, so enjoy a few pictures of Lacoste...


An abandoned door in Lacoste


Looking down the hill from just outside the entrance to studio two (the animation studio, this quarter), Lacoste


Looking down Rue St. Trophime (I think that's the name), Lacoste

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Final stretch; Mont Ventoux

We have been working this week on getting ready for our end-of-quarter "exposition" (in the US we would say "exhibition," but in French that means, er, something else that you can get arrested for.) Lots of cleaning, painting, mounting, all that fun stuff. The doctor did not, in fact, explicitly tell me I was dying on Monday, so perhaps there's hope for me that I might yet pull through. He confirmed that it was mostly viral and not much to be done about it, but also a touch of bronchitis, so although he was skeptical at first about giving me some antibiotics he eventually decided to since I will be travelling next week. Anyway I have been feeling better, slowly, so that's good.

Yesterday we had our last outing of the quarter in Treasures of Provence and drove to the top of Mont Ventoux, the highest mountain in southern France or something (don't know where the French Alps fall under that assessment) and is sometimes used as a stage of the Tour de France. Petrarch climbed to the top in 1336 for no other reason than to see the view, considered by many to be the birthdate of mountaineering as a sport. And I actually got to drive one of the vans, since Dr. Williams brought his family and ended up driving his car. Good day for it, lots of nice twisty bits (even if I was in a big boxy van full of passengers instead of my sports wagon.)



Some sort of observatory-type-thingy; Mont Ventoux


I'm on top of Mont Ventoux!


A plethora of twisty roads atop Mont Ventoux


A plethora of twisty roads atop Mont Ventoux


Mountain art; Mont Ventoux


Looking down the main road to the top of Mont Ventoux

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Marseille

Yesterday (Friday) we took a school day trip to Marseille, the "Napoli of France" (not a promising title, given what I've heard about Napoli; Reid, the school director, pointed out that Marseille is the highest crime city in Europe.) I wasn't particularly keen on going myself, partly because I had been to part of Marseille on my trip to Corsica for the Rallye de France and wasn't very impressed with what I saw, and also because, yet again, I had started feeling better for a couple days then a little sick again (the whole yo-yo sickness thing is starting to really annoy me so I'm planning going to the doctor on Monday.) It turned out to be not too bad, since we went down to the old port which was a little nicer and more interesting than what I saw before, but others also commented that they wouldn't be planning a return visit to Marseille themselves either. Our first excursion was a ferry ride out to the Chateau d'If, an island prison (like Alcatraz) where many famous and infamous French prisoners were kept over the years. Its more prominent claim to fame, however, is being the site of Alexander Dumas' classic novel The Count of Monte Cristo, about an unjustly imprisoned man who eventually escapes from the island prison. It was a pretty interesting experience, though I was ready to go back to Lacoste by the end of it; unfortunately, we still had several hours to go. After this we split up and went out to eat. I fell in with our teacher Larry Lauria, Richmond, and Darius, and our meal ended up being an adventure in itself when Richmond found a fried cockroach in his first course. As Darius pointed out, "Fish don't have legs...Fish don't have legs!!" After a couple exchanges with the server we ended up with a resolution of the other three not getting their main courses or dessert but not being charged for what they had eaten (I had already ordered and eaten a small dish because I had previously eaten the sack lunch provided for the school) and just decided to leave at that point without pushing the issue. We looked around a little in the shopping district, then sat at a café and sketched until time to leave.

I just found out today that there was rioting in Marseille the day before we were there, a spillover from the rioting going on in Paris over the past week. Hmmm...


A tall ship in the old port of Marseille


Fish market; Marseille


Fisherman; Marseille


Rocky shoreline of Isle d'If; Marseille


Chateau d'If; Marseille


View from Chateau d'If; Marseille


Photography students Dana and Diana survey the view from the top of the Chateau d'If; Marseille


Window view of Chateau d'If; Marseille


A gaggle of SCAD students in the courtyard of the Chateau d'If; Marseille


Photography teacher Steve Aishman and Sarah in a stairway of the Chateau d'If; Marseille


Windowside carvings, Chateau d'If; Marseille


Robin on the ferry from Isle d'If; Marseille


Ferris wheel in front of the Cathédrale de la Major; Marseille


Sailboats in the old port; Marseille

Several local trips...

This week we stayed in a little more, mostly a combination of planning for the vernissage as well as just a little plain ol' end-of-quarter weariness (I should point out that by halfway through the quarter, we had already done nearly twice as much local travelling as most previous students have done all quarter.) The animation students went to Bonnieux one day, and the Treasures of Provence class stayed in Lacoste on Tuesday and went out on Thursday to the Fontaine de Vaucluse and L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. We were hoping, because it rained on Monday night, to see the source become a gushing torrent, but all the rain did was raise the water level a few feet and put a little more water into the river Sorgue. Enjoy some photos...


Silhouette of Finn MacEoin in studio two; Lacoste


Window; Bonnieux


Missy and Richmond hang a flyer in Bonnieux for the SCAD-Lacoste student art exposition


A door and motorcycle in Bonnieux


Animation students review selections for the end-of-quarter vernissage/exposition


Fontaine de Vaucluse (note that the water level is higher this time)


The Treasures of Provence class poses in front of the Fontaine de Vaucluse


Dr. Williams stands on a sluice gate and explains a water wheel; L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue


Dr. Williams shows off a millstone once used on a nearby water wheel; L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue