Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Axe Marks the Spot

Day 112
In hindsight I really should have spent 3 nights in Nice and 4 nights in Marseilles. Three of the five day trips I have planned have me going right through there.

During my high speed train ride to Axe-en-Provence (pronounced X) I caught up with my journal and listened to my ipod. Once I got to the TGV station I was a bit dismayed to find out that I wasn't in Axe. I was about 10 kilometers from there and had to take a bus.

When I had finally gotten to the city I was greeted by a huge fountain and the tourist office. After consulting my options over a cup of tea I headed to Cezannes Studio. It was a small cottage and a garden on the outskirts of town. The English tour wasn't until 5 pm, after the last train, so I simply wandered the gardens.

While I was wandering I found a beautiful square with a market. I tried to buy something that looked like an apple but felt like a plum, but the guy at the stall told me that it was a gift. I thanked him and found a fountain to wash it off in. I don't know what it was, but it was yummy.

Aix is a really cute town and I had a good time just wandering. I did, however, purposely seek out the St. Sauveur Cathedral. My guidebook told me that during the revolution the heads of the statues had been chopped off and had not been replaced. I looked everywhere, inside and out, but the only statue without a head on its shoulders was a saint that 's head was in his hands instead. Bummer.

Paul Cezanne spent quite a bit of time here and some of his works ended up in the Granet Museum. His paintings were all upstairs and there was quite a bit to see before getting there. I particularly like the small sculpture collection and the one of Pandora emptying out the box. The bad things looked like ribbons floating over her body. There were also several painted that were inspired by Cezanne, some of them were good, but many of them just looked like ripoffs to me.

I had expected the Cezanne collection to be larger, but it was still quite good. There were a few still life's and portraits. My favorite was the Girl with a Mirror. The most interesting object they had was one of Cezannes paint pallets.

Inspired by the art in the museum and the music in the streets I headed to Deux Grcon's, a favorite hangout of Cezannes. I don't blame him either, the food was pretty good.

After wandering a bit more it was growing quite hot and I was tired. I decided to head back to the train station and see if I could get an earlier train. Luckily I could, and if everything went well I would be back two hours earlier than expected.

When I got to Marseilles I was upset to find out that my train was an hour and a half delayed. To kill the time I bought a book and went to have a drink at the bar. Suddenly a massive commotion broke out. One of the women at the bar was yelling at the bartender (also female) who yelled back. The very loud woman turned her beer upside down letting it spill everywhere before putting it down hard on the bar. After a few more screams she left. I thought it was over. Then she came back and yelled some more. The bartender had a glass of water in her hand and threw in on the womans face. This did nothing but enrage her more. She picked up the glass had set down and hurled it at the bartender. Luckily she missed and it shattered on the coffee machine. Everyone at the bar grabbed their glasses so that she wouldn't have any more ammunition. Finally security showed up and lead her away. The whole thing was just crazy. I don't even know what it was actually about because I don't speak French.

When my train finally showed up it sat at the station for about 30 minutes. By the time I actually got back to Nice I was 45 minutes later than I would have been if I had stayed with my original train. I guess you win some and you lose some.

After a brief Internet session I headed back to my gross hostel a very very tired person.

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