Leaving the lavenders of Valensole left us wondering what more the French countryside could offer. An answer came quick and more continually followed with surprise after surprise . Our first impression was an emotional visit to an old mental institution which housed the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh leading to the final year of his life. The tranquil setting exhibited the work he did here and even recreated the room he was housed in. Fortunately, this particular institution bucked popular trends at the time by caring for the patients using art in a tranquil setting vs treating them with cruel procedures to kill the supposed evil spirits. This fortuitous timing allowed Van Gogh to create over 150 works in that year, (including some of his most famous) before his release and ultimate suicide with the belief that he was a failure.. We also visited nearby Arlen, where Van Gogh infamously cut off his ear and where the photo above was taken. If you look close, you may also recognize this cafe as the exact same one which inspired the painting below.
For five days we stayed in a 800 year old home in St. Remy. Thick stone walls cooled the home on the hottest days. And we spent every day driving around the picturesque countryside, where charming cities and villages popped out of nowhere snider the mountain valleys and sometimes mountain tops. My favorite was Fontaine de Baucluse,, a charming village at the base of towering mountains. Here the most refreshing waters pour from the mountains and caves to form a river so brilliant and clear that the green foliage underneath makes the river appear more like a lush green meadow then an actual river.
Author - Andrew Bajda
Since publication of my book in December of 2016, so many amazing things have happened on both a personal and professional level. As the journey continues to evolve, I'll update my travel adventures on this blog, and invite you to join me along the way.