Two very old structures!
Teaser Alert! Just back from vacation and after two sleepless nights fighting jet lag, the following article may be even more disjointed than my usual ravings. If you’re of my generation (okay, let’s just say “old”), you’ll remember that your first writing assignment in grade school English after returning from summer break was to write an essay entitled “What I Did On My Summer Vacation”. Well, today, after spending a week in Corsica and a week in the Provence region, I have been tasked with this week’s PRIMA Vini VINE introduction; the subject being, “What Frank Did On His Spring Vacation”. I’m not sure whether I should consider that an honor as a sign of trust or punishment for being gone for 16 days but here goes anyway.Prior to departure, I had every intention of sharing my travel experience via social media, posting pictures and comments of my wife Ellen and I as we strolled around Paris, lounged on the beaches of Corsica and ate our way through Provence and the southern Rhone Valley. Well, that didn’t happen!In the end and despite my resolve, I am simply not the sharing type, partly because I’m totally inept with a smart phone (In my case, more of a dumb phone) and I grew up in the letter-writing generation.
Truth be told, I was terrible at writing letters as well and too cheap to pay for long-distance phone calls. In some ways, the social media revolution is the perfect answer for a person like me, with instantaneous access to everyone everywhere. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that modern-day communication via text, email and other platforms is sort of like inviting guests over for dinner and boring them with slides (Yes, I said slides.)or home movies of your familyvacation; fun for you but torture for your captive audience. What I can tell you is that judging by two very full international flights, crowded Metro trains and busy restaurants, foreign travel is alive and well, particularly with northern Europeans arriving ‘en masse’ on enormous floating hotels, docking at the old port city of Ajaccio in Corsica and presumably other points in the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, our plans worked out beautifully, staying in a miniscule Paris hotel, an ancient, though modernized, flat in Ajaccio and a well-situated apartment in the ‘centre ville’ of Arles. We ate and drank well, though nothing over the top, drove the twisting mountains roads of Corsica, visited the magnificent Roman aqueduct outside of Nimes, toured several exquisitely beautiful hilltop villages in the Luberon region and got lost several times wandering around the amphitheatre in Arles. Of course, I shopped for used Jazz records at my favorite record store in Paris, the Paris Jazz Corner, bought my obligatory straw fedora so I wouldn’t look like a tourist (note: It didn’t work) while Ellen did her traditional jewelry shopping (successfully, I might add) and stocked up on fragrant bars of soap. Hey, I have my thing and Ellen has hers.
I am also happy to say that getting away from the work routine is an invigorating and inspiring experience. We live is such a big, beautiful and wonderful world, full of natural beauty, diverse cultures, gorgeous art, thrilling music and fascinating history that travel, whether it’s 50 or 5000 miles, is perhaps the ultimate way to establish new perspectives, restore one’s energy and develop fresh ideas. I came back from my Spring Vacation with all that and more; determined to hold on to those feelings as long as possible.
As I wrap up this article, I realize that I have lots more to share so look for Part Two in next week’s Vini VINE. I’ll flesh out the details of our visit and share my observations on some of the wines we tasted, including a fabulous visit at Domaine Vieux Telegraphe in Chateauneuf du Pape.
Cheers, Frank Rothstein