Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reinforcements Arrive

Carolyn and David (Chris' parents) arrived today from the states. Chris met them at the airport while I finished getting things ready for them. They had a decent flight, although they were unable to sleep on the plane. We thought they would crash as soon as they arrived, but they actually made it until later in the afternoon before laying down for a nap. Chris even took a nap (which is a rare thing), but I stayed awake and knitted. Eventually, I got everyone up in time to see the sun set behind Notre Dame de la guarde.

Chris cooked a roast chicken for dinner and molten lava cakes for dessert. We spent the rest of the evening chatting and then zonking early.

The next morning, we met Nell at the Santon market. Santon are a traditional holiday figurine made here in Provence. Made out of clay and ranging from just longer than your finger tip to doll size, these figurines are used to decorate family creches (nativity scenes). There are baby Jesus', Mary's and Joseph's, but also figurines of people harvesting, baking, dancing, breastfeeding, and even knitting! Here in Marseille, there are booth after booth filled with Santon and background pieces. I found a really nice doll sized one of an old woman knitting with a cat in her lap (picture to come soon). Carolyn found a couple she liked as well.

At first, when Chris & I heard about Santon, we thought they would be quite cheesy. However, they are actually very interesting and fun when you start looking at them. Some of the creators take a lot of pride in their work, others are more mass produced.

After shopping around the market, we headed down towards the port for lunch. Nell picked out a cute cafe called "Cafe Vin" that had a very good mid-day meal. When looking for lunch here, it's best to order from the formule or lunch specials. Each restaurant, cafe, or bistro has their lunch menus posted outside, so you can have a look before entering the eating establishment. We had a very good meal of froi gras quiche, seasoned tomatoes and mushrooms, jambon (ham), salad, baguette, and of course, rouge (red) wine.

After grabbing some macaroons from a local bakery, we walked down around the Port. It was a cold day, but clear, blue sky. We stopped into a few shops, one being La Mason de Pastis. Pastis is a locally made aperitif made from star anise. It really smelled of anise (like licorice) in there. We didn't purchase anything, but Chris asked the shop keeper to explain how it was made and the difference between it and Absinthe (which could also be purchased there, unlike in the US where it is illegal).

The 5 of us walked back to the holiday market, and Carolyn found a few things to purchase. We also went into the mall (only to use the pay would think that if you pay to use a toilet, that at least it would be clean) and then to Monoprix to pick up some items for dinner.


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