Today we are spending the morning on the river. Slowly sailing further and further south. The sun is shining and the landscape changes more each day. More hills, more trees, olives, vineyards.
There are so many locks. Some so big. 60 feet from top to bottom. People crowd the front and back decks of the ship to watch the slow descent. It is funny that they are so mesmerizing. They are so slow and make travel seem to take forever.
For the lazy morning, we decorated Christmas trees in the lounge. There was one tree for each group on the boat. We are in the yellow group. It was ridiculous. People were going crazy and were being so competitive even though it wasn’t a competition.
We arrived in Viviers around 2 pm, and went into the town as soon as we could disembark. The roadway to the village was lined with stately sycamore trees reaching their knobby arms toward the sun. They really are the oddest trees I have ever seen. I absolutely LOVE them!
It was all so old. Uneven cobblestone roads sloped upward everywhere we went. The town encircled a hillside. All the roads led up to a gothic cathedral at its very peak. We climbed slowly. With my brace it was hard for me to traverse the steep cobblestone streets, but I made it.
The view was amazing. You could see for miles. Clay roofs lay beneath us. Houses dotted the hillsides. Mountains loomed in the distance. Saint Vincent’s Cathedral was built around 1119 AD. The original one was built in 475 AD, but it was knocked down and restored by Saint Venance. The cathedral’s main room had perfect acoustics. You could talk in a whisper and hear it on the other side. Since we were the only ones in the building, Kim and I sang our hearts out.
We walked slowly down the hill back in to the village. This town was famous for its pottery, so we visited a few pottery stores and even found some beautiful scarves at another local shop. I bought coffee mugs from a potter that were the most beautiful shape with dark chocolate and white colored glaze swirled onto them.
We walked back down the sycamore lined lane and sat on the front deck of the with Pete, Rebekah, Karen, and her sister-in-law, enjoying a bottle of French wine and watching the sun set over the river and mountains.
That evening there was a bread, cheese, and wine demonstration. French cheeses are delicious! Yum. It was so educational learning different ways to pair cheese with wine and breads. After dinner a French woman sang in the lounge. The old people danced. We sipped cocoa and relaxed on the couches. What a lovely ending to a lovely day!