Early Monday we loaded up into two vehicles and drove to Arles with our pastel boxes and drawing boards. We were going to paint where Van Gogh painted. With limited time several of us stopped at the closest of the few remaining spots still surviving intact, the old Hospital of Arles. While Van Gogh was hospitalized there, he painted its courtyard garden (that's his painting pictured here, not mine), framed on all four sides by bright yellow arches.
I finished quickly (or got disgusted with my painting) and left to search out the Cafe Noir, the yellow cafe which Van Gogh painted on a starry night, while Michelle, Jane, Mimi and Ellen continued painting the courtyard. Being directionally handicapped, as I discovered many of my artist friends are, and with map in hand, I wandered hopelessly through the crooked streets and instead happened happily upon the Van Gogh Foundation, which housed several of his pieces I was thrilled to see. Time running out, I hurried to a cafe, scarfed down jambon et melon, and hurried back to meet the others at a predesignated place, stopping to ask directions several times, my usual method of getting somewhere.
We piled back into the cars and drove to Les Baux-de-Provence, a medieval village hewn into a stone mountain which towers over the province. It was a hot and cloudless day as we climbed steep twisting cobblestone streets seeking souvenirs, ice cream and shade. Jane, Michelle and I paid 8 euros for a tour of the chateau, and wandered back and forth through cemeteries and ruins wondering where we missed the turn to the the grand house, only to learn from a passing American tourist that it didn't exist anymore; only the ruins we had been stumbling over the past hour remained.
Car trouble on the way home: a loud whump whump whump noise firm the left front tire, so soft-spoken and seemingly (but deceptively) delicate Susie, one of three formidable ladies from Tasmania, solved it by yanking a large piece of dangling rubber from the car and heroically hoisted her trophy overhead. We drove the rest of the way home without the whump whump whump sound.
We had our final dinner together; Ellen departs for Dallas tomorrow afternoon. The next day, most other students depart as well. It'll be sad.