La Camargue, France (pink flamingoes)

Today we ventured out.  
Yesterday we stayed at the villa, made a lovely Thanksgiving meal and spent the day relaxing and making plans. It was good, some laundry and lots of food and wine.
I have been reading an amazing book 100 Places Every Woman should see in France. And around 28-29-30 are in the general vicinity of the villa. In particular I liked the description of the Camargue region. It is some marsh lands south of Arles. A very big stretch of land where there are plentiful black Bulls, white horses and pink flamingoes.  
We mapped out the route to Ste Maries de la Mer and began our drive around 11 am, or perhaps even after that. No early start today.. Ha ha. 
Using gps in the car – which I am just learning to program – and paper map of Southern France I bought before I came, from Chapters, as well as the iPad photos I snapped of directions to and from this area to Roujan … We four began to find our way.  
It was so exciting to see the flocks of hundreds of pink flamingoes in the marshy areas. Also we saw herons and white egrets. Some flying overhead, some fishing and standing around the bull rushes. One white egret was catching a ride on the back of a large black bull. And one we saw on the back of a white horses also native to this area.
We drove through Grande Motte and to the parc ornithologique …. Spectacular flocks of many kinds and colors of birds.  
My iPad was plugged in to keep a charge and it all of a sudden synced to the car and began playing Italian songs, in English, that I had downloaded several months ago for the trip to italy with the women’s travel club. We were surprised. I am delighted. Dean Martin sings “that’s amore” and we all join in. A magic moment. O sole mio also comes on for a lovely moment as well. Andre Bocelli shares his voice as well. All in all, fabulous experience!
We arrive in Ste Maries de la Mer and stopped quickly at the fist cafe we see. Restaurant Brasserie, outside seating with a view of people walking by and an antique flea market across the road. We have some difficulty ordering and reading the menu. All they had for food was written en Francais. We made effort and ended up with some authentic food. I had a fantastic salad of tomato, lettuce and goat cheese in balsamic and French Prevence spices. Healthy and huge it filled my plate. The rest had meat, pommes frites and small salad and shared a large bottle of red wine that Steve had seen in our previous travels. They enjoyed the wine, I had Evian water:). I am the driver.
This town is famous for the black Madonna, and has a church to that name. Gypsy folk from all over the world come together here in May of each year and apparently third weekend in October. Today there are some tourists wandering, some cute shops open… Mostly it is closed. 
After lunch we walked through the town, to the beach, bought postcards and gelato …. And then onward driving to Arles. Before we leave I purchased some pink sea salt to take home to enjoy.
We are now in Arles and having some challenges with finding free parking. Steve and Jim have gone to see the amphitheatre and my mom and I are in the car ensuring no tickets or towing takes place …lol
I purchased, finally, some stamps so I can post some cards to the grandboys.  
We set the gps and found our way home. Arrived just after dark. Time for wine.  
Bon soir, 
Pamela

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