February 19th, 2017


Greetings from Sainte-Baume and Cavaillon

After waking up to watch the sun rise over the Mediterranean Sea, eating a huge breakfast surrounded by men in town for the Delko Marseille-Provence bicycle race, and peeking at Sainte-Maxime's botanical gardens, we drove into the hills to the visitor center at the Hotellerie de la Sainte-Baume, from which we walked up a very steep couple of kilometers to the stunning Sainte-Baume grotto where Mary Magdalene reputedly lived and died after fleeing the Holy Land. We had a picnic in the park below the grotto before driving to the Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, which claims Mary's bones. When we walked a bit around the town, we were surprised to find a New Age spiritual store with items devoted not only to the Catholic saints celebrated in the basilica but many other world religious traditions from Judaism to Buddhism, run by people who commiserated about the terrible US election and told us how worried they are about Marine Le Pen and the right-wing lunatics in France. From there, we drove to Cavaillon, which has a Jewish museum housed in the onetime synagogue that dates back centuries. Now we are in Avignon, where we have had excellent Italian-French food!

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