As I finished talking about in my last post.  Istres in surrounded by 2 huge lakes as well as the Sea.

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(Here is a panorama of L’Etang de l’Olivier or Olive Lake — it is obviously not called that here in France, but it is translated as such.  This is right near the downtown Centre of Istres).

The next stop on our list of places to explore this afternoon was the harbor, La Porte de la Ville d’Istres.  And when we pulled in I was just awestruck.  This is less than a 10 minute drive from my apartment and the view was just magnificent.  The photos do not do it justice.

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Far out in the distance across this other giant lake, L’Etange de Berre, you can see the Marseille airport.  Where we stopped there was lots of cafes built into the hillside above the water.  We went to a place called L’Annexe, and in typical French fashion, sat outside and enjoyed the weather and company.  I had my first glass of French la vin du terre, which is the house wine.  Gilberto thought it funny that I ordered white wine.  JP explained that the French do not normally drink white wine except at night or with fish, I explained that the white was a more refreshing choice for me, on such a hot afternoon.

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Pictured above is the harbor and panoramic view, and below, the cafe we had drinks at this afternoon.

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After our stop in the harbor we stopped at a beach just north from where we were.  We are going to walk there tomorrow, if the weather is nicer than it was today.  This beach is also on L’etange de Berre, but it is a small area roped off for swimming, a divey-seafood-café and amazing views.  I can’t wait to spend tomorrow there.  Alyssa and I, both were exhausted by the time we walked back up the hill from the beach, but Gilberto had more planned.

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(Above are views from La Plage Romantiquette,)

We went up the road a little ways to another small town, known for it’s wild bulls.  Yes, ole! Apparently they have a bull riding stadium in town, which we may be able to attend sometime before the summer is over.

There was also a small vineyard, that we obviously had to stop at to get a taste of the local wine.  A Brazilian woman served us their speciality vin rose and local goat cheese to accompany it.  We are hoping to go back there for a costume party they are holding in November.

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(Near the entrance of the wine cave, as they call it)

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We had plans to go to a local men’s basketball game tonight, but things fell through.  It is 11 PM and I am exhausted.  Earlier tonight I was sitting right inside my porch admiring the gorgeous French sky, feeling über grateful to be able to see the world, and be where I am.  It’s definitely not a Hermosa Beach sky, but I am going to make it home for the next 9 months or so.  A demain!

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