We’re in Toulon, France today and we were up and at it by 6:30 am to be ready for our tour to the French Village of Le Castellet. The ticket says “extensive walking over uneven cobblestones, not for guests with limited mobility.” I think we’ll be ok. After all, yesterday MA and I racked up over 12,000 steps each on her Fitbit watch.
We ordered breakfast from room service again and it arrived right on time. We gathered our stuff and were off to the Symphony Dining room to get checked in and meet our group to board the bus by 8:30 am. Our French guide today is Sylvia and the bus driver is Sebastian. Sylvia spoke at length about the French history of the region but after a while I realized I had dozed off.
After about an hour we arrived in the perched village of Le Castellet. It is very typical of other perched villages in Provence with a wall surrounding the entire compound. There are usually only one or two entrances into the village and these were protected by massive doors. The doors were gone and the gates only allow one vehicle to pass through at a time. Like other perched villages the Catholic Church is in the middle of town. You will usually find an exposed church bell in a wrought iron frame. We wandered around town with me taking some photos of the village and MA doing a little shopping.
Why did the French (Italians & Spanish) build their villages like fortifications? Muslims of the 11th, 12th and 13th Centuries raided Europe looting towns and taking slaves back to northern Africa and Turkey with them. Seems Muslims are once again a European problem. This time it’s invasion and domination.
We hooked back up with our group at 11:15 and left for a working Provence winery-olive oil farm named Domanie Souviou in the Bandol region. Most of the grapes had been harvested, however, the olive trees were full of olives. What we learned from our guide is that the olive trees in the oldest part of the farm are 800-1000 years old. The picture of the olive tree you see is called “The King” because it produced 800 kilos of olives last year. It takes 30 kilos of olives for just one bottle of olive oil! “The King” was full this year again and may ever break its own record.
The return to the ship was uneventful other than taking longer than I thought it should. On arrival there was only one guy to screen all the returning passengers until one of the guides went inside and complained and the line sped up with more help. We got back on board the Royal Princess, ready for another evening at sea.