After a red-eye flight out of Dulles airport and a layover at London Heathrow, our York Twinning group of 17 adults and 3 teenagers arrived safely in Marseilles, France on July 12th where we were met by our French hosts who then drove us the last 1 hour leg of the trip to Arles. We were tired but very happy to finally arrive. Everyone is looking forward to making new acquaintances and starting our adventures!
York Twinning Association provides the opportunity for people to travel, learn about other cultures, and make life long friends with people from Arles, France and Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany during international exchanges. On July 12,2023 a group of 21 people from York Twinning Association arrived in Arles, France. Betty & Doug Stein and grandchildren Sean Henning and Cassidy Lumpkin were part of that exchange group. On July 13, 2023 they had the opportunity to visit 91 year old Mimi Giraud. Betty met Mimi 60 years ago when Mimi & husband Pierre visited York with a group from Arles and were ‘adopted’ by Betty’s parents John & Dottie Rauhauser. Mimi was so excited to see them and meet the 4th generation of the Rauhauser family to come to Arles. She even opened a bottle of champagne for a toast and showed them a translation dictionary she has kept as a souvenir from Dottie Rauhauser given to her 60 years ago. What a wonderful and amazing relationship that started with a York Twinning Association exchange!
York Twinning Association travelers are being treated like royalty by our Arlesian hosts. Each day we are visiting sights such as the draw bridge over a canal, and a garden, both made famous by paintings done by Vincent Van Gogh. We have also visited the Museon Arlaten that includes Roman Ruins historical artifacts, and visited the new modern structure called Lume Arles. Built on the grounds of an old train repair station, this modern building is surrounded by beautiful walkways and gardens. You can take an elevator or climb 9 flights of stairs to an overlook of the city. On the way down you can have some extra fun and slide down one of 2 metal, 2-story sliding boards to the lobby.
July 14th was the French national holiday called Bastille Day. It is significant in French history as the start of the French Revolution. Our group visited the town of Uzes where we saw a French military demonstration and parade. After a picnic lunch we visited the famous Roman aqueduct called Pont de Gard. On the way back to Arles we stopped to take a photo of the French Exchange Club sign. York is the first of 9 cities ‘twinned’ with Arles. There were to be fireworks in the evening but they were cancelled due to the recent riots.
A group photo in Arles at Van Gogh Cafe where we were served delicious and unique food, including sea snails, paella, salads, and squid!