I was seconds away from heart failure when I realized I no longer had my wallet, and then just nanoseconds from complete cardiac arrest when I remembered that it also contained my two passports. It then occurred to me that I must have lost it earlier on the bus from Arles to Aix-en-Provence when I was engrossed in a conversation with a photographer from Stockholm and had been inattentive when putting down my bags. I made the necessary calls and, would you believe, was so fortunate to be in touch that Friday afternoon (before the long holiday weekend in France) with the bus company that had had it turned in. That’s when I realized I have a little angel.
My Italian friends are so lovely. Upon learning of my misfortune, they drove me that evening to Arles to meet the conductor who, by slim chance, had spotted my little blue ‘pochette‘ when returning the bus to the depot and reported it. After the hour-long drive, I excitedly went to retrieve my wallet and returned to my awaiting friends, wallet secure in hand, and whispering words of thanks.
We came across the highly recommended and most charming Jardin des Arts restaurant, across from Le Museon Arlaten. The girls and I had walked by the restaurant numerous times during the week there – Arles is quite small – but rather than be drawn in, we passers-by were merely tempted by its artisan ice creams at the street-front.
But tonight we dined on the outside terrace that opens out to a leafy cloister courtyard adjoining the Espace Van Gogh. Treating myself to an outrageous dessert, un fondant au chocolat, I savoured my last and unexpected evening in Arles. When night fell, we headed back home.