Europe 2012 travel blog

The 'new' section (only about 600-700 years old)

Mike at the top of Palais de papes

From the top of the Palais de Papes

a long climb to St ANdre abbey and gardens

Olive gardens foreground Avignon background

Today was Avignon. It is only 30 km away from here so did not take too long to reach.

The walls of the old city built in the 1300's are still standing, and add character to the city. Inside the walls is a mixture of very old and new. Again lots of narrow streets and interesting shops. A 'train' takes the place of 'hop on hop off' buses of England. The 3 carriages are much narrower than buses so can get around the narrow streets, but there is no hop on hop off. The tour takes about 40 minutes and gives a bit of the history of the city. It isn't so good as the buses at orienting you to where things were as there were so many zig zags and turns that all sense of direction went.

Yve later tried to find the street selling lavender products after her train tour and had to have a local help to get back there. That would have been me too, but I did not even try!

Mike and I toured the Palace of the Popes. Built in the 14the century and well preserved. Its the largest Gothic palace in the world. Popes lived here for over 70 years.

Have to confess that the bit of information that we found most interesting was a list of food purchased for one of the papal coronation feasts. The feast was so big it had to be held outside the palace walls. The list had thousands of animals from cows to chickens. We cant remember the figures now, and it doesn't seem possible that it was 30000 eggs but I think it was something like that! The number of pigs was in the thousands. I wished I had had pen and paper at the ready!

After another salad lunch, this one Salad Exotica, Mango and pineapple were the exotic ingredients, I headed for the gardens over the river Rhone. The gardens are supposed to be in the top 100 gardens in France. I caught public transport bus, then walked up the steep cobbled roads to the Abbey and garden. It was a dry Mediterranean garden. No water would have been needed once plants got going. It was divided into sections, some formal classical planting, terraced sections and even an olive grove. Interesting but not exciting or mind blowing.

Then it was back by bus to meet the others. Pete by the way was much more energetic. He had done the palace before so he walked over to the garden and walked back again.

The excitement for the day came when we tried to get into the covered car park to our car. The door to the lift and stairs was locked. There was a box saying if you entered your ticket it would unlock the door. So peter swiped, others pulled at the door. Nothing happened. After a few goes and pushing the help button (which did not bring any help) someone else came and inserted their card. WE grabbed the door before it could close and got in. Next problem was getting our of the car park. Drove down to a pay machine. Pete jumped out with the money. We waited and waited and waited. Then we saw someone running in his direction, but couldn't see what was happening. It turned out

1) the ticket had to be put in upside down (white side on top)- which was probably the problem getting in too! and 2) it had to be paid in cash not notes.

Between Pete and the 'helper' who had responded to him pushing the button we finally drove out of the car park and headed home.

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