Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sur le Pont d’Avignon

We’ve been in Avignon for about 10 days and yes, we have been ‘sur le pont’. Of course I had to do a little dance and sing the silly song.

Moi, sur le Pont
Avignon is a lovely city, with its intact city walls and imposing Papal Palace. Its one of those cities that you look at and sigh wistfully, imaging what it must have once been. The old city is still lovely and quite unspoilt. Those Popes really knew how to live and could clearly see that this area was a great escape from Rome at the time.

Le Pont d'Avignon
We managed a good cycle around the river island we are camped on – very near the infamous ‘pont’. We did this in the nick of time as the next day the Rhone burst its banks and no more cycle tracks. Yes its been bloody raining again. God we are sick of rain.

Being in Provence, we dreamt of fields of lavender, and hot sun. Ha! The lavender is not flowering yet, due to crummy weather, and we see just enough sun to tease us. We finally managed a rain free day to see Chateauneuf de Pape and some Rhone villages. Of course we had to buy some wine, but only 4 bottles, 3 of which are white – the reds being too young. It was a real thrill to wander around these famous towns and simply soak up the atmosphere.
The Chateau of Chateauneuf-de-Pape

Typical vineyard of Chateauneuf-de-Pape

Rhone Village of Gigondas
We’ve had to change our plans quite a bit recently and things are going to be a bit mad in the next few months. We had planned to catch the train to Paris to meet my sister Pip in late May. Of course once we’d booked the non-refundable tickets, we found out that our Landcruiser was arriving in the UK a month earlier than expected. Then Bimobil said they only need a week (rather than the original 6) to fit the body if they prebuilt it, bringing things forward even more. So now we need to make a dash to Munich to sort out the final nitty-gritty. Next, Lawrence’s brother in Bonn found he needed some hernia surgery and asked us to be around for moral support – of course we are happy to oblige.

So now the itinerary is this…
May 22 Paris by train from Avignon
May 26 return to Avignon (that’s today)
May 27 drive to Munich – cheapest means of transport is a hire car!
May 29 head back to Avignon and Hilda via Austria and Switzerland.
May 30 back in Avignon
June 1 head off in Hilda to Bonn via Northern Rhone and arrive in Bonn by June 5. 
Are you exhausted?

Oh well, best laid plans and all that!

So, we’ve just spent 4 days in beautiful, wet, Paris catching up with my sister and her hubbie who have just ridden their bicycles from the Black Sea along the Danube cycle way to France – really!! They are now heading to the Loire Valley to ride from Mulhouse to Nantes with 2 of their mad friends.

Back in Avignon this afternoon, I’ve managed to sell our sun lounges (sob) and our large outdoor table. Also gave away our old kettle and thermos. This is part of our downsizing strategy. We also have a buyer for the Mog – finally, and a buyer for Hilda, and maybe a buyer for the scooter and trailer. It’s all happening.

Our next logistical challenge is to work out where and how we can reclaim the VAT on the Bimobil. Looks like our choices are Turkey, Morocco or Ukraine. None of these really appeal and it has to be done with 3 months of purchase. We plan on getting to Turkey around March next year, so don’t feel like a dash there and back in August. It may have to be Morocco again. Oh well.

Any suggestions???

2000 year old Roman Theatre in Orange, north of Avignon, still in use.

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