May 22


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It is 6pm and is 35ºC…I am pretty much dieing! Heat and I definitely are not great friends…and to think that this time last week I was complaining because it was only +3ºC in Dijon! I know, I know…I have a very narrow temperature range – sorry!! I personally think it has to do with the fact that I just don’t do change.
I went to Avignon today…not much has changed in six years!! I totally knew more or less where I was going because of that visit with the Schigand’s. Although, I did walk past the bridge entrance three times before I found it!!
Okay….so Michel dropped me off at the train station this morning (I’ll attempt to give you a family lesson later on here…) at 8:30 ish because my train was at quarter to, and I hadn’t bought my ticket yet. As I was walking through the doors to buy my ticket, one of the ticket ladies was on her way out the door to meet a greyhound-type bus that had just arrived. Apparently, there was no train arriving, and the bus was here to replace it. She said I didn’t have time to buy a ticket and said I should just get on the bus. I actually asked if I had her permission to get on without paying…guilty conscience flash…and she laughed and just told me to get on the bus!! So I got the scenic route to Avignon for free (It saved me 3E…not that big of a deal…I would have rather paid so I didn’t have a panic attack for the hour it took the bus to get there!!).
I made my way to the tourist info place that was located practically next to the train station and got a great map of the city…there were four different coloured walking trails mapped out and corresponding coloured arrows on the sidewalks around the city (although not quite as clearly as the paths in Dijon). I ended up doing (more or less) three of the four trails today…so I figure that was pretty good!! And everything was open today…so that added a different perspective to what I had seen before!
I walked through the marked streets until I got to “Le Palais des Papes” where nine popes…ruled? What do popes actually do?? Anyway…nine popes lived here during years where Italy was not safe. Two of the popes built the palace in less than 20 years, and it is the biggest gothic palace in the world. I just cheated and looked at my pamphlet – It was the “seat of the Christian world in the 14th century” and is recognized as a World Heritage Site. There is my trivia for the day! The entire visit was on audioguide and it was pretty much the most audioguide(ed) visit I’ve ever done. There was speech after speech after explanation after explanation for the 25 rooms that are open to the public. I followed along faithfully numbers 1-20 and decided to walk through the remainder as well as the hundreds of “If you would like more information on….push…to continue” options! As it was the tour took up a good part of 2 hours. It was pretty cool though – I am glad I went in and saw it.
Afterwards, I walked through the gardens. That’s the place I remember the most from before – and I still liked them today too…although there were many more people at this time of the day!
I walked down the opposite side so I could go across the bridge and walked and walked around and around – no, I wasn’t lost…I just couldn’t seem to get onto the other side of the walled city in order to get up to the bridge! It was kind of funny by the end. I’d bought a dual pass for the palace and the bridge so I got my audioguide for the bridge as well…I wasn’t nearly as faithful to listening and learning as I had been in the palace! I think I may have listened to 4 of the 9 stops. All I wanted to do was dance on the bridge and sing the song!! I was a happy girl…but I couldn’t dance as much as I wanted to because there were only grown-ups on the bridge and I had to pretend I was all grown-up too. But I did a nice little dance in my head and I sure sang the song a lot!
Let’s see…what trivia can I give you?? The bridge is actually called “Le Pont Saint-Bénezet” because there was a guy looking after his sheep in the 14th Century who heard God telling him that he needed to build a bridge in Avignon. So, the guy went to the church service that was being held outside in Avignon somewhere and in the middle of whatever the pope was saying the guy stood up and said that he has been told to build this bridge. The pope didn’t know what to say, but the equivalent of the mayor was there and he laughed (as did all the other townspeople) and challenged the guy to move this huge boulder over to where he envisioned the bridge to be built if he was for real. And he did – the Devine powers helped him to move the rock – supposedly. And so thereafter he was declared the Saint of construction (or of buildings or something) and is/was buried in a tomb that is on the bridge. (And that, my friends is fresh from my head – as I have no cheat sheet for info on the bridge!!) And I have more…but its not all that exciting!!
So I walked around some more until I decided I should find some food for lunch. I had this amazing sandwich – three cheese – that was all heated up and grilled…pretty good! I ate it sitting in the fancy square “La place de l’Horloge” and watched the other people go and eat at all the fancy-dancy restaurants…I really liked my sandwich!!
By the time the temperature got up to about 30º I decided it was time to go back to Isle sur la Sorgue. I love trains…It took me 30 minutes on the TGV and cost 3 E. How totally cool, is that?! And then I hung out on the internet at the school for a bit before I made my way back up to the house in the heat.
It was a pretty good day…I hope tomorrow is nice ‘cause I do want to go biking a bit, but I wouldn’t complain at all if it was a good 10º colder!!!

Later

-Allison

Family lesson…I forgot!
So there is a mom (don’t know her name) who lives upstairs with her daughter, Victoire and Victoire’s boyfriend/fiancé named Céderique. Downstairs, there is a man named Michel and his son (name??) and his fiancé (name??). That is all simple except for the fact that Victoire calls Michel Dad…but I know the mom isn’t married (she got divorced a long time ago)…and apparently she isn’t really with the guy that lives downstairs…because, well, he lives downstairs. And the mom has bought another house in the middle of town that her, Victoire and Céderique are moving to in the summer. So…I don’t really know about the family connections at all here. I do know, however, that 18 is really young to be engaged.

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