9-26-08 – Avignon by Jodi
I slept a solid 11 hours – I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that! We actually had CNN news in English on our TV so we were able to catch up on home news last night. Still no internet to upload this, hopefully soon. We may stop at another McD’s tomorrow to use theirs. We walk downstairs to the nice buffet breakfast, fill up and head to our first stop of Pont du Gard.
Pont du Gard is a huge, 3 story section of Roman aqueduct which serviced Nimes. It is the 2nd tallest Roman ruin other than the coliseum in Rome. It was built between AD38 – AD 62.
We bypass the little museum and head to the small town of Uzes, 10 minutes away, recommended as a good lunch stop from the Montreal couple in the laundromat. It was a cute, little medieval town and took about a ½ hour to walk. We found a small family run café, Terry ordered a salmon tarte omelette type dish and salad just OK, I had lasagna and salad which was totally forgettable. This was our first bad meal, oh well such is life.
This was the beginning of the rest of our bad day – our first. We drive into the walled city of Avignon, with tiny narrow streets congested with traffic. Our hotel gave us directions to park in a parking garage 2 blocks away. Well we found it, what an experience driving in that tiny narrow garage space with little space to drive, almost hitting every car and wall. We finally find a spot with about 12” on each side to get out of the car. Terry had to let me out before he parked and then crawled out the back hatch.
We unload all of our luggage in one swoop and start walking the town to our hotel. Instantly, we both have a weird feeling about Avignon. We have been in enough European cities to know when a place feels safe, this not so much. We drop our bags in the room, our hotel is decent as is the room and feels very secure. But as we venture out to walk the town, there are LOTS of street people, graffiti, beggers, homeless, and groups of young men who are casing the tourists for pickpocketing, they make it very obvious.
Terry puts the camera away and we hold our bags in front of us. We walk a few streets down the main drag and turn around to leave, not feeling comfortable. The streets are dirty; trash everywhere – such a shame to let a historic city get so bad. Went back to our hotel neighborhood to visit the church, to see the Palace of the Popes from the outside and the river view. We each got an ice cream, went to the store, bought cheese, crackers, bananas and milk for a dinner snack. Then back to the room at 6PM to eat, feeling safe and to rest. Avignon was one place we were really looking forward to, but what a disappointment.