Saturday, January 19, 2008
Pont d'Avignon, Rocher des Doms and Palais des Papes
(partly hidden) from across the Rhone River
Avignon (Avenio) would be my home for the five days I was in Provence. It had been Gino's home at the time for the previous three months. Finally, I was sleeping on my own mattress and eating at home. Home sweet home!
We arrived Monday night. Tuesday, Gino was going back to the University of Avignon. He was up early working on his laptop while I was still curled in bed, recovering from fatigue.
The street where Gino lived. The first door
on the right was the door to his apartment.
"Mom, I know where we can take a shower. We can go to a campground outside the city's wall. But we have to leave soon because we are gonna walk," Gino said.
"How long?" I asked.
"15 minutes. You have to shower really quickly because my class is at 9:30," he said.
15-minute walk to the shower! Oh well, you gotta do what you gotta do and I gotta shower!! So we packed our bags and toiletries, walked on very narrow sidewalks, out a city gate and over a bridge crossing the Rhone River.
On the bridge, I had my first taste of the mistral--a cold, strong wind that comes in squalls. It was blowing away my hat and blowing through my long slitted denim skirt, sending chills up my spine. I was careful not to walk too closely to the edge of the bridge for fear of being blown over.
Glancing back to where we came from, I had a great view of the walled city, shimmering in the early morning sun. Golden yellow! What a beautiful sight. The Palace of the Popes (Palais des Papes) on top of the hill looked magnificent. Oh I should have brought the camera!
We took a very quick shower in the campground, where the hostel Gino stayed at before he found an apartment, was located. That was how he knew about this place. Clean and fresh, we hurriedly walked back home.
It was good to see Avignon at daytime. I was very excited to tour the city with Gino or alone when he was at school.
"Mom, ok, let's have some house rules," Gino told me the day before. "Be home when I come home from school. And don't stay out after dark. Men here are very aggressive." We had switched roles. Gino had become the parent, afraid I would lose my way or get into some kind of trouble. In Florence, he freaked out one night when I wandered in a city square and we were momentarily separated.
Gino's apartment was just outside the University of Avignon, maybe a one-minute walk away. I went to his school when I needed to go to the washroom. I did not want to use the one at home until his water was reconnected.
Alone in Gino's attic, I rested some more and savoured the moment. I took out the Bible and read through Psalm 121. I would be meditating daily on Psalm 121 for the rest of my vacation for good reason.
When Gino came back from school, we did some grocery shopping--lettuce, cheese, eggs, bottled water, some cold cuts, baguette... We were going to start home cooking.
Later, we walked around the city. Gino was already very familiar with Avignon, he made a very good tour guide. We went back to the imposing Palais des Papes and the more commercial section of the city. I was a wide-eyed tourist, ooh-ing and aahh-ing.
I loved this stretch of road leading to the Palace.
For pedestrians only.
The entrance to the Palace. You can hardly see me in this picture.
Click to enlarge.
More pictures to follow...