Sunday, January 13, 2008

To Provence, finally!

To get to Avignon, Provence in Southern France, Gino and I had to take 4 train connections from Florence in Northern Italy. Total travel time was about 12 hours including wait times in between. Goodbye, Florence! I hope to visit you again someday!! I shall return, hopefully with more cash and time, preferably in that order.

Our first train ride brought us to the city of Genoa, Italy, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus who discovered the Americas. Because we had at least 1.5 hours till the next train ride, we decided to walk around the city, which was not as easy as we thought. The terrain was hilly and my legs and feet were sore. I had to go slow to catch my breath.

"Mom, I'm carrying much more than you," Gino said as he went past me.

"Well, I'm more than twice your age," I replied.

Still, we got far enough to get a view of the port and the sea on one side, and residential buildings on the other side.

People walked to their homes on paths like this.
I wondered how old folks, like the ones in this photo, managed.

From Genoa, we took a train to Nice, France. We traveled along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. We saw some very pretty sights when we were not passing through tunnels--lots of them. Monaco was lovely! Unfortunately, it was difficult to take pictures from a speeding train.

On the way to Nice

We were so looking forward to getting off at Nice and sightseeing again. But the station was located in a seedy part of the city, not at all the touristy section you see in travel mags and brochures. Disappointed, we walked back to the train station and waited for our ride to Marseille.

It was already dark when we reached Marseille, the second largest city in France. We were hoping to get a glimpse of this beautiful city. Gino had been here before so he knew where to go. But we did not have much time to go out the station. Besides, I really had little energy left. We had been travelling the whole day. Unlike me, Gino seemed to have lots of energy left.

Finally, we left for Avignon. I think we arrived there around 9 pm. Avignon is a walled city. From the train station, we walked through a city gate. Just as Gino said, the sidewalks were very narrow. Streets made of cobblestones. My roller bag made a lot of noise on the streets.

We walked several blocks to Gino's apartment. He decided to show me the Palais de Papes at night so we took a longer way. It was very impressive. More on this in the next blog.

At last, we reached Gino's apartment. I felt very tired and sticky and sleepy. It was good to be "home". Before hitting the bed, I used the washroom and discovered there was no water. One flush was all we had! Gino's water had been cut off by the water company while he was away. Oh no!

I was too tired to worry about it.

(Next, Ahhhvignon!!!)

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