Mediterranean Melodies travel blog

Porte St Roch-opposite our hotel-Avignon

Boulevard Raspail-Avignon

Ramparts de Avignon

Car wash Included-Avignon

Two sides...

...of Pont d'Avignon

Street light maintanance-Avignon

'Ferry Across the Rhone'

No explanations needed

Dual of the banjos???

Pope's escape route-Avignon

..and his pizza oven?

inner sanctum...

..of the Popes

and some doors too

no photos inside but I was far enough back

inside the Popes Palace-Avignon

Cloister of the Palace-Avignon

Hall of 'Grand Tinel'-Avignon

Should just about fit-Avignon

sculpture-Popes Palace-Avignon

Tombe of Philip D'Alencon-Avignon

Modern Art...

..in the Popes Palace-Avignon

Oh, at least there is one Old Master left

Feeding the Carp...

..and Ducks--Lovely

Skyline...

...of Avignon..

..at Night.


Tuesday 13th September 2011 Weather:-30Degrees and looking for shade

First thing this morning we went for a walk across to the other side of the Rhone River, The Rhone is one of the major waterways of Europe and starts in Switzerland then winds its way through France for altogether 813Km and then drains itself into the Mediterranean Sea. It has had many floods over the centuries and in its cause has taken over half of the Saint Be’nezet Bridge with it. Today we wanted to take some photos of the skyline of Avignon as a backdrop to this fabulous Pont d’Avignong. In our travels we saw the streets being cleaned with the high pressured hoses--as we have seen in many other places in France, and we were amused to see some of the parked cars also getting a good squirt of water---taking them to the local car wash is not needed.

On the opposite side of the Rhone River, just across from the Popes Palace there is a great caravan/camping ground, a perfect position for all those inclined to travel that way and to make things even better the local council has added the services of a little free ferry for all to go across the river saving everybody a long walk to cross the other bridge. While walking to the palace we were amused to see and hear two buskers having a dual, one accordion player against a little organ grinder (no monkey) both vying for the same spot in the square I expect, the noise was diabolical as they were both playing different tunes and trying to drown each other out. It did not take long before the local restaurant owners came out to settle the noise and sent each to a different corner in order to keep their customers from making a hasty retreat. We have also seen the sad sight of beggars all over the place again, people of all ages including grandmothers with their grand children, they all look well kept and fed though so we are not sure what the problem is—we suspect misplaced persons or illegal immigrants? Also signs warning against pick-pockets are a regular thing on the corners of some streets.

Named the City of the Popes or Altera Roma, Avignon retains the indelible mark of the Popes’ stay in the city, which was for a while the capital of the medieval western world. The Palace of the Popes stands as the mighty symbol of the church’s influence throughout the western Christian world in the 14th century. Because of the incredible corruption in Rome some of the clergy set up an alternative Papacy here in Avignon. Construction was started in 1335 and completed in less than twenty years under the leadership of two builder popes, Benedict XII and his successor Clement VI. The Popes’ Palace is the biggest Gothic palace in all of Europe but since the Middle Ages, the richness and brilliance of the pontifical court has faded, but the palace remains, a superb fortress raising its imposing walls to the sky and testifying to the strength of the Supreme Pontiffs, whose power was as much temporal as spiritual. I must admit that I was a little disappointed because I thought that we would see even just a little of what we saw in the Vatican but over the years all the paintings, tapestries and furniture has been sold of just to keep the castle going.

By this time we decided a late lunch was on the cards so we sidled of to the ‘Rocher des Doms’ (the park behind the palace) and shared some cool breezes and also a lovely little pizza and side salad next to the duck pond while watching some of our neighbours feed the ducks and the giant koi carp.

PS Only two more days until we are in Italy (Turin-yes we have changed the itinerary again) and we will HAVE to have a gellato each day. On this side of the border the gellatoes have suspiciously bright (read luminous) colours so we have decided to wait for the real thing.



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