04-07-18

We had a rather frustrating morning in Uzes before we left. We needed to do some washing so I grabbed the load and walked into town in search of the laundrette that we’d spotted the day before. I managed to grab the last, available machine and sat down to wait and watch the hive of activity of locals buzzing in and out and chatting. I was surprised at just how many locals still used the laundrette. This excitable puppy caused absolute havoc by escaping his lead, jumping on all the customers and running rings around his owner.

Gary sorted the van out and then picked me up. Since buying the bikes we’ve been on the lookout for a hardware store that could sort us out with a new number plate to attach to the bike rack. The current set up obscures the original number plate which is illegal. The first number plate holder that we bought was £50 and came with indicator lights but alas this didn’t fit. When we tried to return it we found that the shop had shut for an hour and a half for lunch. We waited in the stifling heat and were then told that the shop didn’t do refunds. Gary persuaded them eventually using much gesticulation and google translate and after much back and forth they relented and gave us our money back. We had about three trips back to the van to collect the right registration documents before they would print us a new number plate and we had to secure it to the back of the bike rack with a couple of Bungee ropes.

We eventually got on the road at around 3pm and reached the city of Avignon an hour or so later. We arrived at the Aire that we had picked out but thought it was a little out of town and deserted with no security so we drove on to the next campsite and booked in for two nights. We had a quick wander in the old town to pick up a map and get a feel for the place before heading back for dinner. First impressions were that it was a really majestic city with incredible buildings at every turn and a lovely quirky edge.

The next day we got up and ventured into town again to take in the sites. Avignon’s old city is surrounded by a medieval wall and packed with boutique lined streets and narrow walkways. The city boasts some incredibly grand architecture, including the Palais des Papes, the largest ever gothic palace which housed pope Clement v from 1309 to 1377.

We walked past the Pont St-Benezet bridge that was built in 1185 and half washed away in the 1600’s. It’s such an odd sight to see a bridge span out across the river and stop abruptly in the middle of the water. We walked up to the Rocher des Doms gardens that offered beautiful views out across the Rhone.

It was so incredibly warm with very little breeze that we took plenty of breaks in the beautiful squares dotted around the city. Avignon has a vibrant cafe culture with independent restaurants filled with locals eating and catching up outside in the sunshine. We found a couple of bars to watch the nerve wracking England World Cup match that went to penalties. The atmosphere was awesome and England’s win was the cherry on top of a great city day.

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