2013 in Bordeaux

2013 in Bordeaux

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday in Avignon

Sitting here with all the French doors and windows open on a beautiful spring day.  The high school kids are laughing and chatting on their way home from school, they sound like American kids, but are speaking French.  So fun to be in another culture.

Easter was quiet around our place, a rainy cool day, I didn't feel very well, we walked a couple of times but really didn't do much.  Jerry had gone to the market in the morning and got pasta and cheese but we ended up not even fixing that.  Just a rest up day.

Monday we were back in action.  Beautiful day.  Walked to the Pope's Palace here in Avignon.  In the 13th century, Rome was in chaos and a French pope decided to move the Vatican to Avignon.  He, and 7 more popes, built this city with  a beautiful palace and all the fancy medieval buildings around here, including the one we are living in now.  Anyway, here are some pictures of the walk and the views from there.
Spring break for a lot of people so there are more people than average here.
Pont (bridge) Saint`Benezet. Famous bridge that the King would not rebuild his side when it was damaged.  Home of the famous French Song.
Fort Saint Andre.  The French King owned this side of the river, the pope the other with Avignon.  This Fort was to keep an eye on the Vatican. We visited there last time.
Even in beautiful France:  Dandilions.

We sat out for a wine, then came back and I slept and read.  Jerry took another walkabout and came back with bread and strawberry tarts.

Tuesday morning we had a plan.  We got up early, 8AM, and got ready to take a day trip to Nimes 27 miles away.  2000 years ago, Nimes was an important stop on the Roman Trading road, Via Domitian.  The Pont du Gard aqueduct was built to provide fresh water to the city from the Eure springs.  Today it is a town of about 150,000 (small by French standards) and really quite an attractive tourism spot. 

 The train station is conveniently located about 6 blocks from the apartment.  We could tell it was going to be warm, we didn't want a lot of stuff to carry all day.  I took a purse and light Tshirt jacket and Jerry had his purple sweater and the irrepressible puffer coat (which I am burning when we get home from this trip because I am so sick of it.) Round trip for the 2 of us was 34 Euros and took about 25 minutes.  
Jerry looks like a French man with his sweater around his neck!

Nimes has much ancient Roman architecture:  A Roman amphitheater and a lovely Roman temple.  So Mr. History and I went to see what the Romans did and how they did it.  

The amphitheater is beautifully conserved.  It was constructed during the first century AD but is still in use for concerts and local bullfights.  Of course, not the size of the Colleseum in Rome, it is much better preserved, and can seat 25,000. (Rome seated 50,000) even now. Of course, since it is still in use, safety concerns dictate that they use modern steps, and some railings, thus spoiling the effect of what it looked like back in the first century.

A short walk down a leafy street was the Maison Carree, a first century temple and the only one of its kind in the world that is preserved in its original state.  Inside they show a film which shows the history of Niems and why Rome was so good to it.

One of the interesting things about Nimes has nothing to do with the Romans.  Many of you are wearing jeans while reading this, and serge de Nimes which is "denim" was created in Nimes (de'nim) in the 17th century.  Exported to Genoa Italy, they were sewn into sturdy pants (Genes).  They were exported to the U.S in the late 19th century.  So now you know. Who says this blog is just about food?

We walked down a pleasant street and had lunch.  Very ordinary crepes (terrible as a matter of fact) then came back on the train.  From apartment to Nimes and back to the apartment took 6 hours.  I love train travel.  No parking!!!

Before he realized how bad the food was.

Came back and rested, Jerry did some calling, I started this blog.  Then at 7:30 we went out for a splendid dinner at Fou de Fafa which is the #1 rated restaurant on Trip Advisor in Avignon out of 533.  We had tried to come to it the last time we were here; no room.  This time we made a reservation.  

Very small place ---9 tables.  They stagger the reservations so there are only 2 tables ordering at the same time because the owner is the only cook.  His wife is the front of the house and is charming, flawless French but from England, so it was fun to visit with her.  They have been in Avignon 13 years.
The food was good!!!  Here come the food photos!!!

Amuse bouche:  Chèvre (goat cheese) mousse with honey.  Wonderful
Entree (appetizer) Salmon Tartar (raw and chopped up) with honey and soy and ginger.  Delightful!
Plat: (Main Course) Rare Duck Breast with Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce. Mashed potatoes with celery and fresh vegetable slaw.  Fabulous.
Dessert:  Vanilla Pannacotta with fresh Strawberries.  Delicious.
A little wine.... Perfect!

Mostly though it was the friendly atmosphere there provided by Antonia the chef's wife and co owner.  No rush, no hurry.  The table was ours for the night if we wanted it.     

Came home and did some Norwex business with a new recruit and then went to bed.

Today we meet a friend we met through Deb and Jon Luhrs' daughter Andrea, when we were here in 2013 and again in 2014. Laurence Brun.  She was Andrea's French tutor when she was here working for a music company, and in 2014 she took us to various lovely places in Provence, but also became a good friend.  We had lunch at her home with she and her husband Robert.  Lovely couple.  Anyway, we meet Laurence tonight on the square for dinner and catching up.  Looking forward to it!!!

Thanks for following and for the good health wishes.  I am feeling much better and ready to finish this trip off with a bang!  Ciao

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