It's all relative

Trip Start Jan 13, 2011
Trip End Jul 05, 2011

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Flag of France  , Provence,
Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jennifer and I left the Pyrenees in the southwest of France to travel eastwards to the Avignon area, where we were going to stay for the next week or so. We were also, coincidently, having our last train journey in Europe. The three-month Eurail train pass that we started in Greece was about to expire. We hadn't realized how sad we would be to say goodbye to our life on the rails and the different kind of freedom that train travel brings.

However, we had much to look forward to in Flaux, close to Avignon. We were staying with my (Judy's) grandmother's cousin’s son Nigel and his wife Liz. So, to make that picture clearer (??!!) for you, Jennifer’s great-great-great-grandmother is also Nigel’s great-great-grandmother. It was a family reunion in several special ways, as it was the first time Jennifer had met Nigel and Liz, but also, my mother had flown in from her home in Ottawa to meet us there.

We were thoroughly spoiled during this holiday in a holiday, and lots of memory-sharing took place.

We stood in awe of the Pont du Gard in Avignon, the bridged section of the 30 mile long Roman aquaduct built around 29 A.D. that is still standing in full glory today in spite of catastrophic floods and world wars. It spans the River Rhone in order to bring water to the city of Nimes. (Trivia question of the day: What fabric, essential to every teenager today, originally came from this city?... Denim, as in "de Nimes", or, "from Nimes")

We also sang and danced a childhood ditty, appropriately, on the bridge in Avignon….. Sur le pont, d’Avignon.

We toured through Uzes and in several of the surrounding villages we saw preparations taking place for a traditional bull-running festival.  Every year, in the old city centre, barricades are placed on both sides of the narrow cobble-stoned ring road to keep the throngs of spectators safe. Four year-old bulls that have been bred for this activity are guided through the spectator-lined barricades by a horse and rider team on either side of them in a timed event. Complicating the whole procedure are several young adult men who do their best to divert the bulls, and/or grab onto their massive horns to tackle them to the ground. All in good fun……

Jennifer and I tried to convince Nigel and Liz to come visit us, attempting to "sell" Canada as an attractive tourist destination but somehow only managed to talk about cod tongues, permafrost and road kill.  Really, it's a beautiful country!  REALLY!!!

We hugged them goodbye on Saturday morning and zoomed off in our rental car.  A CAR!  This is going to take some getting used to... Jennifer hasn't driven since September and I last drove in Australia on the "wrong" side of the road, and the speed limit here is 130km/h!  Oh dear.  Watch out, France!    
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Karen VW on

June 14, 2011
Wow! Your life is going to seem like a snail's pace when you get back to Canada. Enjoy every minute! :) Hugs

Avril on

June 16, 2011
Hi there! Sounds as if you are having a wonderful time in the South of France - we too danced "sur le pont..." We almost got run over by a bull when he went out of control! Looking forward to all your photos... take care! xoxoxo

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