Trip Start May 23, 2008
54Trip End Ongoing
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Leaving Nice we drove along the waterfront for a while, it was very beachy with the palm-lined boulevards and bike riders and rollerbladers zipping along the wide paths overlooking the water. The scenery then got quite brown and hilly, before we reached Avignon, a small town located in the south of France, about 3.5 hours away from Nice. Avignon is not famous to the rest of the world, but in France it is quite touristy as it is a medievil town surrounded entirely by a high stone wall, and houses the Palace of the Popes, where the popes were shipped to and locked up from the Vatican back when rumours started of prostitution and naughty things within its circles. The town itself is situated next to the Rhone river, in some spectacular french countryside. There were only 4 of us that got off the bus to stay here, and we shared a 4 bed dorm in the campsite across the river, so it was only a short stroll to the heart of the town. Our room though, it stunk so badly when we walked in, and when we opened the windows it was 10 times worse. It smelt like sulfur, like the pools in Rotorua, so we think it was the septic system. It was pretty rank!!!
Every year from July to August Avignon hosts the biggest festival in France, aptly named the Avignon Festival, which started out as theatrical performances back in the 1940īs, but now also involves music, dance and movies. The streets are packed with performers trying to earn some money showing off their talents. The first night we were there we saw some pretty amazing break dancers, a fire twirler, a jamacan style band of french guys singing in english about love and peace (they were actually really cool, but obviously stoned off their faces), a classical piano player, and a guy doing bird whistling, just to name a few. We ended up staying quite late in the town, as it was so cruisy and relaxing and entertaining. And then we had to head back to the stinky room and try to sleep :s
Wednesday me and Mark, one of the new zealanders, spent a few hours doing a couple of the recommended walks around the town, checking out the medievil style buildings and shops, winding through the maze of cobblestone streets, through a fresh food market, stopped in a cafe for crepes - strawberry and nutella for me, then up and around the palace of the popes, onto one of the high walls surrounding the city (which had some great views), and to a stunning park sitting on top of the hill overlooking Avignon and the river, which had a big pond full of ducks and goldfish.And some incredibly cute little ducklings!!!!!
Later in the avo we saw a couple of other street performers, a guy with puppets who was amazingly good, and a magician that wasnt so good, but made Mark go up and assist him for one of his tricks which was a little ammusing (so glad it wasnt me!), and then headed back and hung out by the river for a while, before walking up to watch a free show that we had been given a flyer for by these 2 seemingly crazy french guys who were wearing big nappies. They spoke good english and from what they described it seemed to be a comedy show which usually cost 10€ but was free on this particular night. And on a backpacker budget, free = excellent value.
The show was incredibly wierd, i think that it had something to do with the french having a warped sense of humour, we found it a little tacky but still entertaining, but it seemed like the french loved it. Its a hard story to explain, but short version is that these 2 guys in nappies are connected through the stomach with a plastic tube, and if one pulls it out then the other cant breathe. they dont speak, just do tricks like juggling, knife throwing, playing music etc. wierd but FREE!!!
We ended up complaing about the smell in our room and were upgraded to a room in the hotel area, which had a double bed and a set of bunks. It was a lot nicer!!! And didnt smell yay!
By the end of the 2 days i was ready to leave, but Avignon was definately very beautiful.