As we enjoyed the beauty of Avignon and Pont Du Gard we rejoiced in the fact we had our passports again! We missed all the beautys of Switzerland.... but we were safe, happy and had our PASSPORTS back in hand! *insert cute exagerated smiley emoji* Let's rewind....
Beautiful Destinations Of France - Avignon and Pont Du Gard
We'd lost our passports in Paris at a cabaret show, meaning we had to stay an extra 3 days in Paris (what a shame...). This meant we missed out on going to Switzerland and had to meet up with the rest of our Topdeck tour group in Avignon.
We caught a 3 hour express train from Paris Gare de Lyon to Avignon Centre. Working the train system out was really easy and we were soon back on track. The train was comfortable with assigned seating but no wifi.
We had one main instruction from our tour guide, Tom, for when we arrived in Avignon: 'If you get to a bridge and find it only goes halfway, you're on the wrong bridge and need to turn around.' What on earth was he talking about? We put it in the 'We'll work it out once we get there' pile.
Our Experience In Avignon, France
We arrived safely to a very hot Avignon, and navigated our way through the city to our campsite on the other side of the river. Walking across the bridge, we looked over and had a simultaneous 'Ohhhh that's what he meant!' moment. Avignon is home to a medieval bridge, the Pont Saint-Bénézet, which has been slowly worn away after years of wars & floods. You can still walk on this, nearly 700 year old, structure today.
After meeting up with Topdeck again, it was time to set up our tents and experience camping life for the first time! We were pretty successful and hoped it was a sign of good times ahead.
The rest of our daylight hours were spent on a short, but detailed and intrigueing city tour with Tom as our guide.
A city absolutely drenched in powerful history, Avignon was a great sight to see! We explored the grounds of the Palais des Papas, making our way right up to the top of the hill that over looks the Rhone river and surrounding towns. The setting sunlight beaming off the walls of the main Palace at the centre of the city, the old home of the Popes.
At the top of this hill there were lovely little areas around ponds and water features to relax and enjoy an ice-cream in the afternoon shade. The chiming sounds that were the background to our afternoon exploring could finally be matched with the sight of the bell tower, nestled in the very middle of the city.
We got to see our first 2-storey Carousel and finally settled down at one of the many inviting restaurants throughout the courtyards.
For dinner we were given the option of eating out or grabbing a picnic and heading to the riverbanks for dinner.
We went with the fancy option as a bit of a congratulatory meal to ourselves for making it through our hiccup and not killing each other.
We had a fantastic meal of Quiche and chicken, washed down with a beer and spoiling myself to a Pina Colada at the Hotel du Palais des Papes Restaurant - Le Lutin. As we dreamily looked at each other, taking in our incredible surroundings, bellies full, we asked the waitress for the bill. We'd already established that she was very limited in English but she looked at us especially confused. We exentuated our hand gestures and even got out money to make it clearer, and with a complete bamboozled look on her face she walked off mumbling something in French.
We watched as she grabbed a man who looked like the manager and they both came over to us. 'You want to pay the bill?' the man asked, also looking very confused.
'Yes... is that ok?' We were now just as confused as to why this would be such an odd request, were we asking the wrong thing?
'But it is already paid' the man explained.
Curtis and I exchanged questioning looks. Did I get too into my pina colada and not notice Curtis get up and pay? 'No sir, we havn't paid yet'
'The table over there paid for you, the table of 5. They were your friends?'
What?! Who? Huh? There was a back and forth of really? Are you sure? The manager ending with 'Yes, all paid for, thank you for your service' and smiles from all.
We sat at the table for a few seconds not really knowing what to do. The paying table had already gone, and we definitely didn't know them as they had been a family, with children.
Whether they liked how in love we looked, or felt sorry for 2 smelly, sweaty backpackers at such a fancy retaurant, we'll never know. We took advantage of our little moment of goodwill and used the money we saved to splurge on the incredible variety of gelato we had gawked over earlier.
Hopefully my gratitude for such a kind gesture eventually reaches those wonderful people.
The next morning was early, packing up our tent for the first time, off to Pont du Gard.
Our Experience Of Pont Du Gard, France
A wonderful stop on our way to Barcelona, Pont du Gard is a sight to be seen! It's incredibly hard to believe the Romans built something so complex and accurate, so long ago and it's still standing firmly today.
Pont Du Gard was a wonderful little stop from our hours on the bus. We enjoyed a bit of sunshine, a long stroll and a glance at history. There's a small information centre and cafe at the entrance. We took our time and enjoyed this incredible scene! Ticking off a bucket list item and enjoying the french countryside - a perfect half day activity in France!
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