Limousin to Avignon France
Today is a huge drive.
Call me crazy as the song goes, but I detest driving on boring motorways.
Apart from the toll cost on the French ones, they are – well BORING! I love the little towns. The freedom to stop.
The drive obviously takes a little longer, but there are no great roads in the area anyway, so we have been told, so we didn’t mind.
We are surprised how cold it is. I have a jacket on and Explorason and Explorafriend both fall asleep with jackets over them.
Then I see sunflower fields, so out we pop and take a few happy snaps.
It seems to be a really varied drive.
There is a lot of fog and low cloud, and through the mountains we have 2 jours of twisting roads, with light misty rain, and poor visibility. It feels like it is about to snow. How bizarre!
We stop and find stones with traces of copper. Explorason loves rock collecting, so we go for a little walk and I stretch my driver legs. The pine forest is lovely to walk through.
Next we come across vineyards, and almost a Tuscan feel to the little mountain towns.
Here there are small stone cottages next to the vineyards that I daresay are full of worker tools, or used for breaks for the workers.
I hop out and walk along the rows of vines along the roadside.
The mountains are in the distance and quite blue.
The grapes are not yet ready, but some are sun kissed.
Ardéche is the next town and is a UNESCO site.
If I wasn’t driving I would have done some wine tasting. It has cute little boutique places to stop. Eat, drink and be merry, even though it is a quiet town.
The winding streets are more for walking than driving, so out we pop for a wander.
There is a lovely old church, and we head towards it, and there is suddenly a ring of the bell that makes us jump. These streets are otherwise silent.
Inside I love the domed ceiling. It is very cool, and very peaceful. I feel like I am invading, so I gently close the door and leave.
As I sit on the wall outside the church, I feel I could stop and stay here for a few days in the serenity of the hills, but we must travel on as we have a flight to catch tomorrow!
So we head back to the car and it is not a good day to discover the air-conditioning is not functioning. We have gone from very cold to very hot in a matter of a few hours.
The next area feels like we are driving through the Arizona desert.
And suddenly we are in lavender fields.
I so wanted to see the French Lavender fields, so I am excited.
Today, we really have seen so much.
We end up at a budget hotel outside Avignon. It is a pretty boxy room, but we are heading out anyway, so it is just to sleep.
We head into Avignon.
There is free parking by the large Ferris wheel, so we find a park and walk over to the road edge.
There is a tunnel to go under.
It is really windy and I have a headache.
We emerge to enter the walled city of Avignon.
We have a bit of fun as we go exploring.
There is beautiful tapestry inside.
We talk to a cleaner, in a mix between hand gestures, a bit of English, French and Spanish all rolled into one.
He explains about how we can fill in a prayer request form and leave it which is in the form of a pretty post card.
We learn about how during the French Revolution that most of the church organs are destroyed.
We see fire damage and the beauty they have tried so hard to save.
Gorgeous carved doors are at the entrance, but I only see the workmanship as I exit.
After dinner we hear a street pianist sing French love songs. I could have sat there all night. It was just a moment I will always remember. Music really does fill the soul.
When we arrived, we had no idea that the Avignon Festival was on. Daily performances (A lot like Adelaide Fringe Festival). Hundreds of performers take to the streets to try to entice people to their shows.
We sit and enjoy a street performer – from Argentina. He was great. Travelling often allows you theatre at a small donation of a price, and is way better than TV.
We head back to the walled city. The wind has died down. My headache is a little less. We check out the detail of the stonework and the erosion of time.
Time to return to our budget hotel. We drive off and realise tomorrow we will be in another continent!
This is the end of our 29th country – for now.