France
UFR Civilisations et Humanités

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    • Day 11

      Arles

      June 20 in France ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      Das Wetter war heute nicht ganz auf unserer Seite, weshalb wir unser wunderschönes (niiiicht🤪) Hotelzimmer noch etwas länger genossen. Kurz nach 10.30 Uhr brachen wir dann aber auf Richtung Arles - die E-Bikers von unserem Hotel nahmen übrigens den Zug. 😉

      Heute wollten wir nicht zu weit radeln (nur 75km - easy peasy), den die Wetter-Vorhersage von Petrüüss versprach nicht nur Sonnenschein. Der Start verlief beinahme im Trockenen, doch im Nationalpark angekommen spannten die Flamingos ihre pinken Flügel und Mäx zog sich rasch seinen Plastikoverall über.

      Irgendwo im Nirgendwo gabs dann am späteren Mittag einen Stopp in einer Boulangerie, wo es für gewisse Fans endlich auch das erste Eclair gab (siehe Video).

      Es ging weiter Richtung Arles. Nach schönen Kilometern entlang von Feldern und Wiesen verschlug es uns dann aber auf die Hauptstrasse - sogar ein Wildschwein fand es so uncool, dass es ganz alle viere von sich streckte (töter als tot lag es stocksteif da🙉🥲🙈).

      Arles hingegen ist mega cool und ein weiterer Geheimtipp!😎 Ein bitzeli Rom, gepaart mit der Stierkampf-Arena von Madrid und vorallem
      jeder Menge Kultur, tollen Bars, Shops (nur bis 19h offen🙄) und Restis - the place to stay!
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    • Day 7

      Beautiful day in Arles

      April 16 in France ⋅ 🌬 19 °C

      We are having such a busy but relaxed day. It is cool surprisingly, as it was hot when we arrived yesterday, and we bundled up jackets and thought we wouldn’t be using them till we returned! But today is cool and windy and temperature staying below 20°, so I love it. Occasionally the wind blows a cloud and 2 drops of water fall (you couldn’t call it rain) and then it blows away…mostly clear blue sky and sunny…a wonderful light!

      We set off leisurely after breakfast at a little cafe, and went to the tourist office to get a ticket to see the sights…good value - one voucher for 4 monuments and one museum! Anyway, we started with the cloisters of the enormous St Trophime church…cloisters always lovely and these were good ones. Next we went on to the Roman Theatre. This is actually an amphitheatre and very impressive, with lots of columns and fallen rubble as well…but it is not to be confused with l’Amphitheatre (les arènes) which is the enormous coliseum-like structure! We have yet to have an official visit to this one.

      After the Theatre, Amr thought we should work out the walking route and find where we walk out on Thursday…always a good idea, especially at the beginning of a walk. The map showed some camino signs along a route, and GR signs, so we started looking and did work out the route, but there is never great signage in towns, we did see a few, and we were happy to work out the start. It begins with crossing the Rhône, which at this stage is huge.

      Then, walking back and along the river a bit, we came across another site we wanted to visit, the baths of Constantin…more Roman building…this city is like walking back in time, the slightly crumbling buildings, narrow streets - the only vehicles that venture in this part seem to be delivery vans, and they take up the whole width. The nice thing is that while it obviously attracts many tourists, it is a working town with real people, not just geared for tourism.

      We also popped into the Musée Réattu which was interesting… Réattu did neoclassical paintings and it has other varied more modern works…just a quiet interlude. Then we had lunch…saw a Spanish place that had tapas and was just what we felt like, small plates so we can be hungry for dinner (where we have already decided on!)…that was great..chick peas, octopus, chiperones, until Amr had to fight paying the bill…luckily Amr is on the ball, and when he said a large amount Amr queried and asked for itemised bill and he then said he thought we were a different table…a bit sus…and then had to have cash as the machine wasn’t working!!! Reminded us of Sicily! In the end, I think he charged too little in the confusion…serves him right!

      …Well, now back from dinner. After the last write up we met and went into the Amphitheatre …it is big and has metal work that at first we thought was scaffolding, but realised now it is seating, as the arena is used for bull fighting, and also concerts in the summer. Walking around in it is rather similar to the Coliseum, and there are fabulous views from the towers (that were added in the Middle Ages).

      Then Amr decided it would be good to visit Avignon tomorrow seeing we have conquered Arles, and it is a 17 minute train ride. So with that in mind he made a pilgrimage to the laundromat he had already sussed out and we are clean! (It had been planned for tomorrow, the last day). Now we are back from a really nice dinner. We had chosen 2 places for these 2 nights, and the first one was full so we booked for tomorrow, and went to the other - lovely food - Amr had the daily plat which was a chicken sausage thing with delicious sauce, and I had a cod risotto with amazing sauce and lots of vegetables through it, and a great local wine. They have wine in 500 ml bottles which is so perfect for us!

      There is another tragedy that I must report, and Peter and Simon if you read this will sympathise…Amr can’t find his hat…it is a beautiful Borsalino and we know it was in the train, so not left in Paris, but since then a blank…maybe he took it off in the church we visited yesterday, or maybe on the train….so upsetting, and he needs it for walking too..he says he’ll just use sunscreen, but I know he is mourning… Good night.
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    • Day 8

      Now a day in Avignon

      April 17 in France ⋅ 🌬 17 °C

      Another cold and beautiful day and we spent it in Avignon. The weather forecast said rain in the morning in Avignon (even though cloudless here) so we put our little umbrellas in Amr’s bag, but of course it never rained! Got the train and arrived a little after 10. I had feared the station was a bit away from the hub of the town, but was right beside it, and all was easy. Headed straight to tourist information and got a map and advice, and tickets to the 2 main things we wanted to see…the Pope’s Palace and the Bridge - the famous pont d’Avignon from the song!

      Avignon is a lovely city, like a larger version of Arles, and busier and with more sightseers and buses coming to the enormous Pope’s Palace. They had moved there from Rome between the 1200s and 1500s I think (I must now read up the finer details that I missed in translation).

      Anyway, after a wander through the streets following a walk recommended on the map we went to the Palace, set high and is SO tall it is hard to photograph. Inside we went through enormous rooms, but all bare now, just impressive size, though some still had painting on the walls (but not allowed to photograph those). You get given a tablet to dangle, rather awkwardly, round your neck to scan in the rooms and it comes up with a description…much less simple than reading a sign, but being up to date I guess…so that was fun, and these buildings - there, and the Roman ruins - are giving us very good practice in climbing many stairs, and even our hotel is up 2 floors with steep stone steps, so hopefully we’ll be in good form for walking tomorrow.

      We then sat in the main square and had coffee/chocolate, and walked on to the famous bridge which was nearby. I hadn’t realised it was not a functioning bridge, but a relic to visit, but the part still standing is very handsome and restored. Building it was an ongoing process over the centuries and there were many conflicts, even wars, about who owned it and who should collect the taxes for crossing it! Quite a history. We have a photo of us both on the bridge looking towards the Pope’s palace taken by a nice Swiss woman (we have become very wary of anyone touching our phones - actually just Amr’s now, the only one)…

      After the bridge we really needed to eat so we then looked for a boulangerie, as we had already, before the palace, been to the wonderful market and bought cheese - for today, and for walking lunches. So we got a crunchy fresh baguette and ate it with some Conte in the park in the sun. Can’t believe I actually want to find a seat in the sun!! And we had fleece and jacket on all day. Quite windy as you can see from my hair standing on end in photos. We stayed there, reading kindles and content, till time for the train back.

      ….Just back from a superb dinner at a restaurant recommended by the hotel, that we booked as couldn’t get in yesterday…and tonight was also totally full by the time we left. But first on arrival back from Avignon we sorted out a bit, then had a drink at a nearby bar where the lady there remembered I wanted Campari with orange…nice to be remembered!

      Then we went to the restaurant and had such a delicious dinner…shared a salad to start, we both had a fish main - mine was salmon with soy, piquillos, cannelloni type beans, cashews..amazing combination and so good, Amr’s was another fish with equally delicious sauce - with tapenade…and we shared an apple dessert, baked, caramel, ice cream…a half litre of local red wine…all perfect.

      And another piece of good news - already the travel insurance has accepted our claim for stolen passport and phone and is paying cost…wow..excellent efficiency, and credit to Amr for getting all the required documents!
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    • Day 15

      Les Carrieres de Lumieres

      September 4, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

      We always expected that today was going to be a hard day at the office, and that is exactly how it turned out to be. Ever since we arrived in Provence about 12 days ago, we have been subjected to an unbroken run of hot weather. Considering we had arrived directly from the middle of a cold Melbourne winter, the weather has certainly been our biggest challenge.

      To make matters even worse, the forecast keeps changing every day. After our hot stay in Caumont Sur Durance, we were led to believe that the hot weather would cease as soon as we begun the bike and boat section. It didn't. In fact the sequence keeps being extended every time we read a new forecast. It is now appearing that we will not get any real relief until we travel up to Nevers next Monday.

      Today's ride was not only going to be the longest day so far, but it also had the toughest climb of the entire week. Our cycling guide had tried to encourage us by telling us that he once had a 92 year old complete the climb, however he failed to mention what sort of weather conditions the cycling Methuselah had completed his epic ride in. He also did not say exactly how long it took them,

      Of course, before we reached the climb we stopped at the town of St Remy de Provence. To our delight, we arrived right in the middle of an enormous market. The women in particular squealed with delight at the prospect of being able to buy even more stuff that they didn't need. I bought a leather belt for 5 Euro. The vendor truthfully told me that it "was not made in France". "Ce n'est pas possible" he explained.

      The market spread out over a huge area, and we never did manage to fully explore it. I managed to lose Maggie in the first 3 minutes, but I was happy to find an ice cream seller and a fruit vendor selling punnets of wonderful raspberries and blackberries. That meant that lunch was taken care of.

      Although it was only shortly after noon, the sun was already beating down relentlessly and the temperature was soaring back into the 30s. I should also be honest in pointing out that I am not a climber. In fact I am not precisely sure of exactly what I am, but climbing does not come naturally for me. It may be due to the fact that I am a rolly polly sort of guy who has to work about 60% harder that the tiny fly weight riders like Russell, Vicki and Kay.

      As we began the much anticipated climb I could feel the sun beating on my face. I slid the gear selector down to the lowest ratio and hoped I could find some lower ones. The sweat started flowing and my breath started huffing. I tried not to look at the road ahead and to just keep the pedals turning.

      I thought I was doing all right until a tiny shadow flew past on my left. At first I thought that it might have been just a speck on my glasses or a little dragonfly, but that would not have explained where the singing was coming from. It turned out to be Russell - apparently a tiny puff of wind had collected him and blown him straight to the top of the mountain,

      At the half way point the group assembled to decide whether or not to take the option of a lift to the summit. I am sure that several were sorely tempted, but the Ghostriders are built of exceptional stuff and the entire group decided to keep pedalling. The expectant van driver had to leave without a single fare. We later were told by the guide that this was the first time that had happened.

      About a kilometre further on I became aware that my nose had started bleeding. This is something that I have suffered intermittently from for over 40 years, but the timing could not have been worse. I had no choice but to pull over and wait for the bleeding to stop. The rest of the group left me haemorrhaging and continued their slow grind to the top.

      I won't labour over the rest of the details of the climb, suffice to say that I did finally make the top. The crest of the mountain is marked by the medieval village of Les Beaux de Provence. This has now become a huge tourist mecca, complete with a succession of tour buses and thousands of tourists. Not exactly my type of place.

      The main reason we had chosen to ride to this spot was not to see the thousands of tourists cramming in the village, but to experience Les Carrieres de Lumieres. This is an amazing sound and light display that has been set up in an unused Bauxite mine. I was just glad that it was cool inside. I took a seat and pressed my back against the cold rock. It turned out to be a bad idea. The sudden change of temperature caused my back to spasm and left me in agony. It took all my resolve to hobble to the cafetaria to get a coffee (actually two). The young assistant took pity on me and filled my drink bottle with ice and water. There are some advantages to looking about 92 years of age after all.

      We still had a long and hot ride of around 30 km to get to our boat at Arles. The final few km through the busy centre of the city were particularly stressful. By the time we arrived, we were all exhausted and spent the first twenty minutes rehydrating and trying to recover from the heat. Fortunately the evening meal was easily the best of the cruise so far. That was a popular end to a very tiring day.
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    • Day 19

      12. Etappe Avignon- Arles

      May 14 in France ⋅ 🌬 18 °C

      Wir haben sehr schlecht geschlafen.
      Es war schwülwarm und im Zimmer war es fast unerträglich. Fenster auf ist leider am Bahnhof auch keine gute Option.
      So sind war dann um 7:00 beim Frühstück. Machen danach aber noch ein Nickerchen. Es hat angefangen zu regnen.
      So etwa 9:30 verlassen wir Avignon. Unterwegs kommen wir an einer öffentlichen Wasserquelle vorbei.
      Dann fängt auch der Regen wieder stärker an. Wir ziehen tatsächlich unsere Regenjacken an. Aber es geht mit dem Fahren.
      In Tarascon können wir auch mal wieder eine größere Pause machen. Auch das ist wieder so ein mittelalterliches Dorf mit Stadtmauer und engen Gassen. Am Rhôneufer ist noch die gut erhaltene Burg Tarascon zu bewundern. Leider nur von Außen.
      Dann ging es fast schnurgerade neben der Bahnlinie auf einem prima Radweg nach Arles. Einziger Nachteil bei dem Regen waren auch viele Schnecken unterwegs. So ganz kleine….wir dachten erst dass es kleine Steine sind. 🤔
      In Arles angekommen finden wir zur Abwechslung eine kleine Bistroküche, wo wir mal einen Croque monsieur bekommen. Als Nachtisch essen wir noch eine Kugel Lavendel Eis.
      Das Hotel hat Birgit sehr gut ausgesucht. Nicht weit von der Altstadt und recht ruhig.
      Das Hotel hat sogar einen großen Pool und ein Whirlpool.
      In diesen gehen wir erstmal Schwimmen.
      Am Abend gehen wir in Richtung Altstadt kurz vorher bleiben wir in einem tollen Pub hängen. Wegen des kräftigen Regens bleiben wir einfach da und können auch eine Kleinigkeit (Finger Food) essen. Wir sitzen wie Waldorf und Statler an unserem Bartisch und beobachten das Treiben.
      Von dort geht es dann wieder ins Hotel!
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    • Day 18

      Hotel du Musee, Arles

      September 29, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      First day in Arles and things are looking good. We may be back in a hotel room, but it is a very nice one in a very promising hotel. The building is old but they have done an excellent job of creating spacious, airy rooms in it without destroying its character. And what bliss, a shower with enough space that I can wash below my knees! We checked in and had a little ramble around town and a quick stop at the information centre.
      Many of the restaurants were closed on Sunday so we just set off to see what we could find and ended up stopping at a place with an actual live piano player. Now truth be told my meal wasn't that good, but the music was. The pianist was pretty good and he could sing - kind of a Tom Waits/Nick Cave growl style that I liked. And to top it off some a very passable jazz songstress happened to be passing by and joined in for some old standards. A table outside in a courtyard - I was in heaven.
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    • Day 5

      Arles

      March 26 in France ⋅ 🌬 16 °C

      Eigentlich wollte ich schon lange frühstücken, dann zu Mittag essen und dann kam Arles immer näher. Da konnte ich nicht widerstehen, ich musste reinfahren. Und schon auf dem kurzen Weg hierher zum Buspark sah ich viele Ecken von Arles, die ich noch nicht kenne. Aber heute nicht. Ein anderes Mal. Man muss sich ja noch etwas für später aufbewahren.Read more

    • Day 20

      Van Gough

      October 1, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      Van Gough had his artistic breakout and perhaps his most productive and significant period here in and around Arles. Unfortunately for Arles, none of his paintings were left behind, but they take what credit they can. We did a walk connecting the sites of some of his most famous paintings including Starry Night.Read more

    • Day 23

      Roman Theatre of Arles

      October 4, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      This Roman Theatre was built before the nearby arena, somewhere around the year 0. Like the arena it is still being used, in this case for theatre and other showds. It was a great place to poke about, full of little surprises. And what a great day for the photos.Read more

    • Day 10

      Arles

      September 25, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      Morbider Charme stand im Reiseführer über Arles - und das trifft es. Die Stadt ist schon schön und interessant, aber ein bisschen runtergekommen. Und an manchen Stellen hat man den Eindruck, die Versntwortlichen geben sich keine Mühe mehr, die Touris kommen ja sowieso. Etwa im Amphitheater: Kostenloser Audioguide wie in Nîmes? Fehlsnzeige. Zwei dürftige Erklärtafeln, das war‘s für 9 Euro Eintritt (okay, mit dem römischen Theater nebenan).Read more

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