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Published: September 18th 2011
Sep 15 to 18 Enroute via TGV
Never got a chance to write in Paris – too busy eating and sightseeing. Now we are flying through the French countryside on one of the super fast trains and we will be in Avignon in half an hour. Great views out the window until about 20 minutes ago when it started raining. Black and grey clouds ahead of us.
Our flight from Moscow was slightly delayed and we had a very short turnaround time in Munich to catch the flight to Paris. I only started my minor panic when we were taxiing to the terminal and I realized we only had 10 minutes until boarding time and our plane was not stopping right at the terminal. We were deplaning in a large parking lot with accordion buses to get us to the terminal. As we deplaned the steward told us there was a special van to take the 6 of us to our connection. A very friendly Lufthansa guy took us straight through the VIP line for the security check and then drove us to a private customs and passport check and then drove us to a plane in a different parking lot. As we boarded and found our seats the captain announced that since we are now finished boarding we would be taking off immediately. Amazing – such service! I never got a chance to get into full panic mode. This was the easiest connection ever. And bonus – our bags were there in Paris too. We said good-bye to Marilyn and Ron at the airport (they’re renting a car and driving all over the countryside for a few weeks).
Friday and Saturday were a whirlwind of sightseeing and walking and walking and walking. We got to see Notre Dame, Latin Quarter, Sacre Coeur, Arc de Triomphe, a couple of excellent sales, boutiques, Museum of Decorative Arts, Champs des Elysses, food market at Place Monge, and of course many restaurants and cafes. After all that you’d think hiking around Arles and Avignon would be easy. We got the train early this morning. We’d said our good-byes to Deb and Dan last night. We had dinner together and then went to see their room since they were on the top floor and we were on the second. Well! Our room was small but sufficient with a typical tiny bathroom. We had a window but looked out onto a wall and you couldn’t see the sky even if you craned you neck out the window. They had a bathroom plus another toilet room which was located in their spare bedroom which they were using as a luggage room. Their view was onto the street and they could people watch all the apartments around the intersection and watch the patrons at Le Pre Verre. I guess I didn’t make it plain at check-in who was the travel agent. Oh well they have a few more nights there. So enjoy!
Now I’m in our room in Avignon – bigger, cleaner and with a bathtub! And internet that works in the room. It took a while to get here though. I wore sandals today because we weren’t walking more than 300 meters to our hotel from the train station. Well we must have missed the sentence in the brochure that said to take the shuttle from the outer train station to the city center train station drop off. As we rolled our bags (thank goodness I had a new case with those spinner wheels – I almost rode the thing) the 3 miles to the old city walls it was pouring rain. I was glad I hadn’t paid attention to Ross’ complaint when I took a few minutes to get my jacket out. We were soaked when we got to the outer wall. I saw an entrance but Ross wanted to follow the tourism office sign. I persevered and we went through the gate – the second street was ours and the hotel was only a block away. We would have added another mile if we’d gone with Ross’ plan. I had not put on the pedometer because of course this was not a walking day!!!! After dumping our luggage in the room and being impressed with the tub we went to search for lunch. I suggested the first café we came across that had more than 2 people eating there but Ross wanted to check out a few more… He got brochures from the Tourist office and we searched out 2 different pIaces that were closed on Sundays (why not put that on the brochure!). We walked for about 20 minutes more and picked a Tapas place. Good food and fun place. Handed us an English menu as soon as we said Bonjour. I’d had a Cuba Libra so we sauntered around town (rain stopped) window shopping and visited an art gallery that had many Degas, Picasso, Modigliano and even a Van Gogh. Now it’s dinner time and we are walking 100 steps to the place next door. Tomorrow I will wear the pedometer no matter what.
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