Avignon Part 2: Sur Le Pont d’Avignon

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Sur le Pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse, l’on y danse
Sur le Pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse tous en rond

Voila the rest of my trip to Avignon – in reality there is so much more to post but let’s leave some to the imagination or further exploration. The above verse is from a fairly famous 15th century song about the Pont de St. Benezet, built by Saint Benedict the Builder. It’s mostly gone now, but 4 arches remain, as pictured above. It’s right outside the city, which has a wonderful walkway by the river and free boat rides. I also love the stories of saints, it seems to be one of the only ways to become upwardly mobile in the Middle Ages.

On the third day, feeling much better, I ventured out to town, not just the one main street I was used to trudging along, it was mildly shabby in an interesting, charming sort of way and there were all sorts of shops selling lavender everything and olive oil and famous calissons, which I love but did not get (strep throat = no appetite for anything). Avignon was also where I walked into a pharmacy, demanded a doctor and explained my ailments in what I gather was incomprehensible French. However, I have fallen in love with the socialistic health care system – antibiotics and a check up for 32 euros without insurance was unreal.

My last night was also Halloween, and it was really funny to see how the French celebrated – they barely did. But I did see some middle-school aged kids in costume. I just had a glass of wine in the company of this fascinating Spanish engineering teacher from London, after we had climbed over some fences to explore some institute in Avignon.

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Colors of Fog

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Finally back home in Portland, although home is such a loose term right now. I’ve barely been here, but I hope this summer marks the start of a better understanding of the North. It is so different from everywhere else, just like anywhere else is different from everywhere else. It’s fresher here than in Hanover, probably because I’m 15 minutes from the coast. Yesterday it was marmy and a fog settled in after the sun set, so I had my parents stop in the middle of the road so I could take pictures, because sometimes my hands start to itch after not taking photos for a while.

The struggle for WiFi is real. TimeWarner, who was supposed to be our provider, is terrible, so we are proud but Wi-Fi-less, so it’s very relaxing, like a cabin in the woods. But sometimes I want to waste time on the Internet or download movies…so currently in the local cafe that I biked to (which should merit its own mention since I never bike).

Avignon Part 1: La Lumière Provençale

IMG_4964.krIMG_4962.krIMG_4981.krIMG_4983.krAvignonAs an “artiste” (said with no small amount of irony or eye-rolls) I am obsessed with light. And it’s hardly surprising, especially if anyone has read Kinfolk’s feature on light in Volume Fourteen – light is necessary to survival, integral to the human condition. circadian rhythms, vitamin D and so on. But it’s also gorgeous and so versatile – never the same in different parts of the world. Depending on my mood, I like the light in Tuscany best, it’s so smooth and relaxed, in Paris it’s bright and hazy, if that makes sense and in Hanover it is stark and sometimes overpowering, makes for great contrasts.

In Provence, namely Avignon, where I spent 3 peaceful and yet eventful days relaxing and recuperating from strep (except the first night when I met up with some Brits and ended up waltzing into the train station with a bottle of wine and my sheep pajamas…needless to say we stayed friends). I told myself I wouldn’t tire myself out and I had no agenda, so I just climbed all over the city and took pictures of everything – mainly the Palais des Papes and the Rocher des Doms. Came away with some lavender essential oil from one of the shops and I sniff at it now to deal with finals stress.