Thursday, June 2, 2011

Visit in Avignon

We made a brief visit to Avignon, in the old city (inside the old walls), still on Saturday the 21 (though I might have some of the places switched on the 21 and 22, as we tinkered with the schedule, to save driving time). A bit of the countryside we criss-crossed:

We walked a little ways inside the walls, to this plaza, in front of the Hotel de Ville (not a place to stay—it means City Hall). Note the protest sign for 2 French reporters, held hostage somewhere in Afghanistan, I think.
The plaza itself is open, relaxed, shaded by the ubiquitous sycamore trees. The umbrellas are an outdoor cafĂ©, where Patti and Pat had a pleasant time-out from the rest of us rushing around. There was an elaborate, 2-story [merry-go-round], people shopping, and a cluster of about 10 young women in odd costumes—a prison outfit, pink bunny ears, a beggar’s cup…--who we finally decided were part of a bridal party, which we learned only take place on Saturdays.
We also shopped a bit, and verified the region’s odd preoccupation with cicadas. I guess something lucky in Provence, or a wild mascot. The stores are full of cicada trinkets—key chains, bookmarks, towels, even silver cicada napkin rings. And more than a few porcelain or soft cicadas that will sound off when squeezed or passed by:
We did find the other large square, walled off by serious buildings, stone carvings, street musicians, throngs of tourists following their tourguide’s umbrella or funny hat, and dominating all, the Pope’s Palace.
But that’s tomorrow’s visit.


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