Monday, 29 April 2019

8 Avenue du Pont Juvénal (Montpellier, France)

I woke early this morning in order to meet the train that will take me to Avignon. Met the train just fine and was in Avignon about an hour later. I had wanted to see their market but it was closed today, so I went to the city’s biggest attraction, the Palais des Papes (Places of the Popes).

Yes, for a time, several popes made Avignon their home during the 14th century. This complex of buildings is considered to be one of the most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. With my earphones and tour iPad I made my way through the many grand rooms. I’m not sure if the device that I was given was an iPad, but was of the same size. It knew where you were on the tour and gave the history and purpose of where you were standing. It even had a feature that you pointed to a symbol and you could see what the room might have looked like “back in the day”. Amazing! I went to the top of one of the towers and had a great view of Avignon.

Part of the admission price was that you could walk along the 14th century bridge that is mostly still standing. Again, one of the oldest in Europe. From there I walked around before I decided it was time to travel over to Pont du Gard, which is name of an intact Roman aqueduct. This is one of the sites that I’ve wanted to see for a long time. I knew that I’d better head to the bus station to catch the next bus so I ordered an Uber to take me. Walking would take 20 – 30 minutes.

We were at the bus station in a few minutes and the driver offered to take me to Pont du Gard, but I declined – though I took his business card just in case. As it turned out I was a few minutes late to take the last bus to Pont du Gard. The next bus was at around 4:00 which was almost three hours away. There is no direct train service so I texted the Uber driver and asked him to take me. Of course this was quite a bit more expensive, but I really wanted to see Pont du Gard.

The driver didn’t speak much English but I found out his parents were from Morocco but he was born in France. Pont du Gard was only 25 km away but we managed to talk about various things as he drove.

At last we arrived at the site. I bought a ticket and walked at least 500 meters before I saw the aqueduct. It was amazing. How it remained in such good condition after 2,000 years is almost unbelievable. I took a lot of pictures while I was there. Then after 15 minutes I was done and walked back to the parking lot to meet my driver for the return trip back to Avignon.

The next train back to Montpellier was not scheduled to leave for another 90 minutes, but I managed to walk around the station, find something to eat, and played many games of Hearts on my phone. The wind has been blowing all day. Though it was sunny, it was very cool in the shade and in most of the train station. And my battery was running out on my phone. Eventually the train arrived and I was back in Montpellier in an hour. My phone ran out of power just before we arrived in Montpellier.

I purchased a baguette at the station and headed back to the flat. It wasn’t long before I took a nap. I was exhausted. I managed to walk almost 15,000 steps today.

By the time I had dinner it was nearly 9:00 and I watched some TV before I went to bed. I’m not planning on leaving Montpellier tomorrow, but will do some preliminary planning for my next couple of stays and also wash clothes. I’ll probably go for a walk in the city, but pretty much rest most of the day. On Wednesday I leave to Toulouse.

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