|Location: Avignon, France|
|Local time: Saturday, 6:45pm|
It's now been almost two weeks in my temporary new home of Avignon. My French skills are coming along slowly but steadily. But slowly. The job-hunting has been a little fruitless so far, so I'm thinking about updating my CV and heading off to a few agencies.
I've done some busking in the street, and managed to make some great money one day, and bugger-all the next. And twice now I've been interrupted by a protest march up the main street (those French sure like to complain!) I'm always nervous when I first get to my busk-spot and open up the guitar case, getting ready. But after the first song it goes away and I loosen up. I actually enjoy it sometimes - I generally get really good responses from people, who often just stand around watching/listening. But they don't always have deep pockets for me! It can be quite a liberating experience standing there with my guitar, singing my heart out and not really caring what anybody thinks. And I enjoy playing a good NZ song now and again - makes me smile to think that I'm standing in a European city and singing Crowded House in the street, to French people.
I don't have too much else to add for now, so will leave you with some recent photos...
One of the most famous landmarks of Avignon, the huge Palais des Papes - Palace of the Popes - dominates the
town's main square. In the 14th century, after fleeing a troubled Rome, this is where Pope Clement V and his
groupies established themselves.
Probably the other most famous landmark is the Pont d'Avigon (apparently mentioned in some French nursery rhyme).
Started in the 12th century, it was built to link Avignon with its sister-city, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. Once 900m long, the
bridge was repaired and rebuilt several times until all but four of its 22 spans were washed away in the 17th century.
The bridge seen from river-level.
One of the many gates providing entry to the fortified old town of the city.
Yesterday's horses and carriages have been replaced by today's Peugeots and Renaults, but the walls remain unchanged.
The city's main square - Place d'Horloge - almost empty on a Sunday afternoon.
Some of the old buildings lining the square.
A fairly typical city street, lined with tall but rather dead-looking trees.
Avignon seen from across the Rhône river.
Looking out over the dozens of red rooves of the city.
The woman in blue (kind've bottom-left) is at about the spot where I stand when busking.
This point seems to see the most foot-traffic in the city.
Across the river in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, looking down the road towards the 14th-century Fort St. André.
The fort from up close.
The Tour Philippe le Bel - a defensive tower built in the 14th century
that gives great views across the Rhône river towards Avignon.
In the middle of the Rhône is a huge island - Ile de la Barthelasse - that runs between the cities of Avignon
and Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. I sat here one sunny afternoon playing around with my telephoto lens, getting
up-close-and-personal with the local, very tame, duck population.
Ever wanted to know what a duck's butt looks like? Me neither. But anyway, here you go.
Going French - alone on one of the first nights I was here, I ventured to
the supermarket and came back with this assortment. Vive la France!
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