Monday, 2 November 2015

We enjoy Jazz in Avignon and go on a cycling adventure

Saturday morning in Avignon turned out beautifully with warm sunshine
Avignon from over the Rhone 
and blue skies. We needed to do some food shopping so returned to the wonderful Les Halles market where we bought a lunch of street food-style snacks from an Ile De Reunion stall, and the best smoked haddock in a very long time from the Maree Provencale fishmonger. Then, suitably blending in with the locals - we had a baguette sticking out of our rucksack - we paused for coffee in the square, sitting outside the Red Sky cafe listening to good Gypsy Jazz music played by the Jacques Doudelle Jazz Orchestra. Someone was putting up a large red devil puppet outside the cafe for Halloween and it looked fantastically grotesque. There was some sort of food tent with people sampling various odd looking specialities. This was absolutely packed out though so we didn't get to find out what all the fuss was about, but just soaked up the lovely atmosphere for half an hour.

Jacques Doudelle Jazz Orchestra 
That afternoon we went for a bicycle ride starting out by riding alongside
The Rhone 
the houseboats on the Rhone before heading up the end of the island on which we are camped. There are long quiet roads as well as clearly marked cycle paths along both sides of the main road. Just as we thought the road had ended, we met another cyclist, a French man wearing very short shorts! We were unsure whether a rural track was cyclable so got chatting and he ended up leading us along pebbled tracks and sandy paths, through woodland and back along the riverside. It was a challenging but fun route that we wouldn't have found otherwise and I was pleased with myself for managing to ride pretty much the whole distance, even though most of the paths were much trickier terrain than I had cycled before.

On Sunday afternoon our walk through the quiet Avignon streets took us
Carole Nowak mural 
to parts of the city we hadn't seen before and I loved this mural painted outside one of the small theatres. It isn't actually a door at all - everything is painted on to a flat board and the mural is the work of Carole Nowak. Other actors and actresses were painted onto boarded windows above. We think one was Humphrey Bogart and this pictured man reminded us of Columbo although we weren't sure if it is actually meant to be Peter Falk.

We wandered for a couple of hours, eventually ending up back in the main tourist street which we have already come to know pretty well. We did stop in a tiny Cote d'Ivoire grocery for coconut cream and lychee juice, and at a bakery for a couple of pastries (Dave) and a lemon and poppy seed cake slice (me) to go with tea. I have now worked out how to make a delicious Chai Latte with my Twinings Chai tea bags - just use hot milk in lieu of boiling water and leave the bag to steep a couple of minutes longer.

Having previously been told elsewhere that there were seven Avignon Popes in the 1300s, on Sunday we saw this large mural depicting nine! I think the last two were later, but I am having trouble deciphering the dates from the photo now. It's a shame that part is obscured by the surrounding railings.

Popes in Avignon 

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