Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Provence Day 6: Avignon and Orange

Our last day in Provence and only two places to see: Avignon and Orange. I have to say, we have had enough of cities and towns, I miss mountains, nature etc. It's nothing new - I'm not really a city person, but I have a feeling that I used to handle touristic places like that better than now. In any case - I'm not moaning or anything. I enjoyed the whole trip, it's just that I liked our lavender fields trip, and ochre fields more than places like Avignon or similar.

We started from Avignon castle and here another confession - my expectations twoards it were much higher than what I saw. Perhaps once it was a splendid place but now only walls are left. On top of that, Wojtek started to feel a bit bored but our programme and he showed his discontent in a pretty obvious way, so we really had to rush through the castle. To sum up, the castle wasn't the highlight for me. But I did enjoy the walk around the city. Avignon is pretty big and there are quite many places to look around. We wandered without any destination and made a longish loop that gave us a gist of how people live in this city.

 From Avignon we headed north to our home, however we stopped in a little town called Orange. It's widely known for its amphitheater  and I have to admit - it was spectacular. A place worth doing a detour.

And so our journey has finished. Next holidays: skiing somewhere in Tatra mountains.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Provence Day 5: Sound of the sea

If you know me well you know I love planning. What I love planning most is my holidays and it was no different this time. Before departure on vacation I buy a guide, search the Internet and do a very detailed list of "to see" places. It's rather rarely that I don't stick to my plans, as there usually are various variants to choose from and one of them always fits. Today though we decided to make a drastic change and we headed to the seaside - which was not planned at all. I guess we both have had enough of "hard core sight-seeing" and needed a day-off from running around. So we took a map and basically chose a place that seemed nice and had a beach. So it happened that it was in a national natural park and since I love nature - we made our steps there.

It was unbarably hot so we didn't spend much time with the flamingos. Sure they were cute but I really needed a water breeze to cool down so we shortened our walk around the ponds and headed to the seaside.

At the seaside... What can I say... Oh sweet laziness. We did absolutely nothing. I spent the entire afternoon under the umbrella reading and relaxing. The weather was perfect - it was super sunny but also windy from the sea so I didn't feel hot at all. Wojtek loved the beach and in principle we didn't need to entertain him at all. Am I getting old? I really wish I planned more of such days this year :)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Provence Day 4: Cities of Provence

Today we decided to wander around some small and big cities of Provence. I have to admit - this is not my favourite way of spending time on holidays - I prefer natural marvels way more than architecture must-sees. But I still enjoyed the day. In the end, there is some charm in sitting down for a coffee in a busy cafeteria at the heart of a centre.
We started the day with Saint-Remy-de-Provence. We made a quick walk around its morning market and headed to Glanum - the archaeological site of an ancient Roman city. Radek was delighted to see all of that as he always admires engineering skills. And you can't rely deny that Romans had them!

Our next destination was a well-known city Beaux-de-Provence. There were loads of tourists but no wonder as the place had a lot to offer. The first thing that sticks out is a hilltop castle (or its remains to be precise) with a great view on the plains (see 1st photo). The ruins are really maze-like as there are lots of different little paths that you could follow and the area is huge.

But the real attraction to me was Carrieres de Lumiere - a high-end light and sound spectacle shown in a former limestone quarry. I have to say this was real something. Classical music played loudly in a chilly cave with visual images accompanying the sound made us really contemplative and relaxed. Worth visiting for sure!

From there we drove to Arles - a somewhat bigger city with a huge Roman amphitheater perfectly preserved and still operative.  Again - Roman architecture and engineering amazed us.

Another city that has an amphiteatre is Nimes. This time we didn't go inside but from the outside it looked spectacular. We were already a bit titred by this action-packed day so we decided to stroll around Nimes without any specific destination and made quite a long loop like that.

And finally, a cherry on a pie for the day - Pont du Gard. Yep, that's right, another masterwork of Romans.