Monday, 30 September 2013

Sur Le Pont: Half a Bridge and Half a Taste of Provence

This time last week we were in Avignon...


on a touring holiday of Provence...


which is a beautiful area of France...

The tour was called A Taste of Provence and that was what we were given.The itinerary covered more kilometres than I cared to count. Unfortunately this meant daily doses of sitting on a coach together with a group of over forty people.

Since Mr A's stem cell transplant this is not the best of environments for him. We opted out of the last two days and, while he sat around the hotel coughing and sneezing and generally feeling grot, I got to see a little more of Avignon than the tour itinerary had allocated.

He managed a slow stroll for Sunday lunch in Avignon's beautiful Place de l'Horloge. We sat in the leafy shade of a street cafĂ© and watched as the locals closed off the entire length of the main street, turning it into a fabulous bicycle race track.


After lunch children swarmed from all directions with an array of bikes and fancy helmets, followed by proud mothers, fathers, grandparents and babies in pushchairs. Each bike race was accompanied by a brass band ensemble and enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.


But this was no 'stroll in the park'. There was a pacemaker, the route was long and hard, with the number of laps increasing as the older children took to the track. No child was allowed to drop out, even those who fell off at the start of races [and there were many who did, especially among the younger groups]. Each child was lifted back onto their bikes and pushed off to rejoin the race. We all cheered really loudly for those peddling like crazy at the back.


You could tell from the atmosphere that everyone was having a thoroughly enjoyable Sunday afternoon but I couldn't help feeling that there was a serious side to it too. These children were being taught to 'stick at it' to 'not drop out' to 'push themselves to their limit' to 'work as a team'. It was a fascinating insight into the French cycle racing psyche and, although we were both disappointed at having to miss the last two days of our Provence tasters, we were pleased to have experienced an afternoon with the locals.

Mr A. is now well on the mend... but my throat feels just a tad... [coughs pathetically]

17 comments:

  1. What fun - sounds like you made the best of your 'day off.' I hope you have some rest, now you're home!

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    1. I've hit the ground running, I'm afraid but it's better than being bored... I think!

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  2. Glad you managed to enjoy it despite everything. Avignon looks beautiful, but did you dance on the bridge? ~Miriam

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    1. You have to pay to walk onto the bridge... No we didn't!

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  3. What a great trip - but tough on Mr A. I'm glad you could both take it easy for a couple of days.

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    1. Yes, he was very disappointed. He really wanted to go to the Camarge.

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  4. Hi! I popped over from AJ's blog to see you. We did a Taste of Provence holiday a few years which ended up in Avignon - can't remember who ran it though. I loved Avignon and we spent a couple of days there. We went round a lovely outdoor market and I bought some material to make a tablecloth and napkins when I got home. I love them and wish I had bought more. Every time I spread it on the table it reminds me of the sunshine, the lavender and the delicious food.

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  5. Ros, I'm glad you had some you time in the end, even if it did mean missing the last of the tour. Interesting insights you had into the cycle race there. Your photos are really lovely and the light is just gorgeous!

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  6. great pics and glad you had a bit of adventure. I like the idea of these kids having to persevere. Excellent and glad you witnessed it. Hope both you and Mr.A feel tippy top this week. Rest up for more adventures later - I always enjoy your trips.

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  7. I have never been to France and would love to go.
    All in all sounds like it was a great trip
    I enjoyed the pictures!

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  8. Lovely pictures. The race sounds like quite a spectacle.

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  9. This looks lovely Ros and it seems you probably saw a bit more of real French life than the tour bus did. Give Mr A my best .

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  10. Love the photos....and although Mr A wasn't well for a couple of days, just getting away together must have been lovely...and the weather looked fine...

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  11. Sounds like fun! And now I'm going to have that song in my head all night!! :)

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  12. Nice photos. Sounds like a good trip other than the bus. My post on Friday will be dedicated to you. I'll be posting the Mr. Potato Head story that I told you about a year and a half ago. Better late than never I guess.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  13. Might have been a blessing in disguise, having the chance to see a bit of real life instead of viewing sights through the window of a coach. I'm glad you turned the situation round and had a good time!

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  14. Hi Ros .. oh poor Mr A - still it was good of him to go in the first place ... but I am not happy in groups - much prefer doing my own thing ... your lunch and day watching the locals and their race - sounds just so much fun ..

    Good to read about your tour and see your photos - enjoyable ... now you're both nearly recovered .. cheers Hilary

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