Thursday, May 31, 2012

European Adventure Part 1 - South of France

Well a brief commercial break turned into an eternity, but I am finally back and ready to share! 

Our adventure began in the South of France with Concetta and Christie! Mom and I arrived Wednesday (after a brief train incident) and headed straight to Avignon. Determined to take it all in, we spent the afternoon taking a tour of the town, grabbing a bite to eat and doing a little shopping before heading back to Vers. 

Palais des Papes in Avignon
Vers was the very small, charming town where we were staying. The house we stayed in was something out of a fairytale - complete with winding stone staircases, huge stone rooms, and a terrace with sweeping views. 

The House
Our stairwell

Wednesday is apparently similar to Sundays in Vers and almost every restaurant was closed for dinner. We decided to dress up anyways, have some drinks on the terrace, head into town and go to one of the only open restaurants: a Thai restaurant. Though it was not even remotely French, it was delicious!!

Self timer success
Concetta and I before dinner
We began every morning by waking up, heading to the local patisserie and picking up some breakfast before heading out for the day. 

On Thursday morning, after breakfast, we headed to the Saint Paul Asylum in St. Remy. This asylum is where Van Gogh was held shortly after cutting his ear. It was also where he got the inspiration for, and painted, some of his most famous paintings. I was blown away by the beauty of St. Remy. It was absolutely incredible to see prints of these paintings hanging right next to where the inspiration was taken. 

(**A bit of a side story about St. Paul Asylum - this asylum is still a working asylum and we got a little lost upon entering the museum. We entered some open iron gates and headed towards the clinic. About the time we realized the gates were closing with no other way out, we also realized we were in the real asylum part of the property. We all looked at each other and before Concetta and I had time to react our Moms were already running back through the gates. Hello?! Apparently it was every woman for herself here...even when they are your mom! Luckily we made it back through before we were stuck at St. Paul for good. And they thought it was hilarious! )

Van Gogh's room
Gardens outside of Van Gogh's room
After lunch in St. Remy we headed back to Vers for a kayaking adventure to the Pont Du Gard. During this adventure, we were giving one rule - "stay straight". Unfortunately Mom and I were not the best at following these rules and instead spent 1/3 of our time sideways. We did figure out the steering about halfway through and make it to the Pont Du Gard, which was totally worth the few rock run-ins we had. :)

Before our adventure
Pont Du Gard from our kayak
Thursday night we had a round of drinks on our terrace, headed to a nice dinner, and then decided to try and see the Pont Du Gard again at sunset. We made it about .02 miles into the parking lot and took a picture before the security guard came running after us and said in a not so friendly manner that this was "forbidden". Whoops! And off we went. 

At least it was a successful picture! 
Friday was only a half day for Mom and I before we headed back to Paris, so we spent the morning having some girl talk over pain au chocolats and coca cola lights. It was the perfect way to start the next leg of the trip.

Next up is Paris!

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