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2012-May-28 - France Trip 2012 - Transfer from Narbonne to Avignon (Monday)
Somehow we managed to shoe horn everything back in to our two suitcases.

Linda disappeared while I rolled the first suitcase down to the car park.

When I got there the car had gone and next I found her attempting to park outside the hotel.

I don't know what she was thinking. Contrast - rolling two suitcases 30 metres to a car park and loading at your leisure with - rolling two suitcases 5 metres, attempting to park and then loading while traffic banks up behind you.

Once underway the trusty Google maps got us on to the A9 in the right direction.

The only problem we hit was when we went to pay at a toll booth we went to the wrong outlet and had to call an operator for assistance.

They always seem pretty pissed off when a tourist makes a mistake in this country.

Eventually between Nimes and Orange we took the G6100 exit which brought us all the way to Avignon.

We were doing really well until we took one wrong turn going over the bridge and had to do a great quarter circle through the outer suburbs before we found our way back on track.

After this the Regina Hotel was eay to find.

The receptionist was friendly and helpful and the desk is manned 24 hours.

However - the web page details that we based our decision on are a bit misleading.

1) Parking available - well yes - 800 metres away in a public car park at 10 Eu a day.

2) WiFi available - yes in the lobby area only - but upstairs at 6 EU an hour. (Lucky I have a 3G dongle)

I initially found Avignon very loud and very busy. I'd suffered a few migraines during the morning from the stress of navigating on Google maps and I think I might have been a bit hypersensitive to light and sound.

We found one of the "mini train" trips leaving from the forecourt of the Popes Palace.

The commentary must have pointed out at least 60 amazing pieces of architecture but I was in a daze, almost falling asleep.

After the train trip I needed to retreat to the hotel room and sleep for a few hours.

Linda went for a bit of a walk around town, found the super market and a newsagent selling an English newspaper.

When she returned to the hotel we went out for a bit of dinner and a little walk around.

We found the Markets building with its vertical garden and I took a few photographs.

After that I went to bed for the night.

However, we had a bit of a problem - Linda needs the windows wide open or she starts feeling breathless.

I found myself floating on a sea of noise.

In fact, some of it was so bad, I started to wonder if a joke was in progress.

I half expected a camera crew to jump out of a cupboard and say : "Ha, Ha - it's not really this loud - we just set it up"

Outside motor bikes and powerful vehicles thundered down the street, their roar echoing off the canyons of the buildings.

Miniscule mopeds screamed impotently up and down the nearby laneways.

Horns periodically tooted joyously or shouted angrily, depending on the mood of their drivers.

Road sweepers came at two in the morning with the noise of a jet aircraft.

At midnight, a group of residents at the hotel all swarmed in to the ground level, laughing and talking loudly - their voices racing up the lift shaft to our door.

All through the night we were assailed by the thump thump of car stereos, outbursts of raucous laughter on the street and all sorts of unidentifiable bangs and crashes.

Amongst all this pandemonium I actually managed to sleep, at the cost of going slightly insane.

I became a whirling vortex in a sea of noise. In fact I split in to 4 currents each performing its own repeating task that never achieved completion. I was liquid, with no crusty solid feature to interact with the real world. I could not report back the results of my work.

Around 3.00 in the morning both Linda and I woke up at the same time.

I said to Linda "I can't take this much more - we'll have to find another hotel".

Linda relented on the windows being open and once I had closed the steel shutters and the double glazed windows the street noise receeded to being the gentle surge of waves lapping on a beach.

We slept in until 9.00 am until I regained my sanity.

Vertical garden at Les Halles

That's us - third Level, two windows on the left