Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Pont du Gard, France
I said my goodbyes to the girls this morning and they left for Marseilles where they’ll fly home to Stockholm. As roommates go, they were top notch. I did a little housekeeping, studied my maps and got on the road to Pont du Gard, just southwest of Avignon. The drive was reasonably pleasant and straightforward. The tolls were five euros to go less than a hundred miles. I drove through Avignon a little, it’s another fortified city and the original papal palace is there too. I caught a glimpse of it but didn’t stop.
From Avignon, it was about 32km. Pont du Gard (bridge of the Gard) is the aqueduct built by the Romans to supply water to Nimes. It’s the second highest Roman ruins still standing and it’s quite impressive when you think about how many stones were required and how many slaves built it, and how many died building it, and the engineering technology they had back then. This part that spans the river is the most impressive, but keep in mind that the aqueduct ran 50 miles to supply Nimes. The surrounding area is lovely, I’ve never seen terrain like this and some of the trees and plants are like nothing I’ve ever seen.
I hiked all over the place and oh it was hot, 36º C it got to. Much of the ground is very light in color and the sun was beating down and reflecting off the ground. Even with sun glasses I was squinting a lot, it was so bright. I don’t have to go as slow as I used to when hiking and I’m feeling pretty good about that. I was surprised that I got along OK in this environment; I did have to drink lots of water though. I’m not really fond of hot places like this typically so I have mixed feelings about going to Italy this time of year. We’ll see.
The drive back was long, traffic was thicker and then I came to the tollbooth and the back up was an hour long. Finally got through that and back to the hostel and had some dinner. Met with some of the gang from last night; Jack, Jakob and Clint and some new arrivals, Amanda, Abbey & Kat. I was going into town tonight to hunt for the internet, but my achilles tendon in my left leg is in bad shape, I can’t bend my foot. I don’t remember hurting it during the hike and my right leg is fine. Clint reckoned it was because of the clutching in the hour-long tollbooth wait. Ah, of course. So, I’ll take it easy tonight.
Clint showed me his awesome pictures of Carcassonne and the surrounding area. They were beautiful and I’m thinking I may have to alter my trip a little to see this place, or at least put it on my return to list.
I just studied a little and taught myself some basic Italian and called the hostel at Lake Como (Hostel Menaggio – La Primula) in Italy and reserved a bed there for the next couple of nights. It worked, the guy understood what I was saying.