sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 14, 2008

france, day 9: the final countdown
posted by soe 7:55 pm

Sur le pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse, l’on y danse.
Sur le pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse tous en rond.

On the bridge of Avignon
We all dance there, we all dance there.
On the bridge of Avignon
We all dance there in a ring.

Today’s highlight was the Pont d’Avignon (or Pont St-Bénezet), the ruins of the oldest bridge crossing the Rhone in the southern part of ancient France. It was built in the 1100s (nearly 1,000 years ago — yikes!) at the behest of a shepherd who heard the commandment from God. After laughing at him, the town/church clerics said they would build the bridge only if he would start it himself with a boulder left around from the building of a church. Feeling pretty secure in their taunt, since 20 men together hadn’t been able to budge it, weren’t they surprised when he picked it up (with or without angels’ assistance — the lore is unclear) and flung it into the river to begin the foundation?

Today was sunny again with more ridiculously strong winds, so perhaps it was better to say that we were buffeted about on the Pont d’Avignon, rather than that we danced on it, as the popular French children’s song suggests.

After doing a little shopping and grabbing a bite to eat, we caught the TGV back to Paris. We should have booked ahead, though, because while one of our tickets had a seat assignment, the other one essentially said to “grab any open seat once we take off,” a disconcerting discovery for Rudi. Luckily, he found a seat kitty corner to me, so it wasn’t too bad.

We returned to our Latin Quarter hotel and promptly headed out to supper, trying to catch some luck by arriving without a reservation at the start of the dinner hours. Luck was with us, so we ate out, then headed back to the restaurant at the Mosque for mint tea and sweets, and ended up at a bar for beer and tea. (I want American bars to serve me tea.)

Rudi is dozing and I’m trying to figure out the packing situation. We bought some liquids whilst over here and so will need to check my bag. But how to pack it to avoid breakage… This is the first time I’ve encountered the new safety regulations when they’ve actually affected me. Darn those stupid terrorists and our reaction to them…

I’m off to empty my suitcase….

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