Lovely Baladine

After enjoying a bit of retail therapy at Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, we continued on Rue des Trois Faucons in s eastward direction. ‘We should hop on a Baladine if one comes along.’ I looked back towards Place des Corps Saints. The sun started to beat down brightly and I was worried if the walk was straining mum’s hip before our visit to Palais des Papes.

Baladine on the move…

 

Baladine was an electric-powered mini bus which went along a designated route every 15 minutes.

A green line with “BAL” was the route of Baladine. The bus would stop at any point as long as the destinations of the passengers were near the wriggly loop.

The size of the mini bus was small – 4 adults plus 2 children if they were toddlers.

Cars, except the ones with permit, were banned from the city centre in Avignon. While we were watching Baradine in action, we witnessed the drivers touching in & out of the streets which were equipped with automatic bollards. As the pass card was pressed to the reader on the column, the bollard lowered itself to the ground level so the bus could entered the street.

Come and enjoy the ride with us!

 

Isn’t Baladine lovely? For this, it costs only 0.60€. What a bargain!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Laundrette @ Avignon

One of the problems everyone faces during a holiday, which lasts longer than a few days, has to be how to deal with your dirty laundry. Our trip was over 16 days and as the days went by, our worn clothings started to take up more space in our suitcases.

‘It would be great if there were any laundrette near by’, mum sighed as she went through her luggage. We were planning to stay in Avignon for three days, therefore, it would be ideal if we could sort out dirty washing during our stay.

At the hotel reception, I found a man on a ladder, trying to fix a light bulb above the entrance. ‘Bonjour!’, I greeted him not too loudly so he wouldn’t be startled. ‘Bonjour, madam!’, he smiled as he lowered himself down the steps.

Once he was behind the desk, I asked if there was any laundrette within a walking distance. ‘Oh yes, there is a one at the end of the street in front of the hotel!’ Oh cool!

‘Could you change this note to small change?’ I produced €5 from my pocket. As he was checking their till, another staff came out from the kitchen and told us that she had just used up all the small change they had in order to pay a delivery. ‘Désolé.’, they apologised.

Ok, I must do some small shopping with this note and get some coins. There was a gift shop on Cours Jean Jaurés and I ended up buying a small lavender soap in the shape of a cicada.

With a few euro coins in my pocket, I returned to the hotel. ‘L’opération a réussi?’, the staff on the ladder wanted to know and I gave him the big thumbs up.

At the end of the street, a laundrette awaits me!

The street in front of the hotel ended when it met Place des Corps Saints.

‘Oh bu**er! Why didn’t we come here for dinner yesterday?!’ The square was surrounded by lovely looking cafes and restaurants, and there were many tables under the shade which would have offered beautiful alfresco dining. I was gutted.

Anyway, I have a mission to complete.

Tadah!

There was no one when I walked in and I never used a laundrette in London so I had no idea how it worked…

It was a bit daunting.

Let’s study an instruction…

I forgot to take pictures but there was another machines, one took the payment and the other dispensed a laundry detergent.

In the end, everything was kind of self-explanatory – you put coins into the machine and it lit up the the options available according to the amount of the coins inserted. I chose mixed wash under 4kg and also bought detergent. As the coins fell through, a slot on the wall, a small opening a few feet away, spat out the detergent! Haha, what a fun. I would have loved to see the inside of the wall.

I made a bit of mess when I was putting the detergent in a tray. Well, it crumbled without warning!

The wash was to be ready in 35 minutes so I went back to my hotel and had another cup of coffee with mum.

Then, I had to go back to put the laundry in a tumble dryer.

 

On the door of the dryer, there was a message to the staffs and owners of the local eateries. It warned that some laundries with fat and oil still left on the fabrics may catch fire while being tumble-dried! Oh please be careful..,

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Avignon’s City Hall

After leaving Place de l’Horloge with a bad aftertaste, we decided to check out the city hall which stood at the opposition side from the restaurant. During the dinner, we noticed some people were walking in and out of the door and it was intriguing.

‘Hello, is anyone here?’

Strangely, we found the place deserted. There was an airport style metal detector and a long table but we saw no security staff. Where did they go? We were puzzled.

Oh well, let’s give the place the once over anyway, we started our tour.

In the middle of the open space, there was an installation with flowers, a sparkly globe and gravel. Is it an indoor garden?, I was not sure. How can I put it? The installation was kind of odd. It didn’t look like a temporary display but also not good enough to be a permanent one. How do you utilise entrance halls of public buildings? It would be as easy as one imagined, I thought.

On our way home, we came across a large Monoprix and mum found a very stylish top in teal blue. She was delighted with the top because she didn’t bring many short-sleeved tops.

Now, let’s go back and have some rest because we are gonna visit Palais des Papes tomorrow. How exciting!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Tourist trap @ Avignon

Yes, we were conned and we had learnt our lesson, “Never never eat anything near tourist spots!” How we managed to make such a basic mistake? Well, let me explain…

Our first afternoon in Avignon was very summery – hot and humid. ‘Mum, do you fancy ice cold beer?’

Around Place de l’Horloge, there were many cafes and restaurants which offered alfresco dining. May be we can have beer and dinner at one of them, we thought.

‘I fancy paella because I haven’t eaten rice for a while.’, mum pointed at one of the eateries which was displaying a large menu with photographs. As soon as we stopped in front of the menu, a middle aged man with an apron around his hip appeared and started chatting in English. ‘Two of you? For dinner? Ok, ok, sit here. What do you wanna drink?’ He ushered us to one of the tables and handed us laminated menu.

While we contemplated what to eat, our beers were brought to the table.

Cheers, mum!

What the he** is that?, you may ask. Apparently, this was my seafood “noodle” paella. The noodle turned out to be just broken up spaghetti and apart from single very limp mussel and a couple of squid rings, the dish was devoid of any “seafood”. I was disgusted because it was nothing like the image on their menu.

Mum’s seafood paella did marginally better by sporting slightly more fillings. Still, it tasted mediocre and could hardly justify the price of €15.

Probably, the “noodle” paella was the worst food I had ever tasted in my life – too greasy and too salty. I ended up leaving more than half of the wretched crusty spaghetti on the plate.

Then, the guy reappeared and he had the cheek to ask me if I liked the dish. I replied, ‘Pas du tout.’, giving the thumbs down.

He shrugged his shoulders and cleared our table. Allez, M.Thickskin, I silently swore to his back. What a tourist trap!

In front of the city hall, two guys were busking…

We would have enjoyed their performance more if our meal wasn’t a rip-off and the guy wasn’t so cocky! Mum and I left the place, feeling very very annoyed.

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Stroll in Avignon

Conveniently, Avignon’s tourist office was a stone’s throw from our hotel so we decided to visit there first.

Next to the tourist office, there was a small garden, Square Agricol Perdiguier. Roses were blooming and the locals and tourists alike were enjoying quiet afternoon…

Leafy Rue Joseph Vernet. The street was famous for being lined by upmarket boutiques, however, the north end of it which met Avignon’s main street, Cours Jean Jaurés, was a very quiet affair…

The city was well-known for their annual art festival, Festival d’Avignon, and the enthusiasms and interests for performing arts were reflected on the various posters covering the streets…

At the tourist office, we were greeted by a team of very helpful staffs. The informations I wanted to find out the most was about the city’s public transport system. ‘Is there any mini-bus we can use? Like a hop on & off kind?’ The staff behind the counter pulled out a small map from one of the draws and with his Biro, marked a black dot on the sheet. ‘From here, you can catch the Baradine.’, he smiled. ‘It departs every 15 minutes and circulates the city centre anti-clockwise. You can ride and alight anywhere along the route and a single ride costs €0.60.’ Wow, it sounds great, I nodded excitedly.

After leaving the tourist office, mum and I walked to the first stop of the Baladines which was located at the west end of Avenue du 7 e Génie.

Bonjour, le Baradine!

‘Allez-vous a Place de l’Horloge?’, I asked a driver who appeared to be killing time before his shift. He replied that he would but also warned me his Baladine was the last one for the day. ‘I could take you two but you would have to walk back.’, he explained.

Oh, that won’t do. We thanked the driver and headed back to Cours Jean Jaurés.

‘Let’s have a little stroll anyway.’ We had no idea how large the city centre was but decided to explore it on foot…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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