Thursday, 6 December 2007

Feeling the blues in France

Half way! 6 months gone and 6 more to go. After Switzerland i have travelled West into France visiting the towns of Dijon and Avignon. I didnt have any real reason to go to these places, but thought i would visit them and discover what was there. Dijon is a nice smallish town which got pretty cold at night. I had heaps of the mustard as i thought i should and went to a fun fair (pic) on most of the nights as that was the main attraction during this time. Listening to the Carnival folk yelling and screaming on the loud speakers in French to get people to come on their rides was a different experience. I ate heaps of "Shocolate Cwasonts" just because i like saying that and saw the beginnings of all the Christmas decorations that were being put up all around the town.

Travelling South from Dijon to Avignon, i arrived in the late afternoon and got lost. I didnt know there were two train stations and i thought i was at the other one. Lugged my bags around for quite a while before finding a place to stay as i was out in the factory and industiral area. Avignon is another nice town, where the old town is surrounded by a city wall. I saw and drew the Pont de Avignon (from the French nursery rhyme where everyone dances on it) (pic). Walked around the Popes Palace, saw my fort (St. Andre's Fort) and went to a blues festival.

Avignon Blues Festival
I have never really listed to blues music before and thought this would be something different to do apart from the normal sightseeing. Finding out about it off a poster in town (all in French) i took a photo of it and asked the receptionist at my hostel where it was. She explained to me that it was a 30 minute bus ride outside of town and that i had to leave pretty soon to catch the last bus. So off i went in search of the bus stop at 7pm where the Blues Festival starts at 7pm. Just caught the bus in time and got to the last stop around 7.30pm. When i hopped off, i had no idea where i was. It was dark, quiet and nothing around. As i was looking around, the bus pulled away and went back in the direction we came from. I got a bit worried as that was the last bus and there were no taxis or cars around. So off i went in a direction i just picked and 5 min later i came across a car park full of cars and a big building with a sign saying "Avignon Blues Festival". Phew, dont know how that happened! Got my ticket and sat down in the 800 people concert hall and listed to 3 performances. The Coulour Gospel (French), Eugene "Hideaway" Bridges (pic) (American) and Michael Burks (American). Eugene "Hideaway" Bridges was my favourite, bought his CD and was tapping and swaying all through his 2 hour performance. Best voice according to "Soul" magazine. Michael Burks was also really impressive on his guitar, that had everyone tapping and cheering. Wow, after all 3 performances, it was 1am and time to go home. I was presuming that there would be taxis out the front as there were so many people. I waited outside for maybe 30min and there was nothing. Everyone who went to the festival drove. Looking back, i should have made friends with someone so that they could take me back to Avignon, but in the end i walked. Thinking a taxi may pass me eventually i walked in the direction the bus came from but really didnt know the way back. After a good 10 minutes of not knowing where the hell i was at around 2am, i found a main highway and a sign saying "Avignon". I had my jacket, beanie and gloves and i arrived back at the hostel at 4am... really...really tired!
I slept all the next day.

Next is Spain for about a month. I am actually already half way through, just a bit behind in my blogs. Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid and San Sebastian are on my places to go before heading back into France mid December.