"Well, where to begin? A day of high tragedy and low comedy! We ordered a taxi yesterday to pick us up from the hotel at 9.00 am to go to Gare de Lyon. We added extra time to be safe, just as well as a call came through - Taxi running late by 30 minutes and we arrived at the station at 10.00 for the 10.20 TGV to Avignon.
So far, so good but the Gods were just having a little joke on us."
On arrival Sue went to information to locate which platform our train would leave from (this was our first TGV experience) - she was informed that it was platform C. We waited but no TGV was there. She ran back in a panic where she was informed that they gave her the wrong information - it was platform E - and, you guessed it - it had left.
What to do - well Sue took command in her normal teacher way and sought out the supervisor and with marvelous efficiency, he issued new tickets for the next TGV to Avignon. You would think that was the end of our concerns, wouldn't you - Nooooooooooo.
We had a lease car to pickup and so phone calls made to reschedule the pickup time - again Sue took over and all was in order.
THAT IS UNTIL!
Our TGV wasn't going anywhere at the appointed time - Why you ask??? The doors of the train wouldn't close and it took a further 45 minutes to rectify this. Now we would be two hours late to pick up the car. Another phone call was made. Our car man Joseph and Sue were forming a relationship. (Little did we realise that we would be meeting Joseph two years later)
We did finally made it to Avignon and the keys to our leased Citroen C3 were handed over by a lovely non-English speaking lady who promptly left, leaving me with this car that had all the controls on the opposite side of what I'm used to in Australia. Stressed, yes you could say that.
But this was a minor situation - next was to fill up the empty tank on the C3.
I took the wrong turn and went via Nimes adding an extra 45 kms to the trip.
Back to Sue's Diary
"Finally made it to Arles in full-on peak hour traffic, no idea where to go, circle, circle, circle - no where to park and then, A SIGN pointing to our hotel. We parked directly outside. It felt so good to breathe out after all that time."
After driving past our hotel three times, we finally found it and a parking spot directly opposite.
The hotel was just inside the old city walls which can be seen to the left in this photograph.
Arles has become one of our many favorite French villages - certain parts are so romantic and it's history, the market, cafes and eating places remain vividly in our memory.
We've now visited Arles twice and find no reason why it couldn't be on our next "must visit" list.
After a very tiring day it was time to freshen up for dinner. We decided that we would take our chances and wander the streets on this balmy late summer evening in Provence looking for a place to dine.
For the first time on this day of high drama, we lucked-in with a superb restaurant (we returned 2 years later) in the back streets and dined in the outdoor garden.
Our hotel was across the road from this scene of the Rhone - what a view.
From the Diary"Wonderful dinner. Seafood with spinach gratin entree, duck Lórange for main and an apricot thingy for desert. Slept the sleep of the righteous."
NEXT: Another day in Arles - driving to the Languedoc and more drama!!!