Sunday, 1 April 2012

1. Avignon, south-east France

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/



Well! The first day of the A to Z Challenge has arrived already! I've decided to do an A to Z of places - not very original, perhaps, but I have chosen places special to  me and also places I'd like to visit one day.

My first destination is Avignon, France, because my home town (more to follow when we get to C!) is twinned with Avignon and I stayed there on a two-week French Exchange when I was 14.

I stayed with a girl called Nathalie who lived with her mum and older sister (C├ęcile) in a slightly cramped 'apartement'.  I don't think I'd ever been inside a flat, believe it or not, so it felt quite exotic and very foreign. Missing my mum, I cried my eyes out for the first two nights, but once I'd got over the shock of being so far from home, those two weeks turned into something amazing.  I grew so much during that fortnight - I grew independent,  I grew resilient, I grew much better at French, and I grew up.  Nathalie had grandparents living in Orange, a wonderful Roman town full of ancient remains.  We went together on the train and stayed for a weekend.  The villa they lived in was amazing - all white tiled floors, ensuite bathrooms and, best of all, a swimming pool.  I had literally stepped into another world!  
Before the French Exchange, I was a real home-bird and not very confident about being away from my family.  I can honestly say it changed my life.  That same year, my parents divorced and if it hadn't been for the fact that I'd already spent time away from home and found my inner strength, I don't think I'd have coped with it and come out as unscathed as I did. In a way, my trip to Avignon set me up for life. 
So, thank you for so much, sunny Avignon!  Here are some pics.



 
et, finalement,
Orange

11 comments:

Debbie Henthorn said...

In 1981, I was 16 and went on a 20-day, 7 country hop of Europe. We stayed with a family for a couple of nights near Barneveld in Holland. Over 30 years later, I still hold such strong memories of that trip. The influences I discovered have grown into a strong wanderlust that extends into my mid-40s.
Wonderful to "meet" you from the A to Z Challenge.

Rhia Roberts said...

Being British (living now in the US), Europe is my old stomping ground. I love its sense of history...but the cost of living is horrendous!
Rhia #873 on A to Z list.

Sarah Pearson said...

What a wonderful experience for a young girl, and it obviously stood you in good stead during rough times.

Claudia Moser said...

Avignon is a wonderful place, I agree! Enjoyed our first post and btw following :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

I've never been to France, and there's a ferry terminal in my home town! I really must try harder :-)

Patsy said...

Is that le pont D'Avignon from the song in that first picture?

Escape Artist said...

Sounds like a beautiful experience. Great start to the blog challenge! : )

Displaced said...

What a wonderful experience! Thanks for swinging by Gonna Eat Worms I love to make new blog friends!
cheers Displaced.

Bethie said...

Beautiful pictures. I can't wait to see where we go next.

Gwen said...

Traveling abroad by yourself is such an amazing experience, you really do grow, no matter what your age. It's also addictive. I blame my travels at a young age as to why I want to live and work outside of the country.

moondustwriter said...

A beautiful memory and an excellent A

thanks for your visit to the Moon