Just a quick word about the Europeans:  they don’t believe in shower curtains, wash cloths, or trash cans!  Enough said….for now.

Today we drove about two hours east to Avignon on the Rhone river.  This city became important in 1309 when the first French pope was elected.  He felt that Italy was too dangerous for a pope so he moved the whole operation to Avignon.  13 popes resided here until 1403.  Meanwhile, Italians demanded a Roman pope, so from 1378 on, there were twin popes – one in Rome and one in Avignon – causing a schism in the Catholic Church that was not fully resolved until 1417.  Todays city still has it’s medieval look with intact city walls and gates.  Our hotel is in the center of town and you should have seen us driving through the narrow lanes and gates not meant for cars of today.  Scary!  Since this place is most famous for the papal palace we toured there first.  It is an immense fortress looking palace that stands largely empty inside.  But there is just enough walled frescoes and cavernous halls to give you an idea of just what a showplace it was at one time.  Listening to the audio guide about the extravagance of the popes during this time – and with tax payers money – I have to truly thank God for bringing about a reformer such as Martin Luther!  I believe he truly changed the path that all religions were taking at this time.  From there we went to the St. Benezet Bridge which was built between 1171 and 1185.  It was the only bridge crossing the Rhone river in the Middle Ages.  It was damaged several times and rebuilt until 1668 when most of it was knocked down by an icy flood was never rebuilt.  We then took a ferry across the river and walked along the pathway  – looking for dinner if you must know and not finding it – took some photo’s and then came back through the gardens which had an even greater view of the Rhone.  We eventually found dinner.