Sunday, 18 September 2016

Night picnic on Barthelasse


 On my first Wednesday in Avignon came what has probably been my best experience here so far: a night picnic on the river island of Barthelasse.

 I'd heard about the picnic, which was organised by the ESN - a group from the university who advise and support international students. I liked the idea of going but had no idea how to get to Barthelasse and didn't know that many of the other Erasmus students yet.

 On Wednesday morning we had a big session in Uni with talks by various groups of people about courses, sports, trips and other things. It was really useful. I then wandered into town and spent some time sitting by the Palais de Papes, eating a galette - a savoury crèpe - and pondering whether to go to the picnic.

 In the end I found myself drifting towards the river and to the bridge. Not the famous bridge, which is broken and doesn't go all the way across the Rhône. No, fortunately there is another bridge, Pont Daladier. I had seen it but had thought it was only a road bridge. However, there is a narrow strip of walking space. The views are amazing.

The old bridge

 I arrived on the island and began to search for the group. I was playing Pokémon and Barthelasse seemed to be Psyduck paradise, I caught three or four in about five minutes.

 I found the group, and we settled in a spot on some grass near the water. Blankets and food were laid out. There was a great mix of food and drink from all over the world. There was even a box of Twinings English Breakfast Tea!

 We ate and drank as the sun set. I spent some time chatting to Liam, one of the British Erasmus students. He studies Chinese and I have been to China, so I told him about my experiences there,

 Someone produced a guitar and suddenly the air was full of music. I ended up sitting with some Italian students, learning the words to this song, to which I was addicted for several days after.

 Night came, we sang, and it was so lovely. There was a packet of Werther's Originals sitting around and I enjoyed a few, and now I'm sure that sweet, caramel taste, like the song, will always remind me of the wonderful island picnic.

 I wished the night would never end, but eventually I walked back through town with Liam and two German students. So many friendships were started that evening on the island of Barthelasse - I'm so, so glad I decided to go.

 Thanks for reading,

 Liz x

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