The bridge was fun and our admission included an interesting and very well put together audio tour that discussed the history/mythology of the bridge. It was rejuvenating to walk out across the river and feel the breeze rush around us and fill our nostrils with the smell of water.
The cobblestones hurt Jesse’s feet since he was wearing his Xero barefoot sandals, but we both found it exhilarating to be walking in such an old place, our feet plodding across the same structure that countless others have walked upon for hundreds of years. It was difficult to imagine the bridge in all its former glory – a 3,000 foot bridge consisting of 22 arches. Only 4 of the arches remain today, but I find that impressive, considered the bridge was built in the 1100’s. It’s crazy to think that such good technology existed back then, and that any part of such an old structure built on a huge, once raging river, could still be standing at all.
We headed back into the city to try to get into the Palace of the Popes, but sadly, it had already closed by the time we arrived. That was really disappointing, as I’d been eager to see the inside after spending so much time looking at the art that used to be housed there. I can’t imagine how impressive the inside had to have been to house all of the art. A little regretful, we wandered off to try to find dinner somewhere. Our stomachs had still not settled into the new time zone and we were again disappointed to find that all the nearby restaurants had closed for the night, as well as all the cute boutiques I’d wanted to explore. Oddly enough, it was only 7:30pm and everything closed around 7pm. Quite the contrast to Spain, where people didn’t start eating dinner until 8 or 9pm, sometimes later. I’m wondering if it was more of a small town thing than it was a French thing, but I’d have to go back to find out. 🙂
Since all the restaurants were closed, we ended up stumbling upon an open gelato shop near our hotel and indulged in that instead. A sweet girl was working the stand, and she was excited when she found she had another opportunity to practice her English. The gelato, she told us, was made by the shop owners themselves who lived and concocted new flavors in the apartment directly above the shop. It was as local as we could have found, and the gelato was delicious. We also got two little pastries to go along with it, not quite sure what they were, but they turned out to be something like a meat kolache – a flakey pastry stuffed with a sausage. We wandered off and ate our gelato on the step of a nearby church before heading back to the hotel and settling down for the night.