Sunday, March 17, 2024

Avignon St Veran Cemetery

 This morning we took the free little ferry across the Rhone River to Ile de la Barthelasse There were about 15 of us on the ferry, in the summer it holds up to 50. Right now it is only running 3 days a week and runs every 15 minutes, it only takes a few minutes to cross. Amazing how strong the current is right now. The ferry gives you amazing view of the Avignon bridge as well as the Palace du Papes. We hope to rent bikes to go around this island another day, and also to walk across for the views at night time, it is supposed to be beautiful. We walked back across by the bridge that we had walked across the other day.

Back home for lunch and a break before we head off to a cemetery tour at 2:30. It was supposed to finish at 4, but it went until 5PM. There were 8 of us on the tour, 6 people from Avignon and the 2 of us. All in French, I am still tired from trying to get all the French stories. Leaving it for Andre to fill in here what we found out. You were not supposed to take pictures in the St. Veren cemetery, but our guide said to just be discreet, so I'm sure we have lots of pictures, though I don't think Andre was really discreet. Our guide said there can be 30 people on the tour in the summer, I can't even imagine, another great reason to travel off season.

The cemetery guide was fantastic, mostly history of Avignon and some of the interesting people from the past that lived here. The locals seemed to really enjoy the tour as he told us many of the streets and buildings that the people had lived in. There were many sculptures, writers, painters and different businessmen that are from this area and buried here. One of the interesting plots was a family plot where some controversy over execution of a young man for supposedly killing a young girl in the 70's. He originally wasn't allowed to be buried in the family plot, but his mother negotiated and was eventually allowed to have her son buried here provided his name was not written in French. It was interesting in that evidence disappeared, and there was lots of political pressure to resolve the crime. In todays times the execution would have never happened.

In the 1800's the aristocrats hired ladies to cry at funerals for men as it was not proper for aristocrat ladies to cry in public. Lots of interesting stories.

This is one of the largest cemeteries in France. We only say a small portion of it. There are also a Protestant and a Jewish sections as well.

Supper tonight was take out pizza. Making plans for tomorrow to visit another little town outside of Avignon. The weather was supposed to be terrible this week, but looks like it has changed and we are in for some more great weather. Lazy night tonight, a little tired from all the walking so not sure if we will go out again.

Steps today 16,500 or 10.5 km

Wendy dancing under and singing "Sous le Pont d'Avignon"

The free ferry across the Rhone river we took

Many rowers out as it is Sunday

Found somewhere we go go for a round of golf

Will return to bike the island

What the odd of a log staying there

Palais des Papes we visited yesterday

It records bikers going over with a goal of 500,000 for the year, 363 today and about 50,000 this year so far.

Across our front door

Our new favorite bakery

After lunch on our way to the cemetery tour

The entrance, we heard about all the meanings

Many graves have these ceramic flowers that they call "biscuits" because the flowers are so thin and fragile.  This graveyard has very few statues like the this one, but many many "biscuits" can be found.

This chemist blew up his house by accident and was found under the rubbles

abolished the death penalty

She worked for the underground during the war and ended up in a concentration camp but survived

For the birds and insect

For people killed in the wars, 254 of them in the country, the cities are responsible for the upkeep

Example of a bronze carving of a painter

Lots of what we heard today was about 7 writers who kept their native language alive.

The tombs have back doors to insert more coffins, the tombs are up to 10 feet in the ground and hold many family members

At one time you could but maintenance for perpetuity but now it's in blocks of 30 years. If you don't renew, you get put in a common grave.

These trees are in bloom

This weekend

Where we got pizza for supper

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