June 15 Sunday
After a leisurely breakfast we were all on the bus and set to go with the exception of Graham and Cathy MacKinlay; we had been warned pre-tour by close friends that they dance to the beat of their own drum. The delay was unimportant, minimal and cause for some good hearted banter as they boarded. The drive to Avignon took almost 4-hours and was interspersed with a compulsory 30-minute stop for our driver Herve at a motorway roadhouse.
After checking into our hotel in Avignon we all headed in separate directions to explore the sights and shops and grab a quick lunch before doing so. After settling Herve at his hotel Virginia and I found a very nice café and partook of a light lunch. In 2012 visit we had explored the Papal Palace and all of the sights so this time opted for some retail therapy. We walked for miles and purchased nothing but enjoyed the afternoon. Back at our hotel we caught up with Royce & Jenni Everett who had made arrangements for a dinner at a brasserie close by with John & Maureen MacDonald and invited us to join them, which we did with pleasure.The food was tasty although served in exceedingly generous proportions, with which even our burgeoning stomachs had difficulty with. A short walk back to our hotel and for the first time on tour the Everett's and Poole's adjourned to the bar for a nightcap… a bottle of 2001 Domaine de la Charbonniĕre Vieilles Vignes (old vines) Chateauneuf du Pape, had our complete attention; still with plenty of opulent fruits it was developing rich, mellow secondary ripe flavours and textural/oak complexity. Many laughs were shared before heading to bed and lights out… we slept well!