Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 34 - All Ruins All The Time

Hey Team,

Headed 25 minutes down the road from Avignon (I'm staying here and making day trips elsewhere) via train to the town of Arles.  It's famous for it's Roman ruins and for being the place where Van Gogh lived and was eventually committed.  This is a bit more of a blue collar town, but I liked the feel of it. Grittier but a lot of personality.  It is also on the Rhone River, and I got some nice shots of my 4 or 5 hours here.

No, this is not THE Coliseum (that's coming soon), but it is the first Roman Ruin like this that I've seen.  I'm sure once I see Rome, this will be small potatoes, but after the day I had at the Pont du Gard, I'm on this antiquity kick so you're going to have to look at it.

Just a detail shot of how well the structure has held up after 2000 years.  A little paint and I think you could have yourself a nice little fixer upper.

At the museum close by I got a shot of some beautiful mosaics that researchers have been able to reassemble.  As you may know, mosaics are not paintings, but thousands of tiny pebbles or specially cut rocks that are put together to form the image.  This was a popular form of art in ancient Rome.

Here's a shot of the skyline in Arles.  That's the Rhone you're looking at in the middle left.  This is "downtown" by the way, hence that skyscraper in the middle.

Back inside the Amphitheater (i.e. the Coliseum).  For those of you who went, you can see that even after a couple of millennia and no electricity, the tunnels leading up to the stands are still brighter than their counterparts at Old Yankee Stadium.

Stroll up on this in some small backwoods East Texas town and you have an "eyesore".  Do it Arles, and you have to pay $10 to get within 20 yards of it.  Maybe these French folks are on to something here. . .

In all seriousness, what we are looking at is the Roman theater in Arles where they held various plays, etc.  It actually was buried through the centuries, but over the last couple hundred years or so, they've found it and excavated.  Not much left other than the seats and the columns, but still, pretty neat.

After my fun filled day in Arles, I headed back for my last night in Avignon.  In the evening I strolled around the main square and took some shots of their very nice main square, Place de L'Horlage.  I can't remember for sure, but I think this is town hall.  Seemed very French looking so it made the blog.

Here's another shot of the square.

So I went out on a high note in France as my last night in the country also yielded my best meal at this resaurant called l 'Epicerie.  Scallops, sun dried tomatoes, and butter with mashed potatoes.  Even I couldn't say no to that..

Tomorrow I have a brief stop in another little Roman town before I make my way to Espana and Barcelona.  Till then. . .