Saturday, 1 December 2012

Gators and Gladiators Oh My!


So out and about in our little Fiat (Brad getting in as much fast, zippy driving as he can) we cruised through the town of Vers. Small cute name, small cute town. But we did get a little turned around trying to get out of town.

And ended up driving beside the quarry for the Pont du Gard (giant aqueduct that carried water from Uz├Ęs to Nimes). The road was carved out of the rock...literally, we're not trying to be literarily eloquent.


And a shot of said quarry. They've been bringing out big rock from here since Roman times (now it's a teensy bit more mechanized). On the road leading up here, a few of the houses had 'fences' constructed out of blocks that were 3x3x5...feet! So yeah, they're not picking them up at Home Depot.


Which is a nice segue into posting about Nimes (said destination of water carried by the aqueduct, made of the stones).

One fun story on Nimes - Levi Strauss used fabric from Nimes (serge de Nimes) to make the work-pants he sold. The fabric was blue and the 'serge' part was dropped - put 'em together and whaddya got? Denims!

And now the more educational history (but Coles Notes version) on Nimes - it was a Roman village whose plots of land were given to legionnaires as thanks for their participation in the Nile (as in Egypt) campaigns (as in Julius Caesar's). Which gives the background to Nimes' symbol - a crocodile chained to a palm tree. And the symbol is everywhere.

On posts throughout town...


On pavement markers...


Forming the fountain in one of the squares...


But this one loses a bit of that exotic, tropical feel with the accompanying flocked Xmas tree...


But the big site in Nimes is the arena. And it really is a spectical (as most Roman sites are) - standing in the middle of town with traffic driving by a few feet away. It's incredible to think how long these monuments have been standing for. Although monument is a misnomer for this arena - as it's still frequently used for bull-fights and concerts.


And a nice shot of Brad in an interestingly named part of the arena - the vomitorium. No really! It's not that bad! It's Latin! It means to spew forth...okay, maybe it is that bad. But they were so named because they exited the crowds quickly (as fights would break out if people were held up...much the same as hockey and soccer games of today eh?). So here's Brad being spewed out.


And from spewing to snack food. OK, so my Nimes segue was way better.

At the adjacent cafe when we stopped for coffee. If you want a snack - handy vending machines are right beside the tables!


Or this one of you're in the mood for something else.

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