Apr 28, 2015
|Tuesday, April 28th.
Off to Nimes with great confidence we knew where we were going!
Turned out to be a false assumption.
We were pretty sure we had found the right parking lot but they had those pesky little metal hanging things that we knew we couldn’t slide under. Unfortunately are only avenue of escape was back on the toll way. Not so merrily we headed to who knows where.
We got off at the next exit and tried to make sense of the directions. I saw a little yellow car pull in behind us so I jumped out to see if he could help us. He spoke a little English and he was actually a paid roadside public assistant, who roamed the toll way looking for motorists in trouble. I think we qualified!!
After using a lot of sign language and both are attempts at speaking the others native tongue he said; “Follow me”.
Back on the toll way.
We followed close behind as he exited the toll way and led us back to the original parking lot we had found on our own. There was a little pull off area just before entering the toll way where he said it was OK to park – for free! He showed us that there were security cameras all around as it was a very large communication hub for buses and the entrance to the toll way and thus very safe.
Needless to say, we were incredibly thankful that he appeared in our lives at that time and thanked him profusely for his help. His faced beamed when I gave him a little Canadian pin and he told us he was heading to Washington and New York next month for a visit.
Now for the next challenge.
How does one know where to get off the bus and how to buy a return ticket?
Again we were helped by a very kind Lady, who struggled with English but was able to give us instructions on the above. As it turned out (three security types had boarded at one of the stops and were checking tickets) We had bought only 1 return ticket but they let us continue on.
Kind people everywhere!! Maybe we just looked old and confused. (Probably true.!)
We walked our legs off. First we visited the Nimes Amphitheatre, originally built toward the end of the First Century AD. Even by today’s standards the Romans were brilliant architects. We were overwhelmed with this structure. Spectators were positioned according to social status and were shaded from the sun by a canopy supported by ropes attached to poles.
It must have been an incredible colourful and awesome site not to mention noisy.
As we wandered all over this structure we had an audio tour guide assisting us in describing what we were seeing. Who knew there were so many different types of gladiators!? They had different armour and weapons depending on whom and what they were fighting. We had many awe filled moments. I wondered often how the Romans were able to hike up the many stairs to reach the different levels as I know their legs weren’t as long as mine.
Next we wandered the very narrow streets just absorbing the atmosphere. A couple of hours later we decided to head to the Jardins de la Fontaine and the Tour Magne. Up hill, of course.
Again we marvelled at the ability required to build such complex structures. I decided that what they lacked in technology they made up for with an unlimited supply of man power. We certainly do not today finish a building as they did with the cornices, statues, carvings etc.
I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
As we wandered the Jardins de la Fontaine I marvelled at the flowering shrubs and trees in bloom. All sorts of colours, some I recognized as house plants were growing all over sort of like a wild English garden. I couldn't get over the pine trees growing beside the prickly pear and agave.
What brought us back to the present century were the teenagers riding their skateboards, and playing basketball, young families strolling through the park, people wading in these incredible fountains even letting their dogs paddle around. To us it was almost hallowed ground to them their neighbourhood park!!
We sat and watched the water and enjoyed the beauty and just absorbed the peaceful
At the Tour Magne we met a couple from Sioux St. Marie (Ontario) and had a pleasant chat comparing notes thus far. I think there were a thousand steps in the turret, climbing to the top, not to mention the hill we had to climb to get there. This tower was the highest and most prestigious tower of the roman Town. It was composed of 3 levels and Octagonal in form. Although the top level has disintegrated (Thank goodness) the view at the top was spectacular.
Surprisingly so, we had no problem getting back to our camp ground. We were both amazed at how little time it took to get there, thus how close we actually were to “Nimes”.