get up, brush teeth, get dressed, get out…and its only 5:55 a.m.
we’re on our way to gare de lyon and our first ride on the very fast tgv train to nimes in the languedoc region of southern france. the trip is only 2 hours and 50 minutes to go about 700 kilometres (first class by the way and very comfortable) things zip by so quickly there was no point in trying to get a photo (a relief for you who are following this on flickr.) i did manage to fire off 250 though for the the day 🙂
this was a bit of an indulgence trip. on our last visit all of my photos of nimes and pont du gard were stolen when someone broke into our car and swiped my shoulder bag with the memory card still in it and i was determined to get them back.
the day did not look promising in paris, or nimes when we first arrived — quite a difference from the last time we were there. however, the travel gods were with us yet again and the day warmed up and the skies cleared (see the pictures). we caught a local bus at the train station which dropped us off a kilometre from the site after a rather circuitous journey to drop some of the locals (we think).
after an easy walk we were there and before us, covered in sunshine was pont du gard, an incredible and even beautiful structure of many arches all aglow in amber as the sun bounced off it. 2000 years old, it is the highest aquaduct that the romans ever built. i don’t believe my last pictures were as good or as varied, however, i did take a pass this time on climbing to the top as my right knee is bugging me (advancing years i’m afraid). needless to say i took a shot at every angle i could think of and hope most turned out ok.
rick and i had the foresight to take along a picnic lunch of baguette, jambon, fromage (and wine…of course!) as well as some fresh fruit. we ate on the rocks overlooking the viaduct (can’t think of a better view for lunch)
following our ramble around pont du gard we headed back for the bus and the ride into nimes. while waiting for the bus we met a young polish woman who now works in england and got a bit of an education on the situation in both countries. she was on a spontaneous trip because ryan air an english airline had a 10 pound deal – round trip! with no extra fees to nimes and she’d never been there before and was able to take a few days off work. she says she does this whenever she sees a good deal to a destination she has not visited before.
the five minute tour of nimes. we had about two hours before the train headed back to paris and we tried to cover the high points remembered on our last visit, we did not go inside the coliseum (we’d toured it pretty thoroughly last time here.) nimes is a beautiful small city with a long history of roman occupancy. some of the antiquities are in perfect shape including the coliseum, a temple known as the maison carre and remnants of a temple to diana the huntress and tour magner which we did not have time to climb up to. there are also amazing formal gardens – jardins de la fontaine which have been there since the 1700’s and includes a large canal lined with plane trees and has a gushing fountain at a central intersection. our time in nimes is over and following a stroll through the old section of town we’re back at the station and onto another fast train for paris. i sleep most of the way while rick reads the history of marie antoinette. a late supper at a nice chinese restaurant up the block from us and home to bed.