Saturday, June 19, 2010

Our second day in Arles

Our second day in Arles allowed for a more relaxing wander after the stressfull first day of driving on my part. Can you imagine picking up a car that when you hopped in the driver's seat, you find that the steering wheel is not in front of you!!! AND, you drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Very stressful.

From the diary "Walked around Arles this morning. Roman Ampitheatre that seated 20,000 people - still in good enough condition that it is still used today. The added aluminium framework of seats and stairs  are amazing. It staggers me to watch young kids kick a soccer ball against 2000 year old walls."

I don't know if it was the time of the year or the time of the day but we had Arles to ouselves. Our friends of commented after seeing our photos, "where are the people". It's true, except for the really big tourist attractions, we seem to be on our own - how good is that. As we walked up from the ampitheatre, our next port of call was the Roman Theatre where again it is also in use today. We couldn't believe that we had this piece of ancient history to ourselves. Well that is until a swarm of Japanese tourists arrived with cameras clicking. Prior to their arrival, the solitude of the place was good for the soul and so peaceful.

Diary insert. "We were the only people inside the Roman Theatre - really well preserved - again with a wooden stage and electric exit (sortie) signs added for todays modern events. Wandering around, it was easy to imagine it being used to stage Greek tragedies all that time ago."
Arles deserved more than just an overnight stay and we promised ourselves that we would return sometime again (and we did but more about that in a future installment).

We had booked a villa in the Languedoc in a village called Saint Chinian. How and why you might ask. OK, I'll tell you since you did ask. Sue's sister Judy and her husband Ken stayed there in the past and loved the place. And so did we.
But first, another driving tragedy.
"Driving is still a bit of a nightmare. not so bad on the open roads, but turning corners and roundabouts needs lots of concentration. I'm too scared to try - I've watched it turn Leon to a glibbering wreck. We decided to be brave and stop for coffee in Beziers. Leon still not sure of the car's dimensions passed 2 cm away from a parked car - whew just missed and then straight into the huge stone gutter - the tyre went POP! Wasn't yesterday enough drama?
Leon's confidence was somewhat eroded, yet he changed the wheel after a good strong coffee and we continued on to Saint Chinian."

Two weeks in a stone villa at Saint Chinian


  1. More drama I can definitely relate to !!

    I felt such a twerp the first time I got into a hire car on THE WRONG SIDE. Trying to look nonchalant, I made as if I was just rearranging stuff in the passenger side then checked nobody was looking before I got out and got back in the right side, no the left side !
    I also found it very unnerving, trying to judge my distance from parked cars. Having driven thousands of miles around France on a motorcycle where this is not a problem, it took me by surprise and definitely shook my confidence. It took me about three days to get the hang of it, then it was time to give the car back !

    I am enjoying your tales of this area, we passed through a few times but have never stopped long enough for a proper look around.

  2. The first time I drove on the opposite site, it was easier because there are less people and the traffic is more organized (New-Zealand and Australia; never rented a car in England). But it was harder crossing the streets.
    I don't know where Chinian is and can't wait for more stories.

  3. Jean/Nadege - thanks for being loyal commenters. It's really nice to know there are readers out there and I really enjoy waffling on with the blog. I actually relive our memories of our travels while always trying to find something new in our own backyard.
    Saint Chinian is a lovely relaxed village and the villa we had was magic.


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