Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Daily Journies

Housesitting in France isn't actually like living in France. We're still definitely more in vacation mode. Each day, we look at the weather and look at maps or the internet to figure out something to do in our region.
Yesterday, as Earl was busy with household duties of firebuilding, I said, "Hey, there's an arch built in 19."
"Nineteen what?" Earl asked.
"19 AD," I said.
"No! The year 19. Like the Romans."
It's called the Arch of Germanicus and it was originally part of a bridge that was part of a bridge but was taken apart and rebuilt in a different place.
When we left the house, the sun was shining, but when we got to Saintes, the town with the Roman arch, the clouds  had taken over.
We parked and walked to the arch.

That's 6-foot, 4-inch Earl standing in front of the arch to give you some perspective of how big it is.
But one thing that we noticed as we walked toward the arch was that it seemed not put together in a careful way, perhaps not even with mortar in between to hold each stone in place. We commented that perhaps someone with more Lego experience could have done a better job.
Looking at the arch from the side, the arch seemed even more haphazard.

I mean, it was two thousand years old, I couldn't help but think of the woman who repainted the Italian fresco, thinking she was helping.

The first painting is the original, the second shows the damage, and the third the woman's restoration. You can read the whole story in the Telegraph story from August 2012. 
So Earl and I posed in front of the revamped arch and walked around the rest of the town. Looking at some lovely gardens and watching a rooster and peacocks in a petting zoo. As we exited the park, we noticed a number of other stones stacked near the tourism office. 

"I told you," Earl laughed. "Those are the leftover stones that they didn't put in the arch when they reassembled it."
He might have a point.
We got directions to the Roman amphitheatre, which was a 25-minute walk, but I had already used my walking energy traipsing around the city, so we drove there and after taking a few pictures decided not to go in and tour it, even though the price was reduced to 1.5 Euros because of the water in the basin of the amphitheatre.

The size of the amphitheatre was impressive compared with the one that we had seen the week before. That one could hold 6000 people, but this one could seat 20,000. I wonder how far people had to come from to get a crowd of 20,000 people in the year 19 AD.

Here's a closer look at the entrance to the amphitheater, currently underwater.
I wonder what the Romans did to build things 2000 years ago that made them last that we don't do today. Earl says it would be too expensive to build the way they did then, but it seems expensive to repave roads every year or two and to rebuild buildings. Maybe it had to do with slave labor, which I obliviously would not support.
But seriously, what have we created that will still be around in 2000 years?


Anonymous said...

It isn't always that things don't last but that we don't want the old stuff and throw it out. Concrete is one of the most carbon-intensive materials we have; it should last a long time but we don't let it.
As for roads, the most-recycled material in the world is asphalt. That makes it a bit better, no?

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

We have a place just up the road .. It is Frideswide Square , nothing exotic just square with roads .. In 2015 the council decided that this place was important and would give it a whole new refit , roads and pavements and everything ,.,, £6.7 million and it is now on its 5th repair .. The road has holes in and something is wrong with the pavements... Can you imagine and it is going to cause Major traffic problems . So we cannot build things to last , not even a road..

Mind you that Arch does look dodgy .. x

Lee I said...

I looked at that arch and said, "Wow!" Then you perfectly described what I was thinking. I guess there haven't been any big earthquakes around there to shake it down. I'd love to see it in person. I've never been in that part of France. I have a fondness for the old stones. I'd rather look at them than all the opulence of Versailles.

Just Me said...

So fascinating

Noreen said...

19 A.D.?! Amazing

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