After our travel adventures (detailed in the previous post), it was with a sense of relief that Jacob and I settled into France.
Our destination was the south of France, where I have the privilege of a large network of extended family and friends. My mother grew up in this area, and after my grandparents passed away, she inherited the house that they had owned. I spent many happy childhood summers in France with my family, and was looking forward to introducing Jacob to this special place.
We spent our first weekend with my Aunt and Uncle, who live in the city of Nimes. Nimes is quite typical for a small European city – with this exception: it is covered in Roman ruins. It is a surprise to many visitors to arrive in the south of France and find that the Romans have once occupied this land. Their occupation is evident however, in the ruins and architecture they left all over the countryside.
Therefore in Nimes, you have one of the only existing Coliseums outside of Rome. (The French would argue that this Coliseum is better than the one in Rome too…It’s in better condition, and is still regularly used for bullfights, music festivals, and theatrical performances).
Jacob and I also visited the Roman gardens in the city, and the ruined temple that has essentially become a playground for local children. While wandering through the gardens, Jacob and I happened across three separate wedding celebrations. One of them was a Moroccan wedding with a public parade including drums, trumpets, and dancing. It was a pretty fun spectacle to witness.
On Monday Jacob and I left Nimes and picked up our friend Luke. Luke is a friend and former roommate of Jacob’s from college days. He has been working in Austria, and contacted us just a couple days earlier about coming to visit. Miraculously, everything worked out on short notice, and we had the great pleasure of hosting him at our house for three days.
We had many adventures during the time Luke spent with us. Not the least of these adventures was Jacob and Luke’s bravery in burying the hedgehog that had drowned in our pool.
And the incredible double (and at one point triple!) rainbow we saw on a stormy afternoon. (Yes, I did freak out when I saw it. Jacob likes to make fun of me for that.)
We spent a day on the beaches of the Mediterranean, and explored the medieval walled city of Aigues-Mortes.
The next day we drove to the mountain town of Anduze, and trekked to the river for a swim. Growing up, my family had spent many days at this river – it has always been one of my favorite places. To get there you must first walk along the train tracks, and pass through a deceptively long tunnel (hoping the whole time that the train won’t come while you are in the tunnel).
After the tunnel you break off the tracks, and head through the woods until you find the canal. Walking on the narrow wall of the canal, you continue on until you come to the river and choose your spot to settle down.
The air and water were the prefect temperature, but it was an overcast day, which meant we had the river entirely to ourselves. It was a wonderful afternoon.
The next afternoon we said goodbye to Luke who was on his way to visit friends in London. Since then Jacob and I have eaten a lot of French food, usually served to us in 5 courses throughout 3 hour dinners, when invited to a friend’s house.
No, we are not complaining.
More on that to come later.