Nîmes, France — July 11, 2016

This is my last blog entry from France on this trip. This evening I take a bullet train to Barcelona, Spain. At least there I will have fewer problems understanding what people say, as my Spanish if fluent. Or, perhaps I shouldn’t be so hasty to make that assumption. Natives of Barcelona typically speak Catalan with each other, although they all also speak Castillian, which is the language that most people know by the name Spanish.

Below is a picture of part of the hostel grounds where I am staying. The hostel is outside of town on a large lot and occupies several buildings. The pink building in the background is where the reception and the bar are located. (It wouldn’t be French if it didn’t sell alcohol.) There seem to be several teen groups staying here. The group shown in the picture was chattering away in French. Since then, another group has arrived speaking German.

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I had a whole small cabin to myself last night, although it is supposed to be shared by four hostelers. I must say that I got a peaceful night’s sleep, undisturbed by noise and loud music from nearby bars as was the case in Paris. The only bar in the neighborhood is the one in the hostel, and my cabin is far enough from it that I don’t hear the noise. Looking out the window at the trees, I can imagine that I am by myself in a small cabin isolated from the rest of the world.

Nîmes has a cathedral, but the following picture isn’t of it. According to my map, this church is called Saint-Paul. I couldn’t get close enough to gather more information, because as you can probably see in the picture, the church is fenced off. It seems to be undergoing renovation including sandblasting of the exterior. Yesterday being Sunday, there were no workmen at the site.

Like all cities in Southern Europe, Nîmes has its old section with narrow streets that wouldn’t pass for alleyways in a more modern section of town. Because Nîmes is a small city, its Old Town is also small. I think a person could walk the entire old city, every single street, in a few hours.

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The following picture is of the Castellum or water distribution tank. In Roman times, an aqueduct carried water from a spring 50 kilometers or 32 miles away to this tank. The tank was equipped with sluice gates and various outlets to lead pipes, which carried running water to various sections of the settlement. The Romans were way ahead of their time when it came to plumbing, but if I could advise them, I would tell them to use something other than lead to carry their drinking water.

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Two of my goals on this trip were to do lots of reading and lots of writing. I’ve been doing well on the reading, but not on the writing. I have been working on a new novel for months with little to show for it. So far on this trip, I have gotten about three more paragraphs written. It appears that it will take a long time for me to finish writing that book and get it published. I hope no one out there is anxiously waiting to buy a copy. 🙂