Toward Spain

I had a nice hotel breakfast this morning, then revised my travel plans for today. I decided to take a side trip to Arles where there is a roman amphitheater, and I also went back to Jardin des Doms for a short stroll with views of the city. On Monday morning many places are closed. I also walked to the ferris wheel by the Rhone river but it was not running this early in the day. 

I am very happy to have arranged 2 nights’ home stay in Barcelona, which has the most expensive hotel rates during this journey. I had intended to travel via home stays for the entire journey, but this is the first time I have been able to arrange  it.

There are so many varieties of cobblestone streets and alleyways. Some are rectangular, flat-topped stones, some are cut in half with the flatter, split side up (imagine the labor that went into splitting all those stones to pave a street!), some are rounded pebbles that are very uneven underfoot, and some are flatter rounded pebbles that are easier to navigate. In Florence, in many places, large rectangular blocks are used as pavers. I saw a stone mason cutting, fitting and pounding a block into place on a very hot day. 

In Arles they have massive roman ruins that you can go into, unlike Delphi which had areas roped off. 9 euros admits you to two places: an amphitheater and a stadium. The amphitheater has areas with fragments of large, carved stone blocks and a few partial standing columns behind the stage area. It looks like this space is used for concerts or events as there was major scaffolding and sound equipment being packed away. 

I had lunch at the place near the stadium which has a “wall”  of jasmine vines. After wandering the ruins I decided to stop there for lunch and this is my first somewhat disappointing meal. Working my way back to the train station, I stopped for a coffee and ice cream in a plaza shaded by large plane trees, feeling a slight breeze. This definitely improved my morale.

Another train ride brought me to Perignon near the border of Spain. I just checked into the hotel and started looking for a restaurant. Just as I found an Indian restaurant, the New Delhi, the sky opened up. I am very happy to be dry and had a very good meal of palak paneer, naan bread, rice and white wine. 

Tonight I am happily ensconced in a hotel directly across from the train station, it has elevators and I don’t have to haul my heavy carry-on up 3 flights of stairs as I did yesterday. This is a studio apartment with a small stove, sink, refrigerator and microwave. I have leftovers from dinner that I will heat for breakfast. 

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