Roman/Celt Sites in Nimes

July 18 – Nimes France

We arranged to meet Paul and Lucy at 10:00 to see the other Roman sites so Monty and I hit the market early, (it is so wonderful).  Bought makings for omelettes, fruit and danish and I cooked.  Paul and Lucy were no shows so we eventually headed into the Temple – Maison Carree which has great history – not only is it a main building but was once part of a larger square.  The Celts built it in honour of Caesar and the gods in 1AD.  After a fine, but slightly cheesy film we headed to the gardens around the holy “spring”.  The original religious center for the Celts who joined the Romans to expand the empire.  The focal point of the gardens (apart from the still productive spring) was the tower.  Now only 2 of the 3 sections remain and the original core was destroyed in search of treasure, (Click for details).  The view from the top was still very impressive, and the gardens were amazing.  Included in the gardens was the monument to Diana (now quite decayed).  In the park we hooked up with Paul and Lucy (Dan is a great spotter!) and arranged to meet for dinner for our last night.  Had a great dinner and then it was adios to PK and Lucy.  Quite sad but we will do it again in two years.

Which way to the Beach?

July 17th – Nimes France

Today we took the train to Le Gau Du Roi for 1E each way which is ridiculously cheap.  All six of us (Dan, Suz, Paul, Lucy, Monty and Audrey) met at the train station for 10:30 for the 1 hour train ride to the beach.  There was an open piano in the train station lobby and we were treated to a performance by a very talented young girl.  Monty caught the tale end of the performance on the gopro camera.  Click here to see it.  Great beach day.  On the return trip back, Paul and Audrey trounced Monty and Dan much to their chagrin.    In the evening, after a great meal Paul and Lucy returned to their place and the four of us checked out the market around the temple.

Nimes Arena

Checking out Nimes Arena then some gourmet food at our Opera Palace – July15/16

Clear hot day in Nimes. Paul, Lucy, Dan, Suz, Audrey and I headed to the Nime’s version of the Rome Colosseum.   It is still used today for concerts and other events.  In fact Elton John is playing there later this week.  After the tour, Paul and Lucy suggested that the three couples go out to the market and purchase food for a little wine and cheese party at our room rental.  It was a great day all around and it gave us a little time to recoup from our hectic pace so far.

St Bastille Day in France – Chataeu in Carcarssonne

July 14th – Carcarssonne France

Today we headed to the Chataeu to check out the old part of town.  Today is St Bastille day in France so everyone is on holiday and the local shops are buzzing with activity.  The girls wanted to stop every 10 feet to look at something, so we were not surprised when they suggested that they hurry through the castle and Dan and I can take our time taking pictures.  The girls would then head back to shop and meet us at our room later in the day.  Dan and I spent sometime in a graveyard outside of the Chateau before entering it.  By the time we got out of the Chataeu (about 4:00pm) the crowds had already gathered around the grounds for the evening fireworks (around 10pm).  We hustled back to get the girls and find our spot.   We were treated to a great fireworks show from the Chataeu and a rock concert outside out window in the city square. In fact the concert picture I took from my window.

A Day of Castles in Lastour – Days 7&8

Carcarsonne France – July 12/13

After breakfast we said our goodbyes and promised to try and meet two years from now for another hike.  Paul and I talked about possibly going to Eastern Europe (Czech or Bratislava).  Doug and Kalon were heading back to Colorado since Doug was working the next day.  Mick and Susan were heading off with Paul and Lucy to southern France then off to Venice in Italy.  Dan, Suz, Audrey and I were heading to Carcarsonne for St. Bastille day and then try to meet up with Paul and Lucy again in Nimes later in the week.  Laura and Joe were heading to Switzerland and then Germany (I think).  With the local van full, Dan had to run into town and pick up the train to the next town in order to get the rental vehicle.  After a couple of hours Dan showed up with the rental and the four of us were off to Carcarsonne.  With it being the day before St. Bastille day, the old market in Carcarsonne was corded off so Dan dropped us off close to our B&B and parked the car away from the action.  Our apartment overlooked the square and the nightly entertainment was already performing sound checks.  We spent the late afternoon picking up meat, cheese, wine and beer.  The evening we were entertained concerts outside our windows and the boys taught the girls how to win at euchre again.

Click here to see videos of music show and Dan’s driving to Lastour Castles.

The next day we drove to Lastour to see the four Castles.  We brought along a picnic lunch which consisted of, (you guessed it) wine, beer, cheese, ham and baguette.  A real spectacular place with good hiking and great views of castles.  Photos below:

Pyrenees – Mountains to Mediterranean – Day Six

July 11th – Ceret France

Last day of hiking.  We hike to the coast today.  It has been a very fun trip so far and unfortunately Michael, Sue, Doug and Kalon will be heading separate ways after this.  We will hope to see them again soon.  Today was one of though days that I wish I had lots more time to take pictures.  The scenery was breathtaking.  The winds were very strong and a number of us were loosing their hats along the way.  In fact some of the girls almost got blown off the hills.  Lots of pictures today.  Remember to click the thumbnails to see the photos correctly.  Youtube video link below.  Remember comments (especially positive ones) are appreciated.

 Click here for so video of the days hike.

Click here for the hiking groups closing comments.

Pyrenees – Mountains to Medeiterranean – Day Five

July 10th – Amelie les Bains France

After two days rest, Audrey’s knee is feeling better so she will again join us for the trek.  Todays hike was 10kms, but the trails have not been clearly marked.  With all the rain this spring the trail is lush and overgrown.  Remember to click the thumbnails to see the photos correctly.  Youtube video link below.  Remember comments (especially positive ones) are appreciated.

Click here for so video of the days hike.

Pyrenees – Mountains to Medeiterranean – Day Four

July 9th – Prats de Mollo Spain

The weather has been great since the first day hike.  It has been cool enough for us not to overheat during our hiking.  Todays hike is 12kms but with a lot of downhills, which can be hard on the knees.  We cross the boarder into France today and so we say goodbye to Spain for this trip.  Both Dan and I had minor mishaps when we slipped on wet rocks.  I tweaked by left knee and Dan scraped his arm and cheek.  Remember to click the thumbnails to see the photos correctly (the last two are wide screen panos, so the thumbnails cut them off).  Youtube video link below.  Remember comments (especially positive ones) are appreciated.

Click here for so video of the days hike.

Pyrenees – Mountains to Mediterranean – Day Three

July 8th – Mollo Spain

After yesterdays extra long hike and rugged terrain, Audrey’s knees gave out.  They have been bothering her for many years but she has just learned to live with them.  She tried to go today, but very early on it was evident that she would not be able to join us for the hike.  Today’s hike was a long one and had some nasty bits.  Today’s post has a lot of pictures so you have to click to see them uncropped.  Youtube video link below.  Remember comments (especially positive ones) are appreciated.

Click here to see video of day two of hiking.

Pyrenees – Mountains to Mediterranean – Day Two

July 7th – SetCase Spain

Well the trip is under way and the weather was starting out poorly.  Heavy fog gave poor visibility which caused Dan, Suz, Audrey and I to get lost.  We ended up doing an extra 6kms!  The extra distance probably helped us to quickly acclimatize to the higher altitude. Too see the pictures in un-cropped and larger format, simply click on the thumbnail.   For YouTube Video links click on links below.

Click here to see Youtube video of hiking Day one.