Sat July 3, 2010
The day after the last day of school, we went to visit Severine, Christoff, Robin and Armand at Severine’s parents house in Mandeure. Mr. Liberty was suffering some problems from his tire blow-out in Italy and we had to borrow Olivier’s car to get out there (thank you!). We spent the first 4 hours or so chatting and eating lunch. Yes, 4 hours for lunch is pretty normal. Appetizer, then a salad or fruit, main course, cheese and finally dessert. And, between each course, spend at least 10-15 minutes chatting. I really don’t get why more French people aren’t fat as houses…
The kids played while we chatted… Armand, at 8 months, is super cute – playing with him made me miss my niece Julia more than usual – she is at this same super fun age! At the same time, my decision to be done with having kids was re-confirmed – fun to play with, but wouldn’t want to have another one of my own.
After the four hours of eating, we went to the ruins of a Roman Theatre, that has only been discovered in the past 20 or so years. It was very cool because one of the archeology students that was living there for the summer gave us a guided tour to tell us all about the place.
Griffin is sitting on the stairs and, at his left, you can hopefully see what looks like arches of stones filled with more bricks. These are not doors they decided not to use any more. In fact, these are called relieving or stiffening arches and were put into place on purpose to “transfer vertical loads and, to a lesser degree, lateral thrust to the stabilized surfaces, minimizing stress on the weaker parts of the substrate.” So, since they weren’t sure what they were building on all the time, they transferred weight whenever they could.
We walked further and heard all about how this now sparsely populated area was once a great city and this theatre was almost as large as the coliseum in Rome. You can still see the footings for the great columns that ringed the entire site.
In the theatre, many plays were put on. The guide explained women were allowed to have parts – as long as they were silent! The kids were not particularly impressed with all the lecturing…. but Griffin passed the time picking a bouquet, of course.
We climbed to the top of the stadium and I got a chance to play with Armand again! They were doing more excavating on the top of the theatre – uncovering the outside walls. They also found the ancient well- it had been poisoned with dead animals…
Then we headed back down the hill towards the cars. Griffin and Robin started to play together just about when it was time to go. Oh well! Maybe another day… Thanks friends!