Monday was a nearly perfect though extremely tiring day, starting with breakfast in Arles and visits to the Van Gogh and Roman sites we hadn't seen the day before, then lunch and a visit to the church at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, then a wonderful visit to the nearby Parc Ornithologique de Pont-de-Gau with its incredible waterfowl, and finally dinner in Carcassonne with a longtime online friend and her family who drove all the way from Barcelona to see us when we couldn't meet them in Perpignan! A few photos:
In Van Gogh's Asylum Garden at Arles, one of many local places he painted that we visited, which also included the necropolis at The Alyscamps.
Here I am in the ruins of the Baths of Constantine, which we toured along with the Roman theater, obelisk, amphitheater, and city walls.
After picking up sandwiches to bring, we drove to the beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and ate in the sand watching the boats.
We walked through the town past the bullfighting arena and carousel to the Church of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, long a pilgrimage site for Romany, built in the 9th century as a refuge but reputedly established centuries before by Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome, and Mary of Clopas (much more about this when I am more awake).
While we were in the Camargue, we visited the ornithological park, which is most famous for its massive numbers of migrating flamingos!
In addition to the many hundreds of beautiful honking pink birds, we saw herons, egrets, ducks, coots, swans, a couple of the area's wild horses, and this beaver-like animal called a ragondin -- babies as well as adults!
A friend from Spain and her lovely family made the trip all the way from Barcelona to Carcassonne, where we met for dinner at L'ostal Des Troubadours.
Here we are in front of the walled city's gate. (More on that when I am more awake too!)