The Nagasawa family trip to France: May 1 - 15, 2011
This is breakfast at the hotel in St. Remy, which was quite charming. This was mishap #2: We thought breakfast was complimentary at the hotel. It wasn't. Grrrrrr....
So we went to our campsite (which was much cheaper). On our way, the kids listened to C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle. They really loved this story. John is dancing here because he loved how all the main characters in Narnia are reunited in Aslan's country, where they are invited to go "further up and further in." In John's words yesterday, "This story answered all my questions." And, "C.S. Lewis' view of judgment day is just like yours, Daddy." This led to a sweet conversation with John and Zoe asking why couldn't they see God. It would be easier to believe in him, they said. So we talked about ways that we can and can't "see" God.
On our way to the Roman aqueduct, we drove along this beautiful road lined with trees.
Pont du Gard, a massive Roman aqueduct that is over 2,000 years old. It was part of a 50 kilometer aqueduct that brought water from a spring to the hot baths of Nimes.
Check out how massive this thing is. Ming and the kids are standing next to the column.
See the car driving on the first level? You could probably drive a semi truck across it.
In the museum, they show the routes the Romans considered. The most direct route was also the most difficult because of terrain. They wound up taking the longest route, because they could build the aqueduct with a steady drop of 1 inch per 35 yards.
Here's how the laid the arches. A wooden frame. Huge bricks carefully cut. Lime mortar.
This is the top of the aqueduct where the water passed through.
Turning around, this is where the water came through into the aqueduct. All throughout the 50 km of aqueduct, they had to build water control systems to manage flooding. Amazing planning.
Then we walked to the river level.
We ate a quick lunch here: sandwiches, cheese, and fruit.
Pont du Gard is just 6 feet shorter than the Roman Coliseum.
The Romans were even prepared for the river flooding. They build triangular guards to channel any flood waters around the columns, so the columns wouldn't take the direct impact of the water. Brilliant engineering.
The Camargue: The Wetlands of Southern France
We met the Laines again at a conservation area. This was in the Camargue area, where the Rhone River meets the Mediterranean Sea. It is home to a lot of vegetable and animal life. The area is famous for its white horses, which we saw at the end. It is also being encroached upon by oil and other companies.
We got on a horse drawn carriage for a tour.
Gabrielle LOVED the ride. She watched the horses to quite some time.
A crane in its nest, if you look through the tree branches.
A shot of the wetlands.
Swans and the smoke from energy companies on the edge of the conservation area.
Two muskrats swimming
Two swans a swimming
The wild white horses of the Camargue.
Here we are getting off the carriage.
On our way out, we saw some more horses in a fenced field. They are a neat sight.
There were also bulls in a fenced area. These bulls are brought into the Nimes arena for bullfighting.
Dinner in Maillian
We went to a small little town called Maillian. This restaurant had a nice inner courtyard open to the sky.
Zoe starting her dish.
Lucas wanted to get everyone's parsley because he wanted to take it back for a garden.
A tasty white fish with fennel and potato.
Ming enjoying her dish
Notice the blur over Mari's shoulder? That was Lucas.
That Lucas - he really knows how to work that camera.
Ming and Zoe enjoyed a chocolate cake.
John got a sorbet.
A close up of that chocolate mousse cake.
I think this was a chocolate parfait with a praline flavored segment.
L'entremet citron vert & fraises fraiches (lemon flavored with strawberries)
All of us for our last dinner together.