Before leaving Arles I managed to spend a half hour looking around the Amphitheatre. Some serious restoration work is being carried out. The notice board outside said it was a��107 million. The Romans were quite smart about getting people to their seats or standing positions by using large numbers of entrances to the spectator areas. I’m not sure how they ranked their amphitheatres but this one is ranked number twenty. Well down the order of merit I would have thought, but having this ranking does indicate just how many of these structures they did build. Today they have bullfights, horsemanship shows, and it would seem anything else in the nature of a public spectacle. I loved wandering the corridors, looking into the portals towards the arena and musing what it would have been like to be a spectator all excited about a show
that was about to begin.

I had a late start (10.40 am) but a short walk (18km). My first three hours of walking was such contrast to the final three yesterday. I was on a quiet road with next to no trafffic and am couple of cyclists. The drying grain crops were there, like yesterday, but they didn’t seem as characterless. Yesterday I noticed the first one but today there were vast areas of land being cultivated with rice. It strikes me as odd why this water hungry crop is grown anyway. From my observation rice plays little to no part in French cuisine and you have to grow huge amounts to make it
export viable. I don’t think of France as being a country which could sustain rice as a commercially viable crop.

Everywhere I go in France there seems to be purpose built drains moving water from one unknown place to another unknown destination. I’ve often wondered where all this water ended up. Probably on the rice cops.

At midday (my time) I called a farewell dinner being held for my younger son who flys out on Wednesday for Paris and three months in Europe. We plan to meet up in
Toulouse on 14 June after which he’ll walk with me for a while. I got to speak with all three of my children which was quite special.

Saint-Gilles is not a prosperous town. You can tell by taking a walk along the main street. I did this before dinner which was vegetable soup followed by grilled salmon. I haven’t said a lot about food, but I enjoyed it far more in Italy than I’m enjoying it here in France. I miss a good vegetarian restaurant where there isn’t a different sauce for every possible permutation of a salad. It’s not possible to get something simple like a lettuce and tomato salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. ‘I’ll have to return to Italy for that.
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