We headed off to go check out the 60-foot tall Roman Arc de Triomphe, built around 19 A.D. to commemorate General Germanicus who was defending Orange at the time. Before this trip, I don’t think I quite understood just how strong the Romans were, or how vast their empire was. We were just in one tiny region, not so far from Rome itself, but were engulfed by relics from the civilization that fell 1500 years ago. They were a people that built to impress and to last, conquerors that intended to exist forever as the world power. When they built something, they built with that same conquering and ruling spirit, constructing masterpieces and monuments would not be easily destroyed or torn down. They meant for their presence and power, to be a permanent thing.
While we were there admiring the structure, a large bus filled with tourists pulled up. A group of cute Asian women got out, and Jesse and I stood quietly and entertained, watching them walk around taking selfies with their selfie-sticks as well as taking pictures with their iPads. I don’t know why Jesse and I found this so amusing; I guess we need to frequent tourist destinations more often. We also noticed that most of the tourists we saw with selfie sticks were Asian. Just a curious observation.
After a bit more gaping, we crossed back over the busy intersection and headed back in town. I sometimes wished these historical sites were in more secluded spots, but then again, that was part of the charm and there was something very poetic about having the past in the midst of the present. Anyway, the walk back into town was very peaceful. I liked Orange a lot and wished we’d gotten to spend a night there and get a better feel for it. It seems quaint (minus the theater) and it was very peaceful. We picked up a baguette from the cafe we’d eaten at that morning and ate some of the leftover jamón and cheese from Barcelona and then hiked back over to the train station to hop on the train to Arles.
Also, here’s a video of the theater that I forgot to share in my last post.