Date
October 4th, 2019
Author
Kay

4 October 

Before I begin - happy anniversary to my husband. We met 33 years ago, at the Fermain Tavern. His romantic chat up line - are you any good out on the wire? - he needed crew for sailing the next day! Fast forward and good job he’s moved on from boats to mohos!

Another easy meal last night, lyonnaise potatoes!

Another interesting batch of characters on The Apprentice! We approve of Tom Allen hosting The Apprentice you’re fired - thought he was very funny!

8am this morning, lots of activity outside - a man in his little digger truck filling stuff into a lorry. Tintin went out and gesticulated in such a manner as should we move, but got a cheery thumbs up and no need!

I drove today, just over an hour and we’re parked up at a park4night place in Vers-Pont-du-Gard. The reviews from here had said why pay €9.50 per person to park and visit the Pont-du-Gard, when you can hike in on the GR63 for free. So we took the conscious decision to be upright, get some movement in our day - and walk. Over four hours later and over 16,000 steps and we’re back for a well deserved cuppa!

A quick bit of history for you. About 25km northeast of Nîmes, the deep valley of the Gardon River is bridged by the Roman aqueduct, the 49m high and 275m long Pont-du-Gard. This mighty building work with three levels of arches was built in around AD 50 employing no mortar and using solid blocks hewn from the rock. It has 35 arches, each block was hauled in by cart or raft, and the largest weighs over 5 tonnes. It was part of a waterway stretching some 50km, by which water was transported to Nîmes from the river Eure (northwest of Uzès), although this is at an elevation of only 17m higher than Nîmes itself. Every day about 20,000 cubic m/4.4 million gallons of water flowed along the stone-paved canal along the top row of the arches, and that continued for as many as 500 years according to the lime deposits it left behind. The Pont-du-Gard has, in spite of all the interventions of time, been so well preserved that even in the 19th century it was proposed that it once more be included as part of a water distribution network. It even survived severe flood waters in September 2002 with no damage. The site attracts 2 million visitors a year. 

Back in the day, the rich people had water diverted to their houses, the poor - well they took what was left!

It took about an hour to get there, seeing various parts of the aqueduct in ruins on the way, and the anticipation was high. If I’m honest, my first view of it was a little disappointing - only because the photos used in books showed the river high, and the beautiful reflection of the arches. Firstly the river is quite low now, and the sun wasn’t really out, so scuppered the best pictures!

The ruins on the way
The ruins on the way

We wandered around the right bank - restaurant was full! Walked up to the view points, then walked down the left bank and went to the visitors centre. The cinema has a fifteen minute film on loop, which shows aerial photography using a drone, and a little about the construction. 

We then wandered through the museum with models and reconstructions. 

In the museum
In the museum

We did feel slightly smug that because we walked, we didn’t have to pay for anything!

You really have to be in awe of what the Romans managed to build - so long ago, without the technology we have now - and it’s survived for over 2,000 years! Very skilled masons to cut the stones to such an exact size that fitted perfectly without the need for mortar. 

There is a plaque alongside the old olive tree, which one translation is: “I was born in 908 AD in Spain and was planted by the Pont du Gard in 1988 – 1080 years later.” Wow, such an old tree, and people were allowed to climb in it!

We found that we had youths in cars playing rap music from about 5pm - so decided to move - still mentally scarred from when we stayed near the lighthouse and they carried on until the early hours! We’re now park at a municipal park, looking towards the tennis courts, and the place has a much better feel about it - quiet for one thing!

And here’s a selection of the photos from today - 

Gateway to the Gard
Gateway to the Gard
The car spoilt my picture!
The car spoilt my picture!
Crossing the Rhône again
Crossing the Rhône again
We liked this setter
We liked this setter
The water course, closed at this time of year unfortunately
The water course, closed at this time of year unfortunately
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Martin and Kay Dumont from Guernsey, first time motorhomers and ready to travel. ‘Dave’ is our Mobilvetta K Yacht 85, purchased in 2017 and travelled all the way from Italy. After following Jason and Julie Buckley’s blog 'Ourtour' for years I just couldn’t get the name ‘Dave’ out of my head. So the Mobilvetta had to be another 'Dave’. More...

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