More Relatives Than We Could Shake A Stick At

After dropping off Grandma Vi in Toulon (near Nice), we headed North to Orange to meet up with Claudette’s Aunt, Uncle & cousin as well as her sister and hubby. It was really great to see more family again. Plus the town had a couple of pretty unique monuments. We visited and drank wine in the best French tradition at Chris’ sisters place and got caught up on all sorts of news every which way. The following day we then went to a winery for a tour. Those who were bilingual translated as best they could here and there for those of us who had blank faces at all the wrong places during the commentary. After the process description was the samplng. Extensive sampling I should say… They wasted a pretty penny in taste testing, but between the four “families who bought some bottles in the end, the family run winery pulled in about 400 euro’s. Not too bad for a 90 minute and 1.5 liter of sampling I should think. Some of us had more samples than others of us. Pictures will be posted in the next week or so once that camera disc is finalized… We had a great day and a bit all together and then everyone went off in different directions. We also made plans to meet up again in Paris since we are all there at the same time again.

We stuck around and found a hotel in Orange right across from the ancient Roman Amphitheater wall. The previous day we had met Chris & Viv and Mik at the arch in the center of town. This was pretty cool as arches go, but we didn’t really know any history to go with it. This was the only hotel we had booked thus far that didn’t have parking available. We were simply thrown to the wolves. We miraculously found one only a couple blocks away (easy rolling distance for the suitcases) and paid for as much as we could to suffice the next two nights. Very fortunately there was a holiday in the middle, and the ticket issuing computers take this into account (cool!) and so we would not have to come out and “plug the meter” every two hours for the duration of our stay.

With a little trepidation we embarked the next day on the amphitheater tour. This is one of only three remaining ancient Roman Aphm’s that have their backdrop wall intact. This monument was operated by a private company, and the entrance price was very reasonable. Even better was that fact that EVERYONE automatically got an audioguide. (see end of this post for a description). We were all pleasantly surprised and considered it a very worthwhile visit.If in the area, this is another very worthwhile site to visit. They even have performances there on a regular basis, which would be amazing to see and hear. The acoustics were beautiful, and while the stone seating was not great, the ambiance more than made up for it!

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An AUDIOGUIDE is a simple little telephone handset shaped device which gives specific commentary. It has a handle section with a keypad in the middle and a speaker at one end. There are noted stations along the area of this programed guided tour. At station 1 the user need only enter “1” on the keypad and press play. An extensive narrative about that specific point on the tour plays while the user listens. While going along a tour, there are also tertiary explanations, such as a more vivid description of what society in general was like at the time, or a reading of an excerpt of a play. The best thing is that the tour will be self paced for the user. Also, many languages can be easily programmed into different handsets thus vastly increasing the audience potential. We had never before used them, because we often had a guide, and everywhere else we’d seen them, the audioguides were extra money to rent.

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