EEC 4, 12th March 2005

I left my free campsite early as planned. Well, practically all my campsites are free, but they are normally not specially signed as such, "free overnight parking for camping cars" this one said. Or words to that effect. I continued to Vaison-la-Romaine and made some visitations of Roman ruins. Now these ruins are old, really old, even compared to the Mayan ruins, which still fascinate me because I can still imagine the priests standing outside their temples, high on top of a 50 metre pyramid, controlling the worshippers below.

Anyway, back to the present. Or rather, the past. In the first century AD the Romans were making statues.

They were constructing theatres. This one, 30 metres high, with seating for 6,000 people. (Much of it has been reconstructed)

They were constructing streets, paved for chariots, with shops on either side.

This is what it probably would have looked like. Remember, it was built before 100 AD.

They were also rather hot on drains. The main drains ran under the main streets above, rather as they do today. This is an example of a smaller drain. It would have been totally covered, as in the rebuilt part.

Can't imagine why they wanted such big drains. Ah, maybe this is one reason why........... Lots of people.

They also constructed heated baths and aqueducts to bring water, in this town there were two aqueducts, bringing water from different sources. They liked to make nice mosaic floors.

I continued and looked for more little roads.

This van is about 5 ft wide. My American RV would only just have made it down this lane.

It would not have managed along this road, which was the central road through the village.........

I missed a road junction and found a chateau with a superb view from the courtyard. I had to take 3 photos to cover the view and as you can see I'm not very good at sticking them together. But it was a super view. And wide.

Which leads me on to remark. I see these super views and say "Oh Wow!" to myself. I sometimes see something special and shout "Yippee!" or "Yahoo!". .... I see a small cat scurrying out of danger and smile. As I drive sometimes, again, I behave like a tennis fan, an automation almost, looking left, then right, then left, then right, so that I don't miss any of the view. I even drive slowly so that I don't miss anything. I stand enthralled in museums and by rivers or old buildings. I shake my bottle of vinaigrette sauce in time to the jazz music I am playing. I whistle, I sing, I jiggle, I bang imaginary drums, I wave my arms around.

But sometimes I think. Am I just kidding myself that I am enjoying my travels? How can one tell if one is actually happy? Or am I deep down feeling miserable? I don't know.

I do know that for 30 years I had insufferable back problems. I couldn't walk at times. I once crawled right across a smart restaurant because I needed a pee and I couldn't walk. Turns out the pain was caused by unconsciously sublimated stress making it's presence known. After I understood that these back pains went. They've been gone for more than 5 years. (Thank you Christine and Brent, for giving me the book that fixed my back problems) If the simple matter of reading a book can fix 3 decades of pain, then how can one be sure of anything?

What is real?

Marie asked me last night, why do I like to travel? I don't know. I just like it. So. Back to more travel accounts. I stayed the night by the side of another tiny little road, perched on the side of a mountain, with a superb view, and, at night, lights twinkling all over the valley.

Next day I found another chateau.

This is actually someone's house, temporarily abandoned in the courtyard is a gaily coloured child's plastic trike. Just imagine living here!

This is the view they have.

I continued on, and found more tiny roads with wonderful views.

EEC 4 addendum

After re reading my last email, I had a further thought. Very profound this. If there actually is any sense to my reasoning, much better, don't you think, to be miserable but kidding yourself that you are happy, than to be truly happy but kidding yourself that you are miserable?

I'm parked by a beautiful river, the sun is shining, there are clear blue skies, it's warm. Maybe the unaccustomed heat is getting to me......

Best regards

David Barker

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