Thursday, November 29, 2012
I was excited when we got to Arles, France which was the home base for Vincent Van Gogh when he did hundreds of his vibrant post impressionistic paintings. We went inside the asylum where he was interred after he cut off his ear. The inner courtyard garden was supposed to be planted exactly as it was when he painted it a hundred years ago. It was instead ripped up with all the soil in chaotic piles. It was a depressing sight so I decided to settle instead in a bustling public square called Place de La Republic. The street to my left was full of shops which Terry explored as I sketched.
In the center of the square is a fourth century Roman Obélisque. It was first erected by the Roman Emperor Constantine II in the center of the a large open-air venue used for public events in Arles. After the circus was abandoned in the 6th century, the obelisk fell down and was broken in two parts. It was rediscovered in 14th century. And it was re-erected in its current location in 17th century on top of a pedestal designed by Jacques Peytret. A fountain at the base was designed by Antoine Laurent Dantan in 19th century.
Diet Coke was being offered for free from a tricycle with a portable refrigerator on the front of it. Large groups of boisterous school kids sat at the base of the of the Obélisque. Empty coke cans littered the ancient paving stones at my feet. It is a shame I don't like Diet Coke, I was offered some every fifteen minutes or so.