This weekend we went to a city called Arles. Everything there is very old. There are some buildings that date back almost 2000 years. One of the places we went was called the Thermes of Constantin. It was a bathing place from the 4th century (and to be honest I’m a little surprised it’s still standing). Everything was kind of tumbling down and there were half walls and stairs. It was a little boring.
We saw some of the places where Vincent Van Gogh painted. There were easels exactly where he had stood so that you can see the view that he was looking at then. The two sites we saw were the spot on the Rhone River where he painted Starry Night Over the Rhone, and the courtyard where he painted the Garden at the Hospital in Arles. The Starry Night landscape looked very much the same as it did then (though we saw it during the daytime) and the courtyard looked the same but there were different plants growing (and the painting has a tiny hut in the background that I didn’t see).
The weekend was a festival in Arles, called the Festival of Rice. We were expecting to go see horses being shown off, but instead we saw a demonstration of a bull fight. There was live music and a lot of people sitting on bleachers around a ring. Inside the ring was a young bull that was running and charging at apprentice toreadors. The event must have been a practice for toreadors to learn their skills. We left when the toreador took out a sword because none of us could bear the thought of the bull getting killed. Even if the bull was not killed, I personally think it is the worst sport and is not fair for people’s own amusement that animals have to get killed.