We arrived in Arles just before sunset, checked into the Best Western and were keenly dissapointed in the quality of the lodging and that we were paying double due to some mystery of advanced booking as against the spot rate for the room.  This is the first time a Best Western has not exceeded our expectations and the only time we have paid a premium.  In several instances, later in the trip, we have received a lower price than originally booked.

We found a student hangout and had a light snack with wine in the shadow of a magnificent Roman Colliseum.  This was unexpected because we had not done much research on Arles given it was an overnight stop on a long leg to get to Italy.  By the time we hiked up the hill to the colliseum it was dark and the lighting on the ancient structure increased the drama of this largely intact structure.  It is still being used today for entertainment events.

This first siting of a significant Roman structure made real the scope and genius of Roman engineering and civic organization.  As we have read, the Romans copied the Rome civic plan whereever they established a city of significance.  To see this example of effort and brilliance still in use 2,000 years later tends to make the accomplishments of our time pale, not in direct comparison but in relative judgement.  Both Heidi and I were educated in the Western Canon, but we never appreciated the importance of understanding antiquity to understand ourselves until you stand in it and touch it.