Postcard from Bordeaux, France: Another place Romans trod

Above, detail of a mosaic floor from Roman times uncovered in a house in the historic center of Bordeaux, Musee d’Aquitaine

In an effort to boost his power within the Triumvirate ruling Rome, Gaius Julius Caesar (100 to 44 BC) tucked Gaul under his balteus amongst his growing collection of conquered lands in 56 BC. Burdigalia, later known as Bordeaux, soon emerged as a favored city in the territory called Gallia Aquitania. Grapes assisted immensely: To keep the Roman army in conquering mode, soldiers required copious amounts of wine to wash down their spelt and farro.

The city’s most prominent landmark from the days of Roman occupation is the remains of an amphitheater, Le Palais Gallien. It is thought the once-enormous venue was built to accommodate the multitudes, more than 17,000 spectators, summoned to celebrate a visit from Emperor Lucius Septimius Bassianus, self-ordained as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (188-217) and better known as Caracalla.

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Where have all the chestnuts gone?

Above, chestnut in “our” backyard during 2019 stay in Naples, Italy

Not only was baby’s crib likely made of chestnut, but chances were, so was the old man’s coffin.

George Hepting, “Death of the American Chestnut” via Forest Pathology

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….” It’s one of the first seasonal songs that pops into my head this time of year. But why have we latched onto a song that is rooted around a tree many of us have never seen in the United States?

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Calling on souls on their days

Exploring cemeteries while traveling is among my favorite things to do, and here are some memorable places for pondering Day of the Dead or All Saints and All Souls days (click on links to view more photos).

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