World’s dumbest bridge with a canal over my head!

As artistic a snap as I thought I could take of the arguably the world’s or at least France’s bridge with the dumbest name (Pont Vieux, which translates to Old Bridge), but, in this case, with the world famous French Canal du Midi about 5 meters above my head in the southern French village of Béziers,

Yes, that is a canal over my head (or in engineering terms, an aquaduct for boats) that traverses the River Orb.

France underwent an explosion of canal building in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and there are many spectacular examples of canals that traverse rivers or other obstructions.

Béziers building

Nothing special or historic or anything of that nature. I just liked how the building looked in the sunlight:

There are a number of southern French cities layed out similar to this one, with a large rectangle in the center, often used for a market, then tiny one lane roads on each side where traffic is unidirectional.

Old bridge over the River Orb

Hold on to your hat: the name of this bridge in French (and I am not making this up) is Pont Vieux. This is translated as Old Bridge. It’s either the world’s most dumbest name (implying the locals could not think of anything better) or the world’s most artistic name (using a humble self-explanatory moniker for a magnificent thing).

Anyway, dumb or artistic, it spans the River Orb in the South French city of Béziers,

This is a view of the bridge from high above, at the Cathédral Saint-Nazaire:

GUEST BLOG: The Dangerous Summer -or- Matador scrutinizes the Rhine Rider in Nimes

Continuing the series,

A guest blog, by Chuck Ritley

“Manuelito stood there waiting for the bike to charge as had all of the bulls in his career and all the bulls before that when he was young and he twitched the cape hoping to see some action so the crowd wouldn’t think him a coward since crowds judge matadors not only on their courage but on the courage of the bull but the bike had no courage and wouldn’t charge him and the crowd left one by one which is the worst insult to a matador until there was only Manuelito standing alone in the square and he knew he could have killed the bike had it but charged but it didn’t and he thought perhaps another day and another bike or another bull and I can redeem my honor.”

A snippet from the famous book by Ernest Hemingway:


This guest blog was submitted by Chuck Ritley, an adjunct professor of computer science with several major universities in the San Antonio area.  

The amazing, mind-blowing Étang de Montady

While scoping out the area near Béziers in the south of France on Google Maps, my eyes spotted this interesting thing:

Was this a special French signal to extraterrestrials? Was this perhaps a secret French nuclear installation?  I had to check it out!

Well, as you can see from the snippet in Google Maps, not only can you check it out but in fact there is a small, one-lane farm road that lets you drive right through it!  Here’s what I saw, rows and rows of drainage ditches:

Indeed, there were a series of drainage ditches – all filled with water – that were feeding radially into a center point. I spotted a nearby hill – at the top of which, coincidentally, is a Roman archeological site called L’Oppidum d’Énsérune, and from that place you can really see how huge this place is:

I discovered a bit more on Wikipedia. Turns out that this site dates back to the thirteenth century! Originally this land was a swamp, and they created this pattern in order to drain the swamp.  I would have loved to walk into the center of the installation, but there were a number of “private property” signs – and, to be honest, I was a bit worried I might accidentally fall into some type of a sink hole, or perhaps into one of the “sixteen vertical shafts” that Wikipedia talks about – so I’ll leave that on my bucket list for a later date.

Amazing futuristic city in the Camargue – 6

Continuing the series, I am quite glad I decided to publish these snaps one at a time. Each of them are so intensely amazing, if you were see more than one, there is a very real danger that your brain would explode!

Within the futuristic city I don’t know if I would go so far as to say there are thousands of buildings like this, but it is no exaggeration to say there are zillions of them at least, if not many more!

Aigues-Mortes – 1

A few years ago I stumbled quite accidentally across the medieval walled city of Aigues-Mortes, located in the Camargue region of southern France.  I posted a few snaps of what it looks like inside the walls.

I recently returned, and now I’d like to share a few snaps of what it looks like outside of the walls.

One of the most impressive things about the city is that it is located directly on canals that lead to the Mediterranean Sea, and in fact some of these canals divert the water into moats, as this snap shows:

Strange Things – 1

Every once in a while I encounter something strange and can’t identify it or its purpose – despite a bit of online investigation.

Here’s a good example. I took this snap just outside of the medieval walled village of Aigues-Mortes in the Camargue region of southern France:

No writing on it. Facing away from the parked cars – or else I’d naively think it is some type of electric charging station. The oval bit in the middle looks to be a cover with a hinge, but there is no obvious way to open it. Even Google Images could not help me out.

Amazing futuristic city in the Camargue

Will the amazing wonders of Camargue, France, never cease?!

This is an artists view of an ancient Mesopotamian Ziggurat in ancient Bablyon:

And, viewed at a distance, this is the very futuristic city of La Grand-Motte located in the Camargue of France:

First introduced to La Grand-Motte by the architect Jean Balladur, and as I will show in other snaps, there is a city ordinance that all buildings be Ziggurat in shape, which gives rise to the very futuristic look.

Amazing fishermen in the Camargue

Oh, the wonders of the Camargue that I have shown you!  The amazing Flamingos of the Camargue! The amazing salt of the Camargue! And the amazing horses of the Camargue!

And today, the tradition continues, because here is a wonderful snap of the commercial fishing boats of the Camargue, highlighted in a stunning white thanks to the intense clear air and bright sun of the winter in south France:

If you’ve got great peepers you’ll see a tiny Lidl supermarket in the center of the snap. It was filled with Camargue fisherman.