Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sand between my toes...

On the Costa Brava of Spain.

We spent a month of total decadence in Spain. It was ... heavenly. Most of the days blended together in a haze of good food, cheap Cava and lots of swimming in the pool. Our daily routine mostly went something like this: homeschooling Mr. Munchkin in the morning, followed by escapades in the afternoon. I'll be showing you some of the highlights in the next few posts.

One of the first adventures was trekking down to some local Roman era ruins in Empuries. (Geeky factoid - the Spanish highway that we travelled on was the II. It still retains part of its Roman name - the II Augusta - as it was one of the primary roads to Ancient Rome.)


The town started as a Greek/Eutruscan trading port, and then the Romans took over and really built the city into a major stop on the Roman highway. It was fascinating seeing the construction techniques that the Greeks used initially. As you continue walking further through the site, you get to see how the Romans later dramatically improved on the Greek techniques.

There's only about 1/5th of the city that's been uncovered. And since the site isn't swarming with tourists, many of the original mosaics have simply been left where they were found. And you can walk right up to most of them.


There were three domus (houses) that were fully uncovered in the Roman town. Here's my favourite. The mosaic floor on the left is a HUGE banquet room. Since the site was only minimally cordoned off, we were able to walk around the house (except on the mosaics), and were left alone to dream a little.


Apart from a forum, arena and the requisite baths, there was also a small museum housing some of the finds from the digsite.



The top picture is of a very detailed mosaic showing the sacrifice of Iphigenia. I found the bronze bust of the woman to be particularly interesting, as its eyes follow you as you walk around. I didn't get a picture of the magnificent marble statue of Aesculapius, but here's a link. He was the patron god of the town, and there's a replica statute standing in the remains of his temple in the city.

And the best part of the day?

Moonrise on the beach afterwards.



Steph said...

I love the idea of being so close to something built so incredibly long ago. It boggles the mind, doesn't it? Especially when we live in a country where our personal history is so new, relatively speaking.

Marti said...