on one of my first days in nevers, i walked outside with my hosts and said, "look! a parade!" it turned out to be a labor protest. it was interesting- in spite of my gripes with this complacent small town i'm in (see yesterday's post), seeing this was really cool and showed me how different things are here. people regularly protest things and aren't afraid to be seen in the streets like this. on the down side- the protests are generally organized by the unions and so people aren't really taking to the streets of their own accord- they're just showing up on the day the union folks tell them to. but it's more than folks do in the states, and so i was happy to see it. and che. this particular protest i think was put on by the educators' union.
from the amazing cathedral in nevers, i give you gargoyles. an infinitely interesting and highly amusing architectural development that i wish we would embrace in the states. this cathedral is about 5-10 min walk from my friends' apartment where i'm staying.
this is one of the towers that is part of the wall that used to surround nevers in the good ole days, back when cities were walled and there was only one way in or out, through the gate.
this is a duck on the loire, the river that runs through nevers. it's lovely and i like to walk by it.
the aforementioned cathedral of nevers. it was originally a roman construction, but was overhauled in the 14th century in gothic style. it was accidentally hit during air raids on nevers during world war 2 and most of the stained glass windows were demolished so now they're done in a more modern style. it took them nearly 20 years to get things back in order after the bombing, but in the course of things an 8th century roman baptismal thing was discoverd below the actual cathedral. it had been forgotten for hundreds of years.
this is the ducal palace of nevers, sort of like the county seat. nevers is in a region called nievre- the guy who oversaw all of nievre historically lived here. nevers is a city in the county of nievre, in the larger province of bourgonne- aka burgendy. like the wine. yum.
today was a nice day. we drove around and ended up going to this archeological site on a mountain called mont beuvray. originally there was a celtic city there, around the time of jesus. then it was subsumed by romans and became a roman regional capital. in the 19th century, an archeologist discovered it all and excavations are still happening. i took some pictures, but they don't really show much. it was really interesting, though. hard to picture it today, as now it's all forested and were it not for the tents covering the archeologists' holes in the ground and various signs posted around, you'd never guess there was once a pretty good sized city there. this history here really is incomprehensible to me, the naive american. i can't imagine what it would be like to visit a place like that and feel that history as your own. whenever i see something human made in the states that is more than a couple hundred years old, it's something native american and i can't claim it as my own and feel that ever present guilt in knowing that my poeple pillaged their people. here, when a french person visits a 2000 year old french ruin, they know that it's theirs and that those people are where they came from. in america it doesn't work that way.
last night we went to an art show reception. part of it was really pretentious and i had to bite back my snorts of cynical laughter. especially when the music came on. michael jackson featured prominently, much to my dismay. the one good american song they played- debaser, by the pixies, got vetoed by somebody about 1/3 of the way through so they could play more crappy american dance music from the 80s. parts of the reception were cool and i had a nice conversation with this woman who was very patient with my terrible french. i told her about my search for anarchists and she had some ideas and was very interested in the whole thing. all in all, it was good to see the french folks get down- lotsa drunk dancing going on and people enjoying themselves.
that's right- now i have "terrible" french and am leagues beyond where i was when i got here nearly 3 weeks ago when i simply had none. little by little.