Tuesday, December 28, 2010


No, this is not a photo of ants taken with a macro lens.

It's a picture of people skating in an outdoor skating rink in Narbonne, France, set up for the Christmas holidays.

At night the rink has been illuminated with colored floodlights.

Normally this area is an archaeological dig framed by a town square, with steps leading down to the remains of an old Roman Road. One evening recently, I watched on my iPad as some trucks and construction equipment pulled up to the site and in a few days this temporary skating rink was built over the pit. The outdoor cafés here, no longer appealing in the cold weather, gave way to a new round of fun activities for the public.


Pat said...

Ahhh Louis, off on your IPad adventures again, I see!!

How nice of the town-council, or whomever it was, to do this, eh? It shows that someone's thinking cap was on. Usually, all people think about is $. How nice to see that somewhere, someone thought of making a horrid snowed-in time a time of fun.

(I'd rather not think that the shop-owners got together and thought this up to give business a boost during these cold, snowy weeks.)

louis said...


Looking at sites all over Europe, including Eastern Europe, one is struck by that realization: that there is a focus on people enjoying their cities and public spending channeled into creating an environment for public socializing. Every city webcam I have seen shows squares being transformed into such venues. No doubt there is commerce involved, but that seems more like a natural consequence than the main motive behind these fun sites.

Happy New Year!

Guanaguanare said...

Very interesting images and story! I feel a special solidarity with the ice skaters who have chosen the horizontal approach to negotiating the terrain.

About the post before this, you must tell Dave that he is now my hero and that I choked up over your account of that Christmas when he delivered the cake in person.

Great new header image!

I want to wish you and yours and all those who drop by, a Wonderful New Year! Good health especially so that you can continue to enjoy the world. I look forward always to your sharing that enjoyment with us via your blog.

Thank you for your solid and comforting presence in a world that is often anything but. I anticipate another year of sharing ideas and friendship!

Feliz Ano Nuevo!!!


louis said...


I deeply appreciate your comments, support and wishes. I approach 2011 with a good deal of optimism, convinced that much of the sound, fury and ill-will of 2010 has been the death throes of an order and of attitudes that are passing into well-deserved oblivion. A very happy New Year to you.

I shall pass on to Dave your beautiful comment.

It was very funny to see that some of those "horizontal skaters" decided that continuing that posture was the better part of valor and continued on all fours across the rink.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

What a great alternative use for an archaeological dig, Louis! Imagine skating on top of a bit of an old Roman road. The colourful lights make it look like a winter wonderland. I'd love to be able to skate there. My Special Someone and I love ice-skating but skating in the Tropics always entail long queues in shopping malls.

louis said...

The incorporation of this archaeological dig in Narbonne into the usual life of the city, CO'78, is one of the most imaginative and public-spirited I have ever seen. The rink is built on a platform that spans the dig and does not interfere with it at all. Apart from the rink, the site is ringed by outdoor cafés and shops. It is also a meeting place where people sit at leisure on the steps or go down to explore the ruins. Sometimes there are outdoor performances at one end of the square..there is an ever-changing series of public activities. You and your Special Someone should make plans to go skating there next winter...I am sure the rink will reappear.

Ice-skating in the Tropics has at least two advantages: when you come out of the rink you won't be shivering in the cold or slip on an icy sidewalk:)

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