The tower of the winds
The first time we visited Athens the tower we closed, but it was open the second time. It is found in the more modern Agora – the Roman Market area of Athens. The tower is arguably the world’s first weather station, contains a sundial, water clock and wind vane. The tower was build sometime between about 200BC to 50 BC, so is at least 2000 years old, and is in remarkable condition (well it has just been restored).
It is called the Tower of the Winds because each face should a different wind. The Roman Agora in Athens is worth a visit if you an extra hour or two to spare.
The Pont de Gard
The Pont de Gard is an old Roman aqueduct which was build around 19BC. That is over 2000 years ago. The aqueduct is now in the middle of a nature park, with lovely paths meandering through the greenery. If you walk down to the river, there are loads of places where you can sit on the bank and have a picnic. Unfortunately when we arrived it was raining, so we had our picnic in the car in the parking lot!
Fortunately the rain stopped and we were able to walk down to the bridge. The walk is only about five minutes from the car park. The bridge is very grand-looking in the pictures, but far more so in real life. It is built as three sets of arches. The first is about 20m high (you can walk across at this level), the second level is also 20m, and the final level is 5m high. The water course would have moved through the top level. The total length of the bridge is about 265m. It was quite intimidating to see this hugh bridge towering above me. If you look carefully at the pic on the right, you can see how huge the bridge is compared to the people below. You are standing on the first level, and looking up at the second and third levels.
The total length of the watercourse is about 50km, with a gradient if 1:3000, which means a total drop of only 15m through the entire journey. That is absolutely amazing engineering for the time. You are able to go and visit remains of the actual aqueduct itself, but it was too far a walk for today, so maybe next time.
There is also a visitor’s centre with a small museum and gift shop etc. It takes about one hour to get there from Avignon, but it is well worth it (The area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Centre).