We had a splendid dinner yesterday night at the Butte-aux-cailles with some family.
The occasion was my recent PhD defense, but we also discussed tons of other subjects, especially in relation to history and art. Knowledge flows from my grand-aunt and uncle like water from a source: crystalline, distilled and enriched by years of travels. I should add that both have very impressive carreers behind them, at the Louvre for my grand-aunt and as a teacher/civil servant at the ministry of Industry for my grand-uncle.
What may have triggered it all, this time, was my not so innocent trivia that Rome, Istanbul and Paris are said to have seven hills each. After a quick count we were only able to locate 6 hills in Paris, 2 in Istanbul and 5 in Rome -well it seems Paris really has only six.
Then all bets were off, and in no time we were discussing travels, hearing about unexpected adventures, being told about grandiose peaces of architecture and to my delight simply submerged under roman history. The successive emperors Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus-Aurelius were of particular interest, and we wondered whether or not Hadrian was right to let one piece of the empire go -soon enough we agreed he was.
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