Monday, February 26, 2007
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Cheddar Gorge - Eons ago the whole area was covered by an ancient sea and limestone resulted from the exoskeletons of all the sea creatures. Then a river started carving a gorge through the limestone and got lazy and carved some caves and just flows underneath it all. The village is very charming.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Paris - final picture taken from Sacre Coeur, of Paris laid out before you. We took the finiculaire et Basilique du Sacre Coeur up the hillside to Montmarte but walked down to the metro station.
Paris - gardens of delight! I really liked that the gardeners took chances and used exotic plants and combinations that were thrilling. I do like classical design so I was in my element. In one garden there was huge fountain and surrounding pond and children could rent antique sailboats and sticks to guide the sailboats on the little pond. They were totally entranced. It was fun that there were real live ducks and seagulls in the pond too just to mix it up. There were really old trees donated by Thomas Jefferson still flourishing. The chestnut trees have some kind of blight and many will have to be cut down and replaced.
Paris - The first image is an arc near the Louvre with gilding on the top. You enter the Louvre through the modern pyramid structure by going down several stories. The Louvre was formally a palace and it is gigantic. The art work of Paris is divided by epoch so the Louvre has earlier works of art and the Musee d'Orsay [ a former train station built in 1848 and painted by Monet...extreme right] has the Impressionists. There was some kind of scare the day we were there because the army was patrolling the Louvre with machine guns! I was amazed you were allowed to take pictures of the works of art in the Musee d'Orsay as long as you did not use a flash mode.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Paris - the same cafe under the awning in both pictures was a favourite haunt of Ernest Hemmingway. We just happened to pass by it twice. I really liked that important buildings in Paris have clear signs about went on there of significance in the past. One street we walked down was the birthplace of a famous French scientist and also had a plaque commemorating a French poet from 1944 who was captured and sent to Auschwitz where he died.
Paris - cafe life and the bistros on the side streets in the Latin Quarter near the Pantheon where I stayed. People had the cutest dogs. And the other image is a market stall of just mushrooms -- any imagineable kind was there looking deliciously fresh and delectable -- a vegetarian's delight!
Paris - these are typical colourful tourist barges on the River Seine. You can buy a ticket that allows you to get off at the various art galleries along the Seine for one price. How could you rush the Louvre so you could see them all in one day? I liked the copper bridge at the top left-- simple and elegant and such an expensive material for these days.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Paris from the top of Notre Dame - Unfortunately due to haze we could not see the Eiffel Tower.
It was scary at the top of the cathedral but it was impossible to fall off and the crowd was right behind you so no time to panic on the stairs...upward and onward. How did the workers in the 'olden' days manage their fear of heights and still create works of art?
Paris - Street and cafe scenes - People in Paris work hard and play hard. They stay late at the office and really want a break from work evenings and weekends. The fact that 50% live as singles and only have a tiny apartment all adds up to make cafes a very attractive place to linger.
Paris - interior shots of the apartment where I stayed --- small by North American standards but large by Paris standards where the typical apartment is 15 x 12 feet and costs 300,000 Euros.
London - ornate buildings everytime you look up, Big Ben, London Eye and crowds complete with a layer of garbage at least 6 inches deep as if you were walking on a cushion. At the London Eye you buy a ticket in another building and that other building was so crowded with tourists they asked everyone not actually buying a ticket to leave the building.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
London - Trafalgar Square top center and another square close to Piccadilly Circus where I stayed. It was very busy with tourists. I had a cruel laugh at people foolish enough to rent a big car and try to drive in downtown London. One fellow got himself stuck in a cul-de-sac with a pack of honking taxicab drivers heralding his every miscue. I was so glad to just be a pedestrian.
London- Views from my room... I am not certain of the population but 8 million sounds about right. The city goes on for a long time in all directions with both the underground, trains, buses... I find it unnerving how far down the underground lines are and how steep the escalators can be. I thought it was brilliant to use them during the war for air raid shelters until someone told me bombs would come bouncing down the stairs and explode when they hit a level. Wouldn't that be a piece of bad luck!
Bexley Heath - Red House - Final shots of the house where William Morris was still a young man [during its construction]. He was filled with ideals and wonderful design concepts that sometimes didn't work but still look magnificent .
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Bexley Heath - William Morris' s Red House - please let me indulge myself with lots of pictures. I have shown restraint and not shown them all. It was a miracle to find this place outside of London by train. A local man drew me a map of how to negotiate through back lanes, intersections and down what used to be countryside in the 1860's. William Morris was a dreamer and many of his plans for Red House were never implemented because they were impractical. He did hold worker bees whereby artist friends were invited to come from London for the weekend to paint different ceilings. He had an elaborate series of pegs so they would be able to replicate intricate patterns. He was not okay about the 'friendship' between his wife and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. When Sir Edward Burne-Jones and his wife were devastated by their loss of their daughter, enthusiasm for the Red House waned and the long journey it took to get there and so William Morris reluctantly left it behind.