Friday, August 23, 2013
For our last little adventure this summer we took a day trip to Pont du Gard. Built in the 1st century AD, Pont du Gard is the highest Roman aqueduct bridge and was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. All summer long the various Roman sites we've seen have just boggled my mind. Honestly, I don't know enough about engineering to know how one would go about constructing an aqueduct today, but the thought that it was being done with the resources available 2000 years ago floors me. It's worth checking out the Wikipedia page on this if you're interested.
There were several bonuses at this site, including an indoor area for kids to learn a bit about archaeology, water collection and disbursement, and life in Roman times. An additional bonus, which we knew about ahead of time, was that you can swim in the Gardon River, just below the aqueduct. The water is frigid, but it feels great after hiking up and down the surrounding hills. And like all good Roman sites, there was ice cream available.
A side note: I do believe I've eaten more ice cream this summer than in the previous few years combined. I know that Anna's eaten more than she's had in the rest of her life! It's amazing how certain practices go out the window when the temperature is above 90. Every. Single. Day.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
For a while now we've been promising Anna that one day we'd take her to a real castle. Last year we talked about going to Versailles, but never made it. We intended to take her to Buckingham Palace, but didn't count on it being sold out days in advance. So with the determination required to brave the crowds, we finally made it to Versailles.
We were lucky to get a day that wasn't too hot, though after many, many hours of crowds and lines and walking David and I felt like we'd been through a battle. That said, you can't deny the beauty of the place, especially the enormous grounds. The sheer number of fountains is amazing, each with a different size, shape and theme. Time and time again a blind turn in the gardens would reveal some beautiful surprise.
Inside the chapel (which is inside the Palace).
One of hundreds of chandeliers in the infamous Hall of Mirrors.
A bedroom fit for a queen.
A detail from a painting of the coronation Empress Josephine.
View from the Grande Trinon.
One of the hundred of statues in the main gardens. I took a particular liking to her.
Monday, August 19, 2013
One of the weird, wonderful paintings at the Tate Britain.
The past week or two have come and gone, and I just haven't gotten around to posting. In London, we were crazy busy the entire week. It was great to see so many new things, but it was also exhausting and we got pretty burned out. By the time we arrived in Paris, we had lost most of the energy for sightseeing and mainly just hung out with friends (there was one major exception, which I'll post about next time!).
One of the beautiful horses at the Royal Mews (the stables for Buckingham Palace).
Waiting patiently for 4:00 tea at a London Tea shop.
A small painting by John Singer Sargent at the Tate Britain. He's my latest obsession (what can I say? I am very behind the times!)
In Paris, we took our friends to a few of our favorite haunts. This is by the Nikki de Saint-Phalle fountain outside the Centre Pompidou.
Heading to the Tuilleries by way of the the courtyard at the Louvre.
Flying high at the Tuilleries.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
The beautiful, enormous Museum of Natural History (which we did NOT make it into).
Ohmygosh London is big! BIG! So big that despite my best intentions, there is just no way we're going to be able to see many of the things I had hoped we'd get to. Some of it is due to crowds (The Natural History Museum, Buckingham Palace) and some of it is due to the sheer enormity of the places we do get to (the Science Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum).
Here's a look at some highlights from days 1-3:
Little Miss, setting out for our first day’s adventure. She’s in front of our lovely, if somewhat inconveniently located Airbnb flat in Kensal Green.
At the Science Museum, a model of a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud (with an airplane suspended behind it).
For the geeks among you :-)
A small portion of an elaborate monument to Prince Albert, in Kennsington Gardens.
In Kennsington Gardens
After a walk along the Thames, we stopped to admire Tower Bridge.
The Victoria & Albert Museum has the most amazing program for kids. For an hour at a time, they can check out themed backpacks full of information and materials that introduce them to works within the museum. Anna did this for eight hours one day and went back for more the following afternoon! Far and a way her favorite was the Architecture bag, which happens to be the newest addition to the program.
The view from the V&A courtyard, where we spent an hour sitting in the grass visiting with some Portland friends who happened to be in London at the same time.
We wandered from the V&A to a perfect little Indian restaurant.
The next day we spent time at the Transport Museum, which has great displays of various trains, buses, and cabs from throughout London's history. I just loved the mannequins in this one!
And a close up.
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Underground, the Transport Museum was displaying many of it's historical posters. This was one of my favorites (from 1938), though there were lots of great ones.