Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bath Time!

Bath Abbey, situated immediately to the right of a
place where you can get ice cream and champagne.
Allo lads and lasses,

Welcome to a very special edition of my observations.  You see since moving to Paris, I’ve really not travelled a lot.  Some might say that I’m paying too much rent, others that my champagne bills are too high.  The fact of the matter is, that I’ve been so engrossed in the city that I really haven’t thought too look around too much.  Well, that doesn’t mean that I’m incapable and I’ll tell you what I did. 

I went to Bath… the legendary city with the endlessly flowing natural hot springs.  It was built up by the Romans way back in the day, though legend has it that people have been taking baths there for thousands and thousands of years.  I enjoyed such a bath a few weeks ago. 

Here’s what I observed:

Transportation:  The most amazing thing about getting to Bath is that I left at about 8am and arrived a little after noon.  I caught the metro to Gare du Nord and from there it was a 2.5 hour ride to London through the famed Chunnel.  I did not try to send any secret codes to anyone at the instant we were going through the Chunnel and to be honest, had I not been watching, I wouldn’t have noticed when we went into it.
This lady was the first historical
thing I saw in bath while walking
to the hotel.

  • Another tube ride from London’s St. Pancras took me to Paddington Station where I caught the train to Bath.  This train seemed slower than the French trains…. but really, it was only an hour or so and there I was.  Getting off the train, I found a visitor’s bureau right there in the station.
  • The Visitor’s Bureau directed me to the hotel with a map, suggesting I should walk.  Walk???  Yes ,my hotel was less than 3 blocks away.  We stowed our gear and were in the center of the city in no time.

Tourist Sites:  OK, Bath is not a big place.  In the center of town near the Roman bath ruins they do free city-walk tours.  It lasts a little over an hour and you get to see the main sites of the city with a friendly explanation.  It’s a bit of a snoozefest, but I learned a lot about the economy of a town with a hot spring.

The Roman Baths.  This building is of course
not even sort of Roman, but trust me,
there's Roman stuff inside.

  • The Roman baths themselves are housed in a Victorian brick building.  They are kind of nifty and feature several interactive displays, that explain what light was probably like in Roman occupied times.  You can’t actually use the baths, however, this is expressly for Romans. 

  • If you want to take a bath yourself, there is the Thermae Bath Spa.  It’s a very modern facility fed by the natural spa waters.  They have a rooftop pool, a basement grotto pool, steam rooms, foot-baths, a restaurant and a treatment center for massages and all manner of lotion rubbing.  You have to book ahead for massages as you’d be very lucky to get that just as a walk-in.  The pools and baths and steam rooms are super-cool, however and if I lived near Bath, I could go there every day, I’m sure.

Inside the Roman Baths.  I detected a few Roman accents while
investigating... I kid you not!

This is a cool display inside the Roman Baths explaining the layout.

Vampires:  Vampires don’t like water.  The spa is the safest place in the world that you could be.

City Life:  The rest of Bath is very village-like.  The center of town is closed to vehicle traffic and there are a lot of interesting one-of-a-kind shops.  My favourite had champagne and ice-cream.

A gorgeous river scene.  I was lucky to get very good weather.

This is the 18th century Pulteny Bridge.  It's a favourite site for painters and
gives spectators something to google if they haven't googled in a while.
  • Because the whole town is a UNESCO heritage site, the buildings and apartments there are rather expensive to own and maintain.  The populace is therefore somewhat more… well-kept than you’d normally see in a village this size.

Perhaps the second most famous structure in Bath is the Royal Crescent.
Don't even ask how much an apartment is to rent here.
Well that's all from Bath and that's all from me.  Don't forget to share or comment or click on my poll.  See you all back real soon!

Sir Robyn

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Paris Adventures...

A canal tour boat heads through the city and
prepares to tackle the intricate system of locks.
Bonjour my friends,

Much has happened since my last post.  Without further ado, I’ll get right into it.

Sports:  I kinda knew that I would like fencing, but I didn’t know I’d like it so much.  What’s interesting is how enthusiastic I get when it’s time to fight.  One of my fights was unbelievable.  After watching this really tall guy with long arms slaughter another of my classmates, he got put up against me.  I thought about samurai training and how sometimes, you just have a shorter sword… well in this case I had shorter arms. 

I decided that I would be very aggressive and get inside close and fast.  I guess he decided to be aggressive too.  We clashed… really clashed!  We crossed swords and bumped into each other, even ending up on the other side of one another at times.  The deaths were violent. 

On one pass I jammed my sword into his chest as he was lunging toward me.  My sword was nearly bent over and I thought it would break… or go into him and I let go of the handle!  The handle flew straight up.  I caught the the blade with my gloved hand; the tip the blade still poking into his chest. 

"Touche!"  I said. 

Art:  The Stein family collection is hanging at the Grand Palais right now.  I’ll wager there is a Miller in the collection, but of course many great painters will be on display.  I’ve already heard the reviews as emotional and fantastic.  I can’t wait.

  • My art on the other hand, perhaps stirs less emotion, but is really getting a lot better.  I’m about five weeks into the craft, and getting substantially fewer critics when I post my sketches on facebook.  Here’s a few for your viewing enjoyment.

A quick 2 minute sketch of last week's model.

In this exercise, we were not
allowed to draw the model,
but only to make shapes.

Here I try to draw the model.
So close!

Fashion:  Yesterday I saw a 15 year old girl walking down my street wearing a worn pair of Louboutins.  Draw your own conclusions from that…

  • The fall fashions are out and disappointingly, the men’s fashions are identical to last year; black suits with a choice of blue or purple shirt.  Seriously?  Even I will have trouble trying to rock out that look, despite that I've been getting slim enough to wear one of these skinny-assed French suits.

Food: I’ve finally witnessed the supermarket at the Galeries Lafayette.  Holy jumped up Jesus.  I could die there.  There is every kind of delicious thing a person could ever want… and you can eat it right there.

City Life:  I still haven’t made the move to bring my car to Paris.  I don’t need a car.  I can’t imagine needing a car.  Now, as thought to mock me for even thinking I might one day need a car, the city has created new electric car rentals… much on the same principal of the bike rentals.  Anyone want to buy a used Porsche?

  • I keep discovering new things in the city any time I go for a walk.  For example, in the 10th, I knew that there was a canal complete with locks or somesuch, but I'd never seen them work.  The other day, lo and behold, was a boat going through them.  It was a spectacle.

The tour boat eventually goes into this tunnel
where the passengers are devoured by vampires.

That’s all for now folks!  I’ve been behind in my posts and have stories about Prague and Bath to catch up on.

See you soon!
Sir Robyn