Monday, August 30, 2010

Shakespeares Globe..

I haven't read too much Shakespeare in school. Its something I've been wanting to do all along something thats been on my To- Do list for ages.
But Literature doesnt just tell us stories , they tell us tales of a past that we dont know, that we havent been part of. It tells us about histories long forgotten. It tells us about how people lived and how they saw the world then.And so it is with Shakespeare. Rather than just read catching the plays seemed to be a better option

The Shakespeare's Globe is a reconstruction of Shakespeare's original Globe theater. The original was destroyed by a fire.It really does endevour to create an experience which is a throwback to his era.
We watched the 'Midsummer Night's Dream' one cold evening at the globe. I mention the cold, because as the evening wore on , it became a tangible presence amidst us. The Globe is open. We were not bold enough to buy tickets for the Yard where you can stand and watch the play much like what was done long ago. We were seated in the Upper Pavilion.

View of the stage from where we were seated..

It was such a wonderful viewing experience
There were no mikes, no fancy sets. Everything boiled down to the acting prowess of the actors. They spoke in loud voices, sang, danced, mingled with the audience as part of the play. It was very differnt from our previous Experience at the Lyceum where we watched 'The Lion King'.

The Yard, from where you can stand and watch the play..

During the performance..

Overall we had a very enjoyable evening and will be back to watch more, next time around its a slice of History that we want ;) (Henry IV 1 and Henry IV 2)

Tickets can be booked online. But they are sometimes very hard to get and most plays seemed booked well in advance. So keep your eyes (and ears ) open.  I sure am going to :)

M

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tales from the Underground -2..

A small note on Reading Preferences..

I pick up the metro , cringe reading about Life's unpleasant realities on the first few pages, move on to the national news and world events, devour the book reviews and features on travel destinations, and then just skip the sports page :)

With amusement noted that the co-passenger sitting across me started reading the paper in reverse order.. Starting from the Sports page!!!! Interesting indeed

M

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hola..

Tickets almost done..
Most of the research done..
Reservation almost done..
Vaccinations??... Boooo Hooo..I hate needles..
..and yeah lots of paper work!

Am ExciteeeeeeeD!

Bath..

Stone Cold after our windy rendezvous with Stonehenge, we settled into our seats and sat back enjoying the ride to the charming English city of Bath. We were given a quick glimpse of this gorgeous city as our bus drove around Bath and out Guide pointed out to most landmarks of note.

Driving around Bath..
Bath is such a pretty city.  At the heart of it likes The Ancient Roman Bath , beautifully preserved.
Now a world heritage site, the Baths were constructed by the Romans around Hot Springs in this area.  There also stands a temple to the Goddess Minerva. The Audio Guides provided plenty of information about the history.

The Roman Bath

The City.. Almost all the buildings are made of Bath Stone...

Just outside the Roman Bath is the Famous Abbey. We did not go inside.
Bath is an architectural marvel. So we prayed for bright sunshine and walked around this beautiful city . Bath wears the golden hues of her buildings almost all of which are made of creamy Bath Stone .  Since Bath is right on the River Avon, as an artist I would have loved to do a Venice and see the reflections of these buildings , unfortunately the River is not as central . So its entirely upto my imagination and I've given myself the creative license to paint what my minds eye wants to see :).

An explosion of culture sees itself in the abundance of theaters, museums, architecture , two colleges. The space around the Abbey was filled with artistic performances, dance and music.

Dancers.. The Bath Abbey in the Background


Beautiful Performances

Sally Lunn - The oldest shop in Bath

We lunched on a little place above the Pulteney Bridge, and my fascination for boats and seascapes kept me standing on the bridge, watching the seagulls land .. The bridge is lined with shops and is supposed to be one of the very few bridges in the world that is so..

The Pulteney Bridge

We enjoyed our day out .. Hope for bluer skies next time around :) As evening descended we drove out and back to London.

M

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stonehenge..

We took the day tour to Stonehenge and Bath. Anderson travels offers one day tours and it was perfect for the weekend.
The bus got us right outside London Bridge and we hauled a few more passengers along the way.
It was cold and we hoped that the weather gods would be kind, We prayed for clear blue skies. :)
But they had other plans. As the ride unravelled we found ourselves inside the pretty English country side.The unending yellow of beautiful mustard fields against the backdrop of dark grey provided a somber mood for the journey. Since we left early we did have to get some coffee to get the sleep out of our systems.
The commentary from our tour guide provided interesting insights not just into what might have been the history of Stonehenge,but also about the life in and around these areas. As instructed we kept an eye out for Tanks, as they were supposed to be tested here.
We did not see any. We did catch fleeting glimpses of hares hopping across fields disappearing into bushes.

When we got to Stonhenge we had no idea how chilly it was outside. The open expanse left us vulnerable to cold gusts of wind. We almost froze at the end of the tour.
We were given our audio guides and we walked along listening. Even today nobody can tell for certain what those stones represent or why men undertook the herculean task of bringing them up there.
What is agreed upon is that it was definitely a huge feat for men from anytime. The oldest stones could be as old as 3000 BC.

Our first view of Stonehenge

There seemed to be three concentric rings of stones, some placed(arranged) on top of others. It looked like some kind of Roundtable. To me at first glance it definitely looked like some kind of sundial. The word Stonehenge could mean 'Hanging Stones'. Researchers can't tell for certain though. Nothing about Stonehenge can be said for certain :). That by itself should say how old these stones should be , so old that research really hasn't been able to reach out far enough into the past and place the pieces of the jigsaw such that they fit!

The Etymology of Stonehenge was explained in Wikipedia.
"The Oxford English Dictionary cites Ælfric's 10th-century glossary, in which henge-cliff is given the meaning "precipice", a hanging or supported stone, thus the stanenges or Stanheng "not far from Salisbury" recorded by 11th-century writers are "supported stones". William Stukeley in 1740 notes, "Pendulous rocks are now called henges in Yorkshire...I doubt not, Stonehenge in Saxon signifies the hanging stones."[7] Christopher Chippindale's Stonehenge Complete gives the derivation of the name Stonehenge as coming from the Old English words stān meaning "stone", and either hencg meaning "hinge" (because the stone lintels hinge on the upright stones) or hen(c)en meaning "hang" or "gallows" or "instrument of torture". Like Stonehenge's trilithons, medieval gallows consisted of two uprights with a lintel joining them, rather than the inverted L-shape more familiar today. - Wikipedia"


The closest we got to the stones..

How did these stones get here? It would have definitely taken many men and a lot of effort leave alone hauling them one above the other. It would have required some kind of engineering. There is actually a school of thought which believes that since only a very sophisticated society could have pulled of this incredible feat, it was probably done by aliens . (Raised Eyebrows?... No me doesn't like Aliens too much so am just hoping its giant men..They definitely seem more benign )

"Stonehenge's orientation in relation to the rising and setting sun has always been one of its most remarkable features. Yet it remains uncertain whether this was because its builders came from a sun-worshipping culture or because - as some have asserted - the circle and its banks were part of a huge astronomical calendar?

What cannot be denied is the ingenuity of the builders of Stonehenge. With only very basic tools - such as antler picks and bone 'shovels' - at their disposal, they dug the enclosing ditch and erected the bank, later using similar tools to dig the holes for the stones.
" - English Heritage

The inner circle :)

The closest we got was a couple of feet away from the inner ring. The rings are cordoned off using ropes. Stonehenge is a world heritage site and was voted as one of the wonders of Briton.

Our parting view..
As we walked on it got colder and colder. Walking through a vast expanse of open land with no cover to break the icy cold winds blowing right at us , is not the easiest thing to do. We walked back to the bus and at one point I was convinced I could hear my teeth chattering. We stopped for some Hot Chocolate and this time it was the Hot part of the Hot chocolate which seemed yummier than the Chocolate itself

Mustard Fields

As we drove away it was hard to stop myself from thinking about this mysterious place. When you visit places like these you are left with the longing to know just a little bit more , a tiny peek into what went through the mind that engineered this structure, who would have had such an idea and what did it take?..

I felt the same feeling when I visited Roopkund in the Himalayas last year. It left me wondering why a congregation of so many had been there and how they had perished, 'The Riddles of the Dead' , as National Geographic eloquently put it. Who were these people and why were they here? Will we ever know?

Later Guys
Meena

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