San Francisco Interlude

April 11-14, 2019

We flew from rainy Portland to sunny San Francisco, with no views until we emerged from the clouds just in time to see the cliffs of Marin County, the Golden Gate Bridge, and all of San Francisco beneath us.

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Marin Headlands

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Golden Gate Bridge!

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The City

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Financial District and Bay Bridge

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The wide view as we circle to the south

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South Bay wetlands

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Foster City

We lived, studied and worked in San Francisco and surrounds from the mid-70’s to mid-80’s, but I have not been back for more than ten years. We were there for a 35th Reunion for my husband. Activities were set in the Embarcadero/Financial District, so we spent most of our time there. We walked a lot (16 miles!), talked a lot, and had some delicious food. A very pleasant, if exhausting weekend.

We rode BART from the airport, mostly underground, but above ground long enough to see the ‘Little Boxes’ near Daly City.

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My first view of downtown, emerging into sunshine from the underground Embarcadero BART Station onto Market Street, was of the Ferry Building, while a street busker was singing Hallelujah.

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That evening we took the Muni Metro to The Castro to meet a friend for dinner at Tara Indian.

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Queen Anne Houses along Market Street

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Intersection of Market and Castro

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One of the old-style street cars

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Looking down Castro Street

Friday we walked to the Ferry Building,

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The Ferry Building

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along the Embarcadero,

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Treasure Island, Bay Bridge, arriving ferry

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Coit Tower to the north

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The new Salesforce Tower on the skyline

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Cherry Blossoms across the way.

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Pier 7

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Crossing lattice

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Transamerica Pyramid beyond the bookstore

then up Broadway to City Lights Books,

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then back to the Ferry Building.

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Walton Square

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101 California Building

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Cherry blossoms

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Ferry Building, with moon and palm trees!

After dinner at Osha Thai on the Embarcadero, we walked down to see the lights on the Bay Bridge.

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Bay Bridge, daytime

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Bay Bridge, night

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Ferry Building, night

Saturday we visited the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building, then walked up to Chinatown.

In the evening we attended the main reunion event in the Hyatt Regency. The Atrium is an amazing indoor space that brought to mind the Ministry of Magic. Lighted elevator capsules slide up and down, sharply angled walls are juxtaposed with an organic sculpture in the foreground.

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elevators

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reflected patterns

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carpet

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seating areas

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tile pattern used throughout the Embarcadero District

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shadows, light, curves, angles

Sunday, we attended a brunch in a friend’s home near the Presidio before heading to the airport. One last look at Mt Diablo and the North Bay, then we were above clouds until the Columbia River and Portland.

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Mt Diablo

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North Bay – Carquinez and Benecia Bridges

 

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Columbia River

I have many fond memories of places that did not fit our schedule on this brief trip, especially Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, the beach areas. I am from California, and of California. Being in California feels like going home though it has not been my home for a very long time. I hope to visit again soon!

Knitting

I managed to turn the heel on the second sock while flying home.

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Garden

And our crab apple tree is finally in bloom!

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Flying home from London, May 2018

The last post for our UK 2018 trip!

May 12, 2018    It is a long flight, but luckily for us, there was a nonstop from London to Portland.

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Last views of the British Isles

Northern Canada – lots of pretty ice to  look down upon.

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The Rocky Mountains come into view,

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Our own volcanic mountains pop up under the wing, and finally, the Columbia River and Mt St Helens and we are home.

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Mt Adams, Mt Rainier and the Goat Rocks

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Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, the Columbia River

My favorite memories from the trip, as I am writing this 11 months later, are many.

The Jane Austen locations are at the top of the list – her portrait in London, her home and the big house in Chawton, the Quilt!, the Cobb in Lyme Regis, and then wandering around Bath, knowing that many of these sights were in her daily view while she lived there.

I enjoyed knowing my way around London for our brief stop there, revisiting some locations we had previously enjoyed, and also seeing the Natural Science Museum and Portrait Gallery.

It is always about the landscape! I love British literature, and have seen many of these locations or similar places on film, but there is nothing like boots on the ground for really feeling a place. Thus, the chalk cliffs, the Jurassic cliffs of Charmouth,  the downs, the hedgerow counterpanes and Dartmoor ponies on the moors, the blue water of Cornwall; the old castles and cottages juxtaposed with modern buildings, and then the Roman baths and Georgian Crescents in Bath – all fill in my minds eye where imagination leaves off, and I feel richer for the experience. I can see hobbits on the moors, Winnie the Pooh in the woods, mole and water rat on the river.

I would love to spend more time in Cornwall, and we have on our list another trip to Scotland. New Zealand, the Alps, and other destinations also call. This year we will remain stateside for reunions, weddings and graduations…exploration of new places are part of those plans as well. I feel very lucky to be able to travel with my husband on these fabulous adventures!

Columbia Hills, WA, Tryon Creek, OR, and some Brioche Knitting

Crawford Oaks 4/4/2019

We had to drive 75 miles east to the Columbia Hills to find a dry hike this weekend. We started up the road to Eight Mile Falls, then continued on the Vista Loop. It was a bit late for grass widows and yellow bells, and a bit early for full balsamroot display, so we had a bit of each, on a windless day. A lovely hike, and pretty easy, compared to when we hiked here about a year ago and I was less than two months post surgery. Next spring, we will attempt this hike a few weeks later to get the full balsamroot experience.

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Bird welcoming us to the trail.

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The graphic showing the depth of the Missoula Floods here always impresses me.

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Eight Mile Falls

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Looking back west toward the river and Horsethief Butte.

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One of the scattered early blooming balsamroots.

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View to the west, toward The Dalles

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View to the east toward Biggs

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Looking north to the Columbia Hills

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One swale of shooting stars – first of the season

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A blue jay near the trailhead

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Last look at Horsethief Butte

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Hike #15, 5 miles/1000 feet

The wildflower suite:

Sunday dash around Tryon Creek to see the Trillium

4/7/2019   A rainy weekend in Portland, a weather window, so we went:

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Trillium in swathes in the woodlands, and individually along the trail.

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After a weekend of rain, some flowers were becoming transparent

Other flowers included skunk cabbage in the bogs near the creek.

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Lots of water dripping, but we mostly avoided actual rain.

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cedar

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violets

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Oregon grape

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(Hike#16, 2.2 miles, 200 feet)

Knitting

Progress on the Vintage Prim hat, with brioche:

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I will just say that there has been frogging, and use of lifelines. I have even learned to fix one or two stitches, but a big fix is still beyond me with this technique. I do love how it looks!

Spring Break 2019 – Knitting and Cherry Blossoms

Knitting – Frost Slippers

I crocheted the steeks,

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and cut,

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and cut again.

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I have basted the edges, and blocked.

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Frost Slippers – uppers and soles, blocked.

Next I will sew soles to uppers, then add cuffs. There is a lot of finishing work in these slippers, but so far I am intrigued enough by the process to keep going!

Lyle Cherry Orchard, WA    3/29/2019

A beautiful day to hike up the cliffs above the Columbia River with friends, and try the new trail switchbacks. There are a few old cherry trees along the uppermost cliff loop that were not in bloom today, but we saw many wildflowers, including some balsamroot. (Hike #14, 5.6 miles, 1500 feet)

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We are headed to the top of the cliffs…

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The second bench

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River cruise below…

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One of the vernal ponds along the upper trail

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View to the east from the Cherry Orchard

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And to the west

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One of the new switchback legs – nowhere  near as steep or cliffy as the former trail.

Plenty of new flowers along the way:

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Yellow parsley and gold stars

Neighborhood flowers…

Lots in bloom these days,

including poetry:

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Portland Cherry Blossoms –  Sunday, March 31

The waterfront on a sunny day with cherry trees in bloom. Today is a day for embracing the crowds.

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We decided to walk up onto the Steel Bridge to look down on the waterfront.

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Views from the Bridge:

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I love the railing shadows.

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Wandering around amongst the trees and crowds:

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A maple tree budding out, with bugs!

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White Stag and Old Town Water Tower behind the trees.

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View of the eastside of the Willamette River.

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And a little Portland weirdness, because it is always here.

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Group-peddled brew cycle.

Spring Flowers, Coyote Wall and Portland

Coyote Wall, WA,  Thursday, March 21, 2019

Up the Little Maui trail, more up on the Old Ranch Road and Coyote Wall trails, then, down the Little Moab trail, with the early flower suite just opening…(Hike #13, 4 miles, 1100 feet)

Hiking up the waterfalls of the Little Maui trail:

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Gold stars and Salt and Pepper (biscuit root) sprinkled across the landscape.

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Long banked switchbacks to aid the cyclists

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Lunch stop

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Columbia Desert Parsley guiding the way

Looking up to our cliff-edge destination along Coyote Wall from Old Ranch Road:

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Views from the cliff:

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First look.

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We go a little higher

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Looking back toward Oregon; Mt Hood a faint wisp on the horizon.

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Our highest viewpoint for the day.

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Starting down – looking east toward the Columbia Hills and Tom McCall Point.

The flowers:

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Grass widows

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Gold and Prairie stars, Spring whitlow-grass

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Spring whitlow-grass, my pinky for scale

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Swales of gold stars and whitlow-grass

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Yellow pungent desert parsley

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Columbia desert parsley

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Salt and pepper, and grass widows all the way down the slope.

Knitting

Learning the increases and decreases that make brioche knitting look so magical…with a lifeline!

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Vintage Prim Hat, pattern by Andrea Mowry.

Garden – the first tulip! and Star Magnolias!

Better late….flowers are opening in the neighborhood:

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Our first tulip

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star magnolias

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I don’t remember the name of these.

Late Early Flowers at Catherine Creek, WA, with Robins

March 14, 2019    Bitterroot Trail to Rowland Wall

We hiked a Catherine Creek loop, up past the vernal ponds along the Bitterroot Trail, then down Rowland Wall. (Hike#12, 3 miles, 1000 feet)

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Fairy ponds

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View to the east from the Bitterroot Trail

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The Arch

We saw the first wildflowers just beginning to bloom.

On the upper grassy slopes we noticed robins hopping in the grass all around us.

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There are probably a dozen robins bobbing and hopping in this view, though they are hard to photograph as they don’t stay still for long.

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Here is one…

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And another one in the snow.

The snow level was about 1000 feet, and we could see extensive snow covered landscape in every direction, though it is melting out.

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Still looks very snowy out in the high desert

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The orchards of Mosier, and Mt Hood

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Rowland Wall, Rowland Lake, Mt Hood beyond the Columbia River

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Mere

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Returning via the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks. Burnt trees on the Oregon Gorge skyline.

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Knitting

I finished the soles for the Frost Slippers, but haven’t yet crocheted the steeks.

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I have started the brioche patterning on a Vintage Prim hat.

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Garden and Neighborhood

The hyacinths finally bloomed out front,

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and there was our annual neighborhood St Patrick’s Day parade down the street.

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Bath, UK – May 11, 2018

Day 16, Roman Baths, River Walk, Postal Museum

Our second day in Bath (Bath, Day 15) began with a tour of the Roman Baths. The natural hot springs were a social center for Romans in the first to sixth centuries AD, and then for the Georgians in the 1700-1800’s. Museum exhibits describe life in Roman times. Docents dressed in Roman attire add to the ambiance, anachronistically juxtaposed with the adjacent towering spires of Bath Abbey and other Georgian buildings, and the modern day tourists and buskers.

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The Roman Baths

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The Great Bath

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Roman History

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Georgian History

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Floor plan

More exterior details:

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Brick Arch

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One of many Victorian-era statues of Roman leaders on the terrace

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View of Bath Abbey beyond the terrace

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Roof tiles

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Another Roman – Agricola

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Ionic columns

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The Great Bath

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The Sacred Spring

History and archeology exhibits were informative and a little overwhelming. A few visits to this museum would be necessary to take it all in.

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Reconstructed model of the Roman Baths

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Mosaic floor from the bath house

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Pottery

Many items have been recovered from the springs during archeological studies. DSC04853

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Pre-Roman coins

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Keys

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Roman Coins

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Jewelry

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Curses written on metal pages

More underground architecture:

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The spring

Hypocausts – The Romans devised a method of underfloor heating. Stacks of bricks allowed for warm air to be circulated in the space below the spa room floors.

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A last look at the Sacred Spring and the Great Bath:

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Roman docent

River Walk

After our tour we wandered up and down both sides of the River Avon, and found a picnic ground viewpoint to eat our lunch.

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Pulteney Bridge from the Parade Grounds

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Looking toward the weir and Bath Markets

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Tour boat

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Pulteney Bridge

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North side of the Pulteney Bridge

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Looking up river from the Pulteney Bridge

We did a little window shopping and wandering.

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Approaching the backside of one of the crescents

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Book shop window

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Fascinators for the upcoming Royal wedding (Meghan and Harry, 2018)

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Street mural

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Public staircase

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Looking up

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Old school

Bath Postal Museum

After shopping and walking for a while, we decided to visit the Bath Postal Museum. The well curated exhibits highlight many curiosities from the early history of mail as a commercial and government endeavor. 

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A lightweight coach designed to speed transport of mail delivery, 1874.

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The world’s first self-adhesive postal stamp

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Victoria on the Penny Black stamp

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WWI era postcards

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The cross written letter uses every bit of letter paper – must have been a challenge to actually read.

At this point, we had used up all of our sight seeing time. We ended the day by driving to an airport hotel near Heathrow, to prepare for our flight home the next day.

Daffodils and Knitting

March 12, 2019

The wildflowers I like to hike to are still under a foot of snow out in the Columbia River Gorge, but the garden is finally starting to bloom. Daffodils in my front yard are opening and not freezing.

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Knitting Slippers

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I found a free pattern from Knit Picks for Frost Slippers. I already have the same wool yarn,  leftover from my son’s Dr Who Scarf, which I knit for him in 2011. The yarn, Wool of the Andes, is a bit toothsome, but perfect for stranded color work, and I got the itch to make these slippers. The trick of the project is that the uppers and soles are knit two at a time, magic loop method, then steeked and sewn together. So the knitting looks like a crazy balaclava, but is very fun to do. I have finished the uppers, and am making good progress on the soles. We’ll see how much I do or don’t like the steeking and sewing, but I am enjoying the interesting construction so far.

And just for fun, I’m adding a photo of the Dr Who scarf – 120″ long!

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Winter Travel in the Portland Art Museum

 

Portland Art Museum   3/3/2019

I visited the Portland Art Museum instead of going for a hike last weekend, as it is still snowy and too cold out for me. There were three exhibits I wanted to see.

The Map Is Not The Territory

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This exhibit focuses on relationship to geography by artists who are Indigenous people.  The floating rocks piece has been advertised all around town, and certainly appealed to me, with my past as a geologist, and my love of hiking in the natural world. The artist Annette Bellamy had three striking pieces that I contemplated for a while:

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The circle of chairs, blankets and shoes by Charlene Vickers created a sense of community.

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Modern American Realism

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This collection had some beautiful images that reminded me of places I have been.

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We visited the Dalles Dam about a month ago, so when I saw this picture glowing across the gallery I immediately recognized the place.

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The vivid colors attracted me to this painting of a forest in autumn.

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A family member’s kitchen could have been the inspiration for this painting.

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Picturing Oregon

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The vivid colors in this painting immediately reminded me of the forest painting in the previous exhibit.

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We have enjoyed hiking in the John Day country.

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A stroll through the art gallery provided lots of inspiration, and mental traveling, out of the cold. The photos never quite do the artworks justice but at least remind me of my journey. There were many more pieces in the museum. These were the images that caught my attention that day.

I also visited a portrait of  George Washington, who was scrupulous about even the perception of conflict of interest while in office. Here it is, compared to his portrait  in the British National Portrait Gallery, which we saw last April.

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Portland Art Museum

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British National Portrait Gallery

Knitting

I cast on another brioche hat and some stranded knit slippers, both out of leftover stash yarn, and still have an ongoing sock.

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Garden

We planted a Black Tupelo street tree where our flaming ash had been on the parkway, with help from Friends of the Trees.

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Our spring flowers are trying to bloom, but it is snowing again!!!

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hyacinths

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crocuses

Exploring Bath, UK – May 10, 2018

Day 15 – Following Jane Austen around town

We left Devon and drove to the city of Bath in Somerset, a world heritage city known for Georgian architecture and Roman Baths. Also home to Jane Austen for a few years of her life, and the setting for parts of her novels – Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

After setting up in our B&B on Charlotte St, we took an Open Top Bus tour, then walked around town to get a closer looks.

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Signpost map of Bath, with some of our highlights circled.

Jane Austen Centre:

Our first stop was the Jane Austen Centre on Gay Street, which is just down the block from Number 25, where Jane Austen lived in 1805. It is now a dentist office.

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Jane Austen Centre on Gay Street

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25 Gay Street, home to Jane Austen in 1805.

Jane Austen spent some time in lodgings near Queen Square. She would have been familiar with the Obelisk in Queen Square Gardens which dates back to 1738, and was made in honor of the Prince of Wales by Beau Nash, the Master of Ceremonies of the town at the time. It is made of the same Jurassic oolitic limestone that is the prominent building stone throughout Bath.

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Obelisk in Queen Square

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Bath Stone – Jurassic oolitic limestone

While on the Open Top Bus Tour, we were shown another of Jane Austen’s former residences at 4 Sydney Place near the Sydney Gardens.

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4 Sydney Place – Jane Austen lived here in 1801,

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and walked here.

Jane Austen would have been familiar with many other Georgian buildings around town:

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St Michael’s Church

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Bath Abbey

The Pump Room: Where people drank the waters in hopes of improved health. Some of Jane Austen’s characters met in the Pump Room for their daily drink and for socializing.

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The Pump Room is now a restaurant.

A few other streets and shopping areas:

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Great Pulteney Street

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Milsom Street

The River Avon runs through town, and we crossed several times. This is the view of Pulteney Bridge from the North Parade Bridge:

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Two of the landmark Georgian streets and buildings in Bath are The Circus, and The Royal Crescent. The imposing curved edifices are built of Bath Stone.

The Circus: Three massive crescents form a complete circle around a central green.

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A closer look at the architectural details along the eaves:

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The Royal Crescent: An even larger crescent of Georgian buildings.

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The Royal Crescent is over 500 feet long and difficult to photograph!

We walked along the Gravel Path, a protected off street pedestrian walk that leads from the parks near the Royal Crescent to the heart of town. It is where Jane’s characters Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth finally found some privacy to declare their love.

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The Gravel Path

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The Gravel Path

Bath is an easy town navigate on foot, and if we had been staying longer, it would have been easy to walk into the surrounding hills to see other places where Jane Austen walked. For this day, it was time to enjoy a delicious Indian meal and then plan our next day’s adventure – to see the Roman Baths, and a little more sight seeing around town – our last full day of the trip.

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