Snap Judgments for the Undeserving

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Roma, Italia

Here I am in glorious Roma! This city will be my base of operations for the next month or so, as I help Amelia with her wedding, and later travel around with Katie (both Georgetown girls, by the way, cleary we are a cosmopolitan bunch).

I've been taking my time, and slowly exploring the city, saving my characteristic mad rushes through urban centers for the surrounding towns.

Ah Roma! It's so full of ... old stuff.
Here I am spending an afternoon exploring the Forum:

The Pantheon is still one of my favorite monuments...

I've had lots of time to explore the charming tiny streets and beautiful churches of Trastevere...

Santa Maria in Trastevere has kick-ass 12th century mosaics:

And the place is just brimming with this kind of thing:
(please note: I did not pay these people to do this, Rome just makes everything romantic).

My extended stay in Rome is being made possible by the hospitality of the fabulous Amelia and her fiance, Matt (who clearly didn't know what he was getting into), who are having me to stay with them in their Posh Roman digs through their wedding this May.

Amelia poses before the excavated ruins at Largo Argentina (incidentally, also our tram stop).

Over a fabulous dinner of hand-made gnocci in thier marble-tiled apartment, Amelia and Matt try to kill me with cuteness:

Friday, April 27, 2007

Salisbury and Stonehenge, United Kingdom

Having exhausted myself wandering the streets of London, I decided to try the same thing in nearby Salisbury for a change. The town was charming, and the Cathedral for which it is famous was suitably impressive.

Cuteness abounds in the intact Cathedral Close:
(I think the tangled wisteria just pushes this little vingette right over the top)

Makes one want to learn about Early English Gothic, yes no?

The attached cloister:

I'm very into vaulting these days ... look how happy I am!

Okay, okay, I confess: I came out here for Stonehenge and invented a plausible Medieval excuse to see it. Sue me. For more information about Stonehenge and how and why it was created, please view this Eddie Izzard sketch.*

Cue the mysterious New Agey music and the smoke machines...

This is me, before I donned my long druidic robes and processed around chanting proto-Celtic exortations to the Gods of the heavenly spheres.
(They didn't allow pictures of that part of the tour, sadly)


*In reference to Eddie's comments, it turns out there really WAS a woodhenge, built at the same site about 1000 years before all the stones were dragged there and set up. Weird.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Strange foreign signs, season 3, part 1.

London, England

Isn't this a bit esoteric ... even for the British?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

London, United Kingdom

Here I am in Britannia! Due to an issue with a "free" international ticket that I was awarded by an airline that will remain nameless, the only flights into Europe I could find this spring were through London. Tragically, this means that I have to stay here for a few days and frolic, uh, I mean cry.

As I'm sure you've all surmised, I've spent most of my time here thus far going from museum to museum. It's been lovely weather, too, so my walks between said museums have been very pleasant.

The National Gallery makes me happy

The British Museum is also fantastic
The Parthenon frieze has always been my favorite part

Of course, Viking stuff is always nifty and shiny

And, of course, the V and A exists to shower me with 14th century French Ivories

I also took a peak into Westminster Abbey, which I had not explored the last time I was in London

They wouldn't let me take pictures of the inside cluttered with tombs ... stinkers.

And, never fear, I also took time to gaze at over-priced designer handbags and buy delicious food at Harrod's


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bon Voyage!

It's that time of year again ... time for Anna to use "knowledge" and "education" as thinly veiled excuses to go off to parts unknown for long periods of time. My participation in the lovely Amelia's wedding in Rome this May lends my European excursions this summer a bit more of a veneer of legitimacy, and that's all I was hoping for, really.

As the immortal Mr. Bennet would say "On pleasure bent again..."

What's that on the horizon!?!
Adventure?? Intrigue?? Horrible airport snafus just waiting to happen!?!?!?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

When Medievalists Convene

Last week I attended the Medieval Academy of America conference, at ye olde alma mater, the University of Toronto. My friend, the fabulous Amelia, jetted all the way from Rome to make an appearance. I heard many very interesting talks (Gerald of Wales was HOT, ask anyone), and met lots of famous (to me) people, but above all I gleaned two things:

1. The talks would have been more amusing to me if I understood the 'funny' quips in medieval latin so frequently bandied about

2. Beware of getting in front of people at the refreshment tables ... free food is a rare commodity in our field and people get fiesty

Me, Andy Orchard, and Amelia livin' it up: