No pictures or film could ever truly portray the vast size of this building. As you can see in the photo I could not get the whole building in the shot. Within was just as impressive as the entire building was open from floor to ceiling. Of course all I could think was playing Assassins Creed and trying to climb the structure to find some hidden Templar treasure. But that’s just me.
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKS!! So many books! Ones first thoughts are how can a library be fascinating, until you see DaVinci’s journal pages, the early scribblings of Beatles lyrics, and a small book about how to swim. Much like Twilight Sparkle I could spend days upon days in the British Library.
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”
The Globe Theater is by and far the greatest experience of London. You can do all the fun touristy things like ride the ferry on the Thames, or go on the London Eye, hell even Parliament and Big Ben where not nearly as impressive as seeing modern takes of Shakespeare’s works in the place they originated. It is a place that even the locals, as one woman we met informed us, frequent to see as many performances as they can each year. And while I was one of the, as many would say in olden days, a “privileged” patron up in the seats, the next time I go I would want to be down in the pit simply for the fun interactivity the actors would do. To anyone going to London I would suggest they see a performance at the Globe.
The founding of cities and countries that have existed for centuries, even millennia, usually have a fantastical tale behind them. However none, I feel, is more known than the founding of Rome, at least in parts. What intrigues me most is the mention by Livy in The History of Rome is that while a lone wolf mother did fact nurse Romulus and Remus, a Shepard found them and brought them to his wife Larentia who was known as a common whore and was called Wolf by the other shepherds. This is what could have given rise to the myth that the twins were raised by a wolf mother. I like these stories because I like to think that all stories must have originated from a single kernel of truth that has then been aggrandized through word of mouth.
The idea of the heroes journey is one that has existed for as long as there have been grand tales of adventure. Within these stories are moments in which the hero has found some form of accomplishment or happiness that stalls them and perhaps ends their journey without completing their initial goal. Then some outside force, whether it be mortal or divine, takes away their blockade or sets them back upon their course. Many times in these stories, much like in the Aeneid, it is a woman. Oft times she is portrayed as a seductress, as though that is the only way for a woman to hold any form of power, and later either kills herself or is killed by others as a means to continue the heroes journey. Because the hero is never allowed to make their own decisions when it comes to an act of the universe.
If there is one major thing that I have taken away from small lecture we were given about the history of art and architecture of Rome is that I am a little more excited to see it for myself. All the photographs and written works, not even films could ever truly portray the experience of actually being there. There are some things that were discussed that I will be thinking of in the back of my mind, such as arches and aqueducts, but now I just want to be there soaking it all in.
As I perused the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain and Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur, the one thing that stands out the most between the two is the way they are written. The subjects of both works are tellings of historical events, however Monmouth’s writing feels more akin to documentation of historical facts much like our history books today are. In fact Monmouth states in his own work, “So I began at Walter’s request to translate that book into Latin, content with my own lowly style and not seeking to gather gilded expressions from other writers’ gardens”. This, I feel, is an answer to the works of Malory which is written in a more romantic style and tries to portray itself as if it was written by someone who was there witnessing the events, however there seem to be flourishes and moments of slight unbelievability, or even events that no one else should have been witness to. While both works are still very hard to read I feel that Monmouth is more for those who would prefer a history, and Malory is more for those who want the fantasy.
The idea of getting lost in a new place is actually quite a brilliant way to immerse oneself in it, and I enjoy that aspect of Miss Eleanor Lavish from the story A Room With a View. Guide books, and in the modern age Travel Blogs, only show you a small portion of the world, as well as that persons experience and not your own. If you are to use guides of some kind it would best be to find a nice starting point, but do not be afraid to take a wrong turn now and again.
He can gaze at old buildings and feel ‘the happiness of knowing that he is not wholly accidental and arbitrary but grown out of a past as its heir, flower and fruit, and that his existence is thus excused and indeed justified’ – Alain de Botton
When one is traveling abroad it can may lead to a feeling of insignificance in this grand world. We see the old and ancient structures of past cultures that rose and fell long before we were ever born. It makes one wonder about what the future people of the world will think of what our civilization leaves behind and whether or not we as the individual will be apart of it in some way. However Alain de Botton’s words give a bit more hope in this experience, rather than seeing them as a part of something that is no more and is only ruins, to think of it more as the soil that gave birth to the you here and now. without them we would not be where we are, or have learned from their achievements or their failures. We are more connected to the past than we realize.
Greetings and Salutations. This is my quest log, the place in which I will be keeping track of my travels to places I’ve never been to before. My first quest is London and Rome, birthplaces of many known western stories of heroes and legends. Before I begin it however I must complete a few minor quests before I embark. So come along and follow my journey with Quests Abroad!