Big Sur is a beautiful, rugged 100-mile stretch on California’s central coast, running between Carmel and San Simeon.
The name “Big Sur” is derived from the original Spanish-language “el sur grande”, meaning “the big south”, and invokes images full of winding turns, seaside cliffs and views of the often-misty ocean.
Well – you’re mental images deserve to visit the stunning vistas! Big Sur is just one of the many pleasures that California has to offer; one of the things I can recommend easily to to drive US Route 1 between San francisco and Los Angles.
In the South West England, there is a town that is too pretty for words. It was founded in the 1st century AD by the Romans as a thermal spa (Aquae Sulis) and thus renamed Bath.
It’s current form started in the 18th century, under in King George III. We must give thanks to the hard and inspired minds of John Woods the elder (1704-1754) and the younger (1728-1782), and their interpretation of Andrea Palladio’s (1508-1580) concept of picturesque aestheticism. We now see the seamless integration of the The Roman Baths and temple complex, the remains of the city of Aquae Sulis, and the more modern English City.
From ‘Obsession: John Wood and the Creation of Georgian Bath’, 2004, pp95-98).
The (originally ‘Kings’) Circus (South Eastern Section – c1762-6) bathed in the late October sun of 2007, one of the best autums I can remember. As ever, the play of light across the beautiful Bath stone allows this shot to become magical! (Best viewed large size.)It has been pointed out that the Circus was originally devoid of any plants or grass, being a circle of cobbles, since Wood intended the link to nature to be a direct one-to-one relationship between the architecture and its symbolism and the open skies above – ‘a dramatic and theatrical space where the architecture took centre stage’. Wood believed that there had always existed a temple to the Sun and Moon on Lansdown hill and the Circus was to be his recreation of a temple of the Sun, with the Royal Cresent the reborn temple of the crescent moon! As such the Circus is the same internal diameter (318′) as Stone Henge, itself an ancient temple of the sun.
We gathered together outside the stone ring at Avebury – it is the world’s oldest dating from between 2,500-2,600 BC)and one of the largest with a diameter of 331.6m – to experience a bit of druid magic. Surprisingly enough, we did.
Equipped with copper divining rods (on loan) and open minds we began the circuit allowing our steps to be guided by touch, ley lines and gravitational pull. The divining rods did rotate in our hands and quietly and surely guided us. Most interestingly, it seems the sheep are also guided by the same forces! Invariable the rods would cross as we reached the matted down depressions, where one of our furry friends had bedded down (or in some cases recently quickly vacated at our approach!)
The rings symbolize an ancient power. These megalithic monuments making it up are of an age with the Pyramids at Giza – and represent another engineering feet. There were originally 98 sarsen (sandstone blocks) standing stones, some weighting up to 40 tons and heights varying between 3 and 4.2 meters (10 & 13 ft.) The moving and standing of these mammoth stones required a level of cooperation that to erect that still mystifies to this day. If you find yourself anywhere near the ring – even if it is just as a country outing – it is worth the time 🙂
Also in Nevşehir, through the Deviant valley (also known as the Valley of the Fairy Chimneys) one finds the Zelve Open Air Museum.
Zelve is a Byzantine-era monastery that was carved into the rock, and was one of the last abandoned monastic settlements in Cappadocia. Inhabited until 1952, when people were finally forced to evacuate the sandstone caves, when the risk of erosion became too dangerous.
In pre-iconoclastic times, Christians moved to Zelve to hide during the Persian and Arab invasions.
Today it is a truly beautiful site to wander and contemplate the lives of those that made this otherworldly dwelling.
Or better yet, go see them twirl in their evening ceremonies!
Since the 10th century camel trains (originally kervan or as we now call them Caravans) would trade across Turkey; stopping along their routes at inns known as kervansaray or caravanserai – the Caravan Place. These buildings eventually grew form small accommodations and stables into larger fortresses that would be used as both inns and religious purposes.
Just outside Goreme is the Caravanserais of Cappadocia; where you can wander during the day or take in the traditional Dervish Dance. A anachronistic evening to be enjoyed with a just a few other tourists.