+ Bar Mut | Bar Mut  –  Barcelona

Bar Mut – Barcelona

We found and fell in love with Barmut over our kitchen table in New York City.  Chef Albert Mendiola’s anti-promo video on the website is more like a Jim Jarmousch’s  Vampire film “Only Lovers left Alive“, then an enticing view of his moody and delectable establishment.

In life, thankfully, the service is very warm and accommodating; as we were not familiar with most of the extensive local wine list, we received a very fun crash curse and tasting from the sommelier – without any attitude or up-sell.

Bar Mut 008 | Bar Mut  –  Barcelona
Egg yolk carpaccio, with fried potato and shrimp

above photo © Garrett Ziegler

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+ AcademyScy1 | California Academy of Sciences  -  San Francisco

California Academy of Sciences – San Francisco

Directly across from the De Young Museum by the Golden Park is the LEED-certified  California Academy of Scenes.  This is one fantastic science museum – an edifice of light!  Iconically supporting a 2.5-acre green roof, with solar panels bordering its numerous Skylights.  Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano (he of the impressively new 2015  Whitney Museum in NYC).

This magnificent structure houses the Kimball Natural History Museum, Steinhart Aquarium, the Morrison Planetarium, AND a tropical forest habitat!

The reptile collection is worth coming alone – even if just for Claude the albino alligator!

California Academy of Sciences albino alligator
Claude – the albino alligator
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+ Big Sur 054 | Big Sur Coast  –  California

Big Sur Coast – California

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 drive US Route 1 between San Francisco and Los Angles.

Big Sur Coast  –  California

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+ Bath Christina West | City of Bath  –  Somerset

City of Bath – Somerset

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.

Other architects and visionaries responsible for overall city landscape were Robert Adam , Thomas Baldwin  and John Palmer.

Bath VT Profesor | City of Bath  –  Somerset
Palladian Bridge at Prior Park – photo © VT Professor
header photo – Royal Crescent © Christina West)
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+ Avebury Mark Kent | Avebury Ring  -  Wiltshire

Avebury Ring – Wiltshire

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!)

Header photo © Mark Kent

Avebury Ring
photo © Joe Dunckley
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