MOUSEHOLE, CORNWALL, ENGLAND
A few weeks ago my friend put together a surprise getaway for us. We got in the car and headed to Bath for the weekend. I’d been before years before, but it was good to go back and take a walk around again.
Weather was a bit chilly but that didn’t stop the crowds. This is a popular city. There’s good shopping and some good sites to see like the small cathedral (free).
We didn’t go and see the actual Roman Baths which I suppose is the main reason why people used to come to the city years ago . We just didn’t want to fork out the cash (about £13). But as we love Jane Austen we took the tour which I highly recommend. It’s not actually located in a home she lived in, but on the same street where she used to live. It sort of felt special to walk around Bath and think of the spaces that were her inspiration. I think the one thing that I took away from the tour was that perhaps her motivation for writing was not just out of sheer love of writing or the need to tell her stories. She seemed to have a financial motivation. Her family was not well off and during her last months at Bath the family was so hard up that they were living in the same area as the city’s prostitutes, where before they were near genteel society. It’s hard to imagine Jane near prostitutes…
After the tour we did pop by Sally Lunn’s a restaurant that sells buns which according to the website is ‘part bun, part bread, and part cake’ and has been a part of Bath for so long that even Jane used to enjoy them too. We got there early enough to miss the queue. I ordered mine with cinnamon sugar and it was tasty and sweet.
The rest of the time was spent walking around Bath, shopping and eating. You only really need one day to see Bath. It’s fairly close to London and easily accessible by car or train.
All this talk of Bath reminds me of some of my Jane Austen films/shows…Pride & Prejudice (the one with Colin), Sense and Sensibility (with Emma Thomson) and another film that I highly recommend is The Jane Austen Book Club. Really sweet and funny. Perfect for a night in.
PARIS, FRANCE – Just got back from a four day whirlwind tour of Paris. It was my first time to the city of lights and I loved it.
Most of the trip was spent hitting the major sights so it’s no wonder that I came back to London without having spent much.
I decided early on that I couldn’t leave Paris without a trip to the Musee d’Orsay. It sits on the banks of the River Seine and is easily accessible by the Paris metro. It is housed in what was once a railway station and has gorgeous clocks on the inside and outside.
After purchasing a ticket for 9.5 euros, you can check your handbag, coat and small luggage in at the cloakroom (in fact, they insist that you do). I spent about 4,5 hours walking around the Musee marvelling at the extensive collections. The entire fifth floor is all about Impressionism and so there is something of a crowd there, but at this time of year it wasn’t too bad.
There are also many works by Vincent Van Gogh. Apparently he did several self portraits as he couldn’t afford to pay a model. I saw one of them up close. You can really get a glimpse of the mental anguish he experienced just by looking into his eyes. It’s unfortunate he never lived to experience his success.
I loved seeing the paintings by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. I first learnt about him in my teens when I saw a film on TV one day that was a biography of his life. He was born into wealth, but chose to live in Montmarte where several artists lived. He is now well known for capturing the life of the performers and patrons of the Moulin Rouge.
I left the Musee at around 4:30pm but there were still crowds of people waiting to get inside. I recommend getting there as early as possible and make sure you wear comfy shoes. You aren’t allowed to take food inside or eat in the galleries but there are a few restaurants and cafes inside. Also, pay 5 euros for the audio guide. It makes the entire experience more interesting and informative. It’s easy to just drift past paintings and not learn anything new.
By the way I did head to the Louvre but only had 2 hours to peruse the work there. I’d still say that the Musee D’Orsay is my preferred art museum in Paris, so far. Have you been to both? Which did you like better?
GRINDELWALD, SWITZERLAND – I’ve never really wanted to go to Switzerland. But my friend invited me to go with her and explore the country for the first time. We stayed in Grindelwald, a tourist town filled with many holiday rentals and activities for people who like the outdoors. Our first few days were a bit overcast and cloudy. But we still decided to head up the mountain to enjoy the outdoors.