Bath In December

CLICK HERE to read my newest post on Bath:  Bath’s Persuasion

Due to the keen interest of readers to my previous post Jane Austen’s Bath, I’m posting here some more pictures of my recent visit to that beautiful Georgian City.  Enjoy!

At the time of my visit in early December, there was a Christmas market set up outside the major attractions, like the Guildhall, and the grounds by the Bath Abbey.  Despite the rain and wind, crowds of tourists gathered to look for unique Christmas gifts, arts and crafts, and savour the various kinds of food these vendors had to offer.  If you don’t mind the weather, cold, damp, and windy, Christmas is definitely a magical time to visit Bath.

These are the actual sights and architecture Jane would have seen.  And for relevance to Jane’s work, she had mentioned some of them in her novel Northanger Abbey in which Bath was the setting.

Again, these photos were all taken by Arti, writer of the blog Ripple Effects.  Site address:  http://rippleeffects.wordpress.com Pictures were all taken in Bath, England, in December, 2007.  All Rights Reserved.

The Guildhall, designed by Thomas Baldwin in the late 1770’s.  See the Christmas booths alongside and the Santa greeting visitors outside the arched entrance:

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The front of the Guildhall.  Note the new Adam style of curved facade with finely carved friezes between the Corinthian columns:

The Guildhall curved frontage

The Bath Abbey, as viewed from The Roman Bath:

The Bath Abbey from the Roman Bath

The Roman Bath, where the water was praised for health benefits:

The Roman Bath

The Pump Room adjacent The Roman Bath, where everyone with a considerable family name in Jane’s time would gather, walk around, see and be seen:

The Pump Room Entrance

The Circus, Britain’s first circular street, designed by the architect John Wood:

The Circus 3

The Parade Gardens, alongside the River Avon, across from the Abbey:

The Parade Gardens

The Jane Austen Centre, where a permanent exhibition honouring Jane is located.  The Centre offers lectures, guided walking tours, a gift shop, and Tea Rooms where you can enjoy “High tea with Mr. Darcy”.  They also organize the annual Jane Austen Festival.  It’s located a few doors from Jane’s second residence in Bath, at 40 Gay Street.  Here’s the link to the Jane Austen Centre Website: www.janeausten.co.uk

The Jane Austen Centre

All photos and text copyright by Arti at Ripple Effects, December, 2007.

Lacock Village: Popular Film Location

From Bath, I took a 4-hour afternoon excursion out to the Stonehenge and Lacock Village on a Mad Max Tour. Stonehenge, I’ve always wanted to see, but Lacock is a serendipity. I joined a small group of 9 other visitors in a mini-bus parked across the Bath Abbey. As soon as he stepped into the bus, our guide and driver Charles clarified that he wasn’t Mad Max. The Bath family-run tour company was named after owner Maddy and her dog Max. On top of this piece of crucial local tidbit, Charles was most helpful in furnishing us with all sorts of information we ever wanted to know and ask about the Cotswold area and our destinations.

I’m debating whether I should post pictures up here because any picture of the Stonehenge would seem like a visual cliche, for it’s probably one of the most recognizable stone arrangements in the world. However, mine are different, I thought, not for artistic value, but mainly because they are taken by me personally, and not from any postcards, or downloads from the Internet. So here they are, Arti’s contribution to the photo world, two more pictures of the Stonehenge.

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The ride out to the Stonehenge from Bath was about 60 minutes. The day was December 2, 2007. It was very, very windy and cold that day out in the open field where the Stonehenge was situated. Fortunately the rain let up a bit as we stepped out the mini-bus, giving me the chance to walk around the mysterious arrangements, in time to take about 20 pictures as I circumvented the site a couple of times. The audio guide was most helpful, but as I was confronted by the very sight, the sound seemed to fade into the background. I was busy taking my pictures, fighting against the fierce gale and the imminent threat of pouring rain. The what, the how, and the why of the Stonehenge remain a mystery to this day.

After an hour’s stay at the site, we hopped back onto the bus for our next destination: Lacock Village. Before the tour, I had not heard of this place. It was a serendipitous find…and a pleasant surprise indeed.

From Charles, we learned that Lacock, a National Trust medieval village preserved for its historical elements, is a popular spot for film productions. But before I give away all the films that has been made here, and actually, only a particualr one that I was most interested in, first here are a few shots of the Village. As we arrived, it was around 4 pm, but dusk had already set in. In the rain and cold wind, I was only able to take a few shots as I grabbed my umbrella under my arm. Looking at them now, they correspond closely to the time of day where the actual scene appears in the film. To enhance their visibility, I’ve lightened them a bit here.

Recognize these buildings? Imagine there were no cars and the road was not paved…

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Yes, they were shots of Meryton in the BBC (1995) made for TV miniseries Pride And Prejudice…the ‘wet shirt’ version with Colin Firth, as Charles expertly informed us. Yes I know the version, I told him, my favorite. The Red Lion in the third picture was used as the exterior shot of the assembly room where the Meryton Ball took place in the beginning of the movie. That was when Darcy, Bingley, his sisters and Mr. Hurst got off the carriage to attend the country Ball in the evening, eyeing haughtily at their surroundings (except Bingley of course).

Other than Pride And Prejudice, Lacock was also the film location for Emma (BBC 1996), the Harry Potter movies, and most recently the new Harry Potter production (2008 ) by Warner Bros. on another street. But the Village of Lacock probably won’t be easily recogized in that movie because the facade of the buildings there had been changed for the filming. The 1995 BBC Pride And Prejudice production used the authentic buildings as they appear in the above photos. I recognized them as soon as I turned into the street that late afternoon,…adding a serendipitous Austen touch to my Mad Max excursion.

The photos you see in this post are taken by Arti of www.rippleeffects.wordpress.com. December, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

If you see them and/or any parts of the texts in a site other than Ripple Effects, then you know they have been copied without permission. I thank my readers for alerting me in the past, and I continue to appreciate their watchful eyes in the future.

Jane Austen’s Bath

CLICK HERE to read my newest post on Bath:  Bath’s Persuasion

In early December, my travels took me to another World Heritage Site: Bath, England.  Jane Austen lived there from 1801 – 1806 after her family moved from her birthplace Steventon when she was 26.  The City of Bath at that time was a meeting place of high society, the centre of fashion and the hub of stylish urban development, with elegant and spectacular Georgian buildings and Palladian architecture.  What’s interesting is, today’s Bath remains more or less the same as it was in Jane’s time.  The buildings have been maintained in such immaculate condition that a visitor to Bath today can actually walk the paths of Jane’s and behold the city and landscape she had seen, and eat at a place that she could have frequented, the Sally Lunn’s.  This little bakery and eatery is located in the oldest house in Bath, dating back to the 1400’s, a historical site even for Jane.

Jane Austen chose Bath as the setting for Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both novels published posthumously.  According to sources, in particular Claire Tomalin’s biography Jane Austen: A Life, Jane did not like the City of Bath.  The superficiality and frivolity of high society were met with her satirical critiques.  Further, her disdain could well be caused by the very purpose she suspected of her parents’ decision to move there:  opportunities to meet favourable suitors for their daughters.

Nevertheless, for me as a modern day visitor to Bath, and a Janeite at that, I’m impressed to learn that most of what I see have lasted through hundreds of years.  The Roman Baths, the Bath Abbey where the first king of England Edgar was crowned in 973 A.D., the Pump Room, the Gardens, The Royal Crescent, Queen’s Square, The Pulteney Bridge, the same streets and architecture are situated just as they were in Jane’s time.

Here are some of the famous places in Jane Austen’s Bath.

Jane Austen’s first residence in Bath 1801 – 1805, No. 4 Sydney Place:

Jane Austen’s Residence 4 Sydney Place

Jane Austen’s Residence No. 4 Sydney Place

Jane Austen’s second residence in Bath, No. 25 Gay Street, now a dentist’s office:

JA’s second residence No. 25 Gay Street

Gay Street:

The Street Where Jane Lived

Queen’s Square across from Gay Street: Good spot for people-watching for Jane and Cassandra:

Queen’s Square across from Gay Street

The Pump Room: The meeting place of the Who’s Who in Jane Austen’s Bath:

“In the Pump-room, one so newly arrived in Bath must be met with…”  –Chapter 9,  Northanger Abbey

The Pump Room

The Pump Room Exterior

The Royal Crescent:  Georgian buildings spectacularly arranged in a crescent form, where the rich and fashionable took their Sunday afternoon stroll in Jane’s time.  Jane’s view is satirically clear:

“…they hastened away to the Crescent, to breathe the fresh air of better company.” –Chapter 5,  Northanger Abbey

The Crescent

Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon:

Pultney Bridge Over the River Avon

Sally Lunn’s:  Famous buns since the 1680’s:

Sally Lunn’s

All photos originally taken by Arti of www.rippleeffects.wordpress.com

Text and photos All Rights Reserved, December, 2007.

More interesting posts coming up…and for Janeites, look for Lacock Village in my next post.

Update:  Due to the keen interest from readers of “Jane Austen’s Bath”, I’ve published another post, “Bath in December“, with more photos of my recent visit to that beautiful City.  After you’ve finished reading this post, you’re welcome to visit “Bath in December” and… enjoy!

Petra: Indiana Jones On Location

I’m still travelling in far off places, but just a few pictures to whet the appetite of those who have been so eagerly waiting.  Thanks for your patience.  I’ve been longing to share with you all my experience, the sights and sounds of distant lands, obscure to North Americans but definitely very popular places to explore for those in other parts of the world.  I feel like a wanderer in the Tower of Babel, hearing a myriad of unknown languages, not only from the natives of those lands, but from the crowds of visitors around me.

 The most amazing sight so far I must say is Petra, the city carved out of rocks, right in the red mountains of southern Jordan, about 3 hour’s drive southwest of the capital city Amman.  Petra was the land of the Edomites, descendants of Esau, twin brother of Jacob in the Old Testament of the Bible.  The ancient city was first constructed by the Nabataeans, and later came under Roman rule.  Earthquake and flooding had destroyed much of the city and it remained obscure for centuries until rediscovered by a Swiss explorer in 1812.

The ancient ruins of Petra was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, and named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.  Excavation has been an international effort towards which Brown University’s archaelogy and anthropology departments have contributed substantially.  Follow this link to their fabulous website  http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Anthropology/Petra/

Petra was the location for parts of the film Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989).  You might recognize the famous facade of the ancient temple (The Treasury) which is the entrance to this amazing city in the rocks.

(First a word about COPYRIGHT:  I’ve travelled far, walked great distances and ridden on a donkey to take the following pictures, PLEASE DO NOT COPY.) 

Entering the red mountain region:

Entering the Mtn Region

A glimpse through the crack:

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Beholding the real wonder:

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The City carved out of rocks:

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Again, photos taken by Arti of www.rippleeffects.wordpress.com 

November, 2007.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

More to come in future posts.  Thanks for waiting.

Batman Sequel: The Dark Knight on Location in Hong Kong


From Beowulf to Batman, we are a people of hero seekers, real or imaginary.  Our incessant quest seems to be even more acute in recent years as Hollywood plays a major role in fanning the flame.  The latest frenzy is in Hong Kong, where the new Batman movie The Dark Knight is filming on location.

To be released in July, 2008, the Batman sequel will again feature Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman, Lucius Fox.  Reportedly, Jack Nicholson was furious to find out that Heath Ledger will be replacing him as The Joker.  For the first time, Batman is going to venture out Gotham City, and the Metropolis of Hong Kong is the very location (plus Chicago and England) director Christopher Nolan finds most suitable for the superhero’s new crime fighting scenes to take place.

Thanks to my Hong Kong correspondent, I received these fresh photos, taken near the filming location in Hong Kong Central.  Crowds gathered to watch from a distance, many eagerly taking pictures of the filming.  The insatiable quest for the hero figure is indeed universal:

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The International Finance Centre (IFC), where Batman reportedly will jump off:

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Filming inside the famed Central-Mid-Level Escalator Walkway System:

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Photos copyright:  IPTV, November, 2007.

Used by Permission.

Update Jan. 22, 2008: Heath Ledger was found dead in his Manhattan apartment today.  He was 28.

Landscape, Seascape, and Mindscape

“For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”

– William Wordsworth

What can be retained in travels are the images etched in the mind…the thoughts and feelings they had evoked.  As time passes, we can still relive those moments as we extract the gems from our mindscape.

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These pilings once formed the foundations of houses built on the waters of Astoria. They are now resting posts for cormorants and gulls. Once useful for human settlement, they now blend in the natural seascape like mazes for the birds…still offering a haven of rest despite their weathered and beaten forms.

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The old and the new can co-exist in the elasticity of the mind.  The human imagination and creativity can reach boundless horizons, and connect timeless landscapes in the mind’s eye.

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Trolley in Astoria, Oregon

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Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall in L.A.

Disney Concert Hall, L.A.

Photos taken by Arti of www.rippleeffects.wordpress.com,

October, 2007. All rights reserved.

To read more about Frank Gehry, the architect who designed the Disney Concert Hall, Click Here.