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Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Royal Crescent by Margot Justes

The Royal Crescent in Bath is an absolutely unique architectural gem, completed in 1774 by John Wood the Younger; it took about 7 years to complete and still today it stands as a perfect semi-elliptical curve about 50 feet high and 500 feet long. It truly is a site to behold; there are 30 attached magnificent houses, among them, one of the most charming, delightful, grandest hotels ever, the Royal Crescent Hotel www.royalcrescent.co.uk
As a heroine would say, it is beautifully situated.

Some suites are named after literary figures, the Sir Percy Blakeney Suite named after The Scarlet Pimparnel, one of my favorite novels, if you haven’t read it-please do, written by Baroness Orczy, it is the ultimate swashbuckling, romantic adventure, set during the French Revolution. As the story goes, after his adventures, Sir Percy moved to Bath and lived at number 16 Royal Crescent.

The street curves along the crescent and below, a green carpet of lush grass separated by a ha-ha. What is a ha-ha you say, well a cleverly designed wall that is invisible from the curved path and the upper part of the grassy knoll. Since the area served as a promenade to see and be seen, the ha-ha separated the ton-the socially elite- from mere mortals, peasants, along with sheep, cows and whatever critters lived below.

Number 1 Royal Crescent is a renowned museum that perfectly depicts the affluent Georgian lifestyle; fully restored it is owned by the Bath Preservation Trust, and truly well worth a visit.

Walking up a slight incline on Brock Street the panoramic view of the Crescent is truly breathtaking, and writing these travelogues has been enormously difficult, because what I want to do is hop on a plane, spend some more time in Bath, instead, I’ll re-read the Scarlet Pimpernel-it has been a while since I’ve read it.

Till next Time,
Margot Justes

A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1- February 2009
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More Bath by Margot Justes

I don’t want you to think that I covered everything about the Roman Baths Museum-that is by no means possible in a short blog-the exquisite museum has much, much more to offer-I hope I whetted your appetite just a tiny bit.

As promised, there is more. Right next door to the Roman Baths Museum is the Pump Room, and what a room it is. It was the center of the ton-the social glittery whirl of the best English society-since 1706. It is, for lack of a better explanation a tea room, albeit very grand, it is still a tea room and to this day the wait staff will greet you in appropriate period garb and serve you tea, scones, Bath buns and much more. The room is truly magnificent, huge and elaborate with daunting chandeliers hanging from the very high ceilings above you.

If that is not enough, you may be entertained by the Pump Room Trio, the oldest musical ensemble in the country. The tradition of the music has continued through the ages, so while sipping your delicious tea and munching on the scone covered with clotted cream and strawberry jam, you may feel you have traveled back in time and Jane Austen is sitting at the next table, maybe even James Boswell, or the many other great literary figures over the centuries.

On one side of the room there is a fountain that still to this day spouts the sulphurous water and for a fee you can sample its unique warm taste, unique as in really bad. The fountain standing on a pediment with an inscription that reads ‘Water is Best’ is still a popular stop by visitors, before or after the elegantly served tea. It was considered a very healthy drink, and people would come to Bath ‘to take the waters’.

The Pump Room is a stop not be missed in a town that has been designated a World Heritage Site in 1987.

More Bath next week, yes of course there is more, but I’ll cover just the ‘must see’ the rest you will have to discover for yourself and maybe buy A Hotel in Bath when it comes out, but first I have to finish it.

One more thing, when I’m done with Bath, guess what, I’ll write a bit about Paris. Well, after all it is the very early beginning of the travel planning season, I probably should have started in Paris first, but my center of concentration at the moment has been on Bath.

Till next Time,
Margot Justes

A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1- coming February 2009
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com
More Bath by Margot Justes

I don’t want you to think that I covered everything about the Roman Baths Museum-that is by no means possible in a short blog-the exquisite museum has much, much more to offer-I hope I whetted your appetite just a tiny bit.

As promised, there is more. Right next door to the Roman Baths Museum is the Pump Room, and what a room it is. It was the center of the ton-the social glittery whirl of the best English society-since 1706. It is, for lack of a better explanation a tea room, albeit very grand, it is still a tea room and to this day the wait staff will greet you in appropriate period garb and serve you tea, scones, Bath buns and much more. The room is truly magnificent, huge and elaborate with daunting chandeliers hanging from the very high ceilings above you.

If that is not enough, you may be entertained by the Pump Room Trio, the oldest musical ensemble in the country. The tradition of the music has continued through the ages, so while sipping your delicious tea and munching on the scone covered with clotted cream and strawberry jam, you may feel you have traveled back in time and Jane Austen is sitting at the next table, maybe even James Boswell, or the many other great literary figures over the centuries.

On one side of the room there is a fountain that still to this day spouts the sulphurous water and for a fee you can sample its unique warm taste, unique as in really bad. The fountain standing on a pediment with an inscription that reads ‘Water is Best’ is still a popular stop by visitors, before or after the elegantly served tea. It was considered a very healthy drink, and people would come to Bath ‘to take the waters’.

The Pump Room is a stop not be missed in a town that has been designated a World Heritage Site in 1987.

More Bath next week, yes of course there is more, but I’ll cover just the ‘must see’ the rest you will have to discover for yourself and maybe buy A Hotel in Bath when it comes out, but first I have to finish it.

One more thing, when I’m done with Bath, guess what, I’ll write a bit about Paris. Well, after all it is the very early beginning of the travel planning season, I probably should have started in Paris first, but my center of concentration at the moment has been on Bath.

Till next Time,
Margot Justes

A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1- coming February 2009
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Roman Baths Museum by Margot Justes

Many years ago, I was in London and took one of those standard day tours to Stonehenge and Bath. I expected to be delighted and see a few things I haven’t yet seen and I expected to learn something new–one of the many reasons I love to travel.

On this trip, the bus rolled along the lovely serene English countryside and the first glimpse of the enormous stones was surreal. They are magnificent, and back then you could actually go up close and personal as the saying goes. We reached Bath and had a measly few hours in a town where the Roman Baths Museum alone would have kept me busy for many hours. I swore someday I would come back.

My first book is set in Paris, because having lived there I have a great affinity for the city and always will. With the realization that I was going to write book two, Bath was the instant choice. That meant a return visit, this time a few days, not a few hours.

The second time, we took the train from Paddington station in London and two lovely hours later we were in Bath, this time for a few days rather than a few hours.

There are legends that say Bath was founded by a Celtic Prince in 863 BC, he suffered from leprosy and the healing waters cured him. Can you imagine the history?

As far as the Romans were concerned, cleanliness was next to godliness-hence the popularity of the baths. In 65 AD the invading Romans built a grand spa. Formidable Roman engineering skills allowed them to build a reservoir using lead-lined stone around the spring, thus supplying water to the baths. The Sacred Spring (one of my favorite sites in the museum) has an overflow system, which even today 2,000 years later still pumps the surplus water to the Avon River.

I spent quite a bit of time standing in front of the Sacred Spring, the hot moist steam reaching your face is far better than any facial, while the soothing and mesmerizing falling water allows the imagination to take root in your senses.

Buried and built over for many years, the baths were discovered and excavated in 1880. The steeped in history museum is simply truly amazing and gives you a remarkable sense of times past and through the ages to the present.

More Bath next week.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes

A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1- coming February 2009
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Resolutions Aplenty or Maybe Not by Margot Justes

The New Year is upon us-nothing like stating the obvious-and I try to stay away from resolutions, since they do not last long, so what is the point. But, the one resolution I fully intend to adhere to is writing and this is a no brainer since I love to write.

What’s not to love, total solitude in my own little haven, no pesky phone, no television, just me, my computer and words on paper well at least on the screens, but sometimes on paper. I have a comfy couch where I do occasionally write on a legal pad, dialog works well this way, I can close my eyes and imagine the characters in action.

I create my own little world where I can take out my frustrations on potential victims, create the perfect hero and heroine, travel and do exactly as I please.

I’m late finishing A Hotel in Bath and have sworn to finish by end of first quarter, and have an idea and location for book three-Venice-and that means a trip to Venice this year.

So stay tuned for more travel tips on Bath, just in case you are heading to England this year and travel preparations for Venice this fall.

Till next Saturday,
Margot Justes

A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1- coming February 2009
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com