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Haddon Hall - A Glorious Country Manor House

Visiting historic houses is one of my favorite things to do in England and Derbyshire is a county that  offers an  extraordinary triumvirate of sites; Hardwick's Elizabethan glamour, the palatial splendors of Chatsworth and Haddon Hall, described by Simon Jenkins as "the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages."  The joy of a visit to Derbyshire is that in visiting all three you can see the English country house through a variety of lenses and periods. 
In his definitive tome, England's1000 Best Houses Jenkins goes on to say of Haddon, "It has none of Hardwick's promiscuity or Chatsworth's bombast. It has not changed because it never needed to change". 
Indeed the house has remains in the hands of the Manners family since 1563 and is currently occupied by the Duke of Rutland's brother and his family. As they say on the website it has avoided, " fire; warfare;  family misfortune and changing fashions" and as such provid…

Ramusseum

The Ramusseum or (Rhamesséion in French) was identified and  named by the decipherer of hieroglyphics himself, Jean-Francois Chamopollion - who accompanied Napoleon on his conquest and cataloging campaign in Egypt. The Ramusseum is the mortuary, or memorial temple, of Ramses the Great . All of the tombs and memorial temples associated with death and the after life (including the Ramusseum, Medinet Habu and the Valley of the Kings) are found on the West Bank in a large areas recognized by UNESCO and known as the Theban Necropolis. The temples associated with the religious practices and rituals of the living pharaohs, such as  Karnak and Luxor temple, are found on the East Bank, within the contemporary city of Luxor. Thus the different sides of the river bank represent death and life, you see this same division over and over in Egypt with tombs or memorial temples located in the west, whether you are in Cairo, Luxor or Aswan.


As we entered the Ramusseum a small group was leaving and we had it all  to ourselves, quickly passing by the famous fallen colossus as we entered the silent temple. The opportunity to have such sites to yourself is reason enough to visit Egypt right now. The Ramusseum is a very atmospheric place and in it  you feel the power and hubris of Ramses which transcends  the over three thousand years since his death.  I couldn't begin to compete with Shelley's famous lines, so I'll  add only pictures to complement his poem.
     Ozymandias
I met a Traveler from an antique land,
               Who said, "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
          Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
               Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
           And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
          Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
                    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
                  The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear: 
    "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings." 
    
     Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!

     No thing beside remains. Round the decay
       Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away. 
   
 Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
 As you can see the pillars are also heavily inscribed.
The temple lies in an open valley close to the Colossi of Memnon. Interestingly there are ongoing excavations in this area. 
Tip: We had a busy day of sightseeing and almost passed up the visit to the Ramusseum because I wasn't sure I could absorb much more. However, we were both very glad we went and it was among the most memorable temples for the romantic atmosphere, highly recommended for any West Bank itinerary.

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