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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Two Temple Place, London


One of the smaller, less well known museums I visited in London is the delightful Two Temple Place which has been on my list for a while. The museum is housed in  an interesting Neo-Gothic mansion built for William Astor at the end of the Nineteenth Century . No expense was spared on the interior and it is very much worth seeing for the incredible carved wooden staircase and some lovely stained glass. Incidentally, the interior has been used for the soap opera to end all soap operas, Downton Abbey, which should tell you how over the top it is! I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Victorian architecture.


The situation on the Embankment is also rather nice, and there's an atmospheric approach from the Strand - which takes you down a small street and then some narrow steps. It all feels rather hidden in plain sight as so many things do in London. Even better there is no admission charge!
The reason this place isn't better known is that it is run by a charitable trust  (The Bulldog Trust) and has only been open to the public for the last couple of years. Additionally, it's only open to the public when they  put on their annual exhibition which are limited to a run of several months, generally late January through April. 

The exhibits at Two Temple Place  draw from  objects in regional British collections and the 2015 exhibition, which ended April 19th, (sorry it's over) is Cotton in Gold. It was an interesting  examination of the extensive collections made by wealthy mill owners in Lancashire and it demonstrated the enormous wealth generated in the industrial northwest.  Like the mill owners themselves it was wonderfully eclectic featuring a range of collections including paintings, glass, Japanese prints, printed matter including  rare books, folios and manuscripts and entomological specimens.  
The exhibit was very much worth seeing and was well designed with materials addressing the workers who created this wealth. I was fascinated to see the mill workers' heavy clogs which had metal on the soles which looked just like a horses' shoe. They even had them in tiny sizes for the working children. 
The  website suggests that the next winter exhibit will be opening in January 2016. It is entitled, "The Appearance of Beauty: Style and Adornment in Ancient Egypt" and again it draws from regional collections, this time reuniting objects that were excavated in the  Nineteenth Century. After our trip to Egypt I'd love to see it but I'm not sure we will be back in London before April.

Well worth bookmarking for those who are interested in architecture and museum. 
Here's the website http://www.twotempleplace.org


















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