My reading companion of 17 years, Kenya


Some people were born to shop, well, I was born to travel and when I can't get there in person I just find a book to take me there.  But places like Italy and Ireland, well,  I just call them second homes.

My favorite building of ancient Rome is the Pantheon - Temple to the gods.  It was build in 120AD when Hadrian was Emperor.  It is the only major work of the Roman Empire that is still intact. In the 7th century it was consecrated a basilica - Santa Maria ad Martyres and that status probably helped in its preservation.  It's an engineering feat and shows the influence that ancient Rome has on architecture.  It's concrete with dome that is 143 ft in diameter and stood as the widest dome until the 19th century. The Romans invented concrete.  There are no windows in the Pantheon.  All the light floods in from the oculus which is the center of the dome.  I can stand in this space for hours and never tire of it.



Other aspects of Rome 



This picture was taken when I stayed in the Temple Bar area of Dublin. 

The Half Penny Bridge(Ha'penny):

This is one of the oldest and most famous bridges in Dublin.  It's a cast iron pedestrian bridge stretching across the Liffey River that runs through Dublin.  Originally it was named the Wellington Bridge after the famous Waterloo Iron Duke of Wellington who was Irish born.  It was later offically called the Liffey Bridge but it is commonly known as the Ha'penny Bridge.  The affectionate Ha'Penny moniker is derived from the fact that it was once a toll bridge and cost a half pence to cross, but that ended long before the half penny itself ended.  Before the Ha'Penny was built in 1816 to cross the river you had to rely on ferries. 

Dublin is a great city for walking.  There is a public transportation system that will certainly get you to where you want to go faster than by foot but growing up in Philly I am more likely to walk a city when possible.  There is a city sense in every city that can only be felt when your foot hits the pavement.  In Dublin I walked from Trinity College, where the Book of Kells resides, to Kilmainham Jail and St. James Gate.  During this walk I crossed over the Ha'Penny Bridge more than once. 

I plan on returning to Ireland next year.  I hear there's a festival in the planning that I won't want to miss. 

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