Vacation: About the Architecture

This is part of a new series of blog posts about travelling
on vacation....starting with places I have actually visited before...and looking into fun things to do, places to stay, and, of course, souvenirs!

If you missed my previous posts in this series, here are the links:
Part I Ocean Liner to the UK: Pet Friendly
Part II Cruises: Pets and MOOCs
Part III Cross Country: Cars and Crystals
Part IV Port of Southampton UK: Cars and Tours
Part V Southampton UK: Vegan and Pet Friendly

As you know if you read my previous articles, my dream vacation has been to take my dogs for a walk at Stonehenge. Because I live in California, this scenario has taken quite a bit of strategy on my part to find a way to get to the destination. The strategies were covered in my previous blog posts, in which I virtually arrived at the Port of Southampton, did some sightseeing and found a place to stay.

I have recently started a new job, so I don't have quite as much time to write extensive blog posts as I've have in the past. What I've chosen to do, instead, is to share cool, vacation and travel-related stuff I notice on my partners' websites.

Because I haven't necessarily purchased everything I write about, this blog post is not always going to be about my personal experiences.

What I will do for you, is share the things I feel may be particularly interesting, helpful or fun for a vacation, based on what I am most attracted to at the time I write.

Last week's blog post was about visiting Windsor castle; a place I honestly haven't visited in person, unlike Stonehenge which I have. An obvious difference between the two places is that one is a monument from the past, and the other an historic residence which provides regal shelter in the present day. If Stonehenge is archaeology, Windsor castle is architecture.

Memories of places I've visited in the past are often stronger than experiences, souvenirs, entertainment or gastronomy; despite that all these things are highly marketed to tourists.

As a foreign student of a Royal music conservatory overseas in my youth, the ambiance of the historic conservatory building is something I still remember with crystal clarity. To this day, I recall climbing six flights of stairs, rising to the pinnacle of the structure for private lessons, because the elevators were reserved for professors.

Music and the ambiance of architecture are an exceptionally pleasant combination. I like to believe this blend was the reason I was given a choice to transform from aspiring musician to aspiring architect.

At the moment, I'm enjoying a couple of online courses I want to share with you today. These are MOOCS or Massive Online Open Courses that may have a little, or a lot, to do with the architecture.

The first course is about starchitect Mario Botta; a European architect whose ideas are shared in videos and text. The MOOC is provided in the English language at the FutureLearn platform. In subtitled videos, the architect speaks poetically with respect to topics of historic structures, strong geometric forms, and a love for warm materials like brick.

Despite my appreciation for architecture, and my training as an architect, I am not a technically minded person. With the exception of a fascination with the inner mechanical workings of acoustic pianos, when I fell in love with the beauty of fine architecture my heart was already full of music, the art of writing poetry, and theatrical performance.

How many people are lucky enough to discover the perfect math professor in college, after struggling with the topic for about twelve years in school? I don't know the answer to this question. I only know that, had I relied on pre-college math skills to get me into architecture school, it would have been a huge joke.

My high school geometry teacher, a divorced man with a chip on his shoulder, taught at a pace just a little too fast for me to follow. I used to dread being called to the board to prove theorems, which made me feel like a lost attorney in a courtroom full of amused basketball jocks. As I recall, "I'll bet you a dollar to a donut" was one of his favorite phrases.

Bet a dollar? sure. I'd bet every guy in that class would be laughing hysterically if they knew I were accepted into architecture school. If it wasn't for college math classes, I'd probably be laughing at myself too.

Those old ghosts linger sometimes. If only there were a way to prove to myself, let alone a class from the past, that I can understand high school level geometry. And there is. Thanks, Goddess, someone is looking out for people like me.

I found it on an internet search. Introduction to Geometry, offered through edX platform. This is a really nice geometry course, taught with lots of interactive graphics, and maybe a gazillion short lessons. You really can take it at your own pace. And, believe it or not, it's fun.

I personally recommend both of these courses for anyone who appreciates architecture. And, yes, you can do either or both courses from a hotel room with internet access and a computer. I wouldn't wait too long, though, because I'm not sure how long these courses will be available.

That's it for this blog post. See ya next week!

Comments, anyone?

To be continued...


Introduction to Geometry | edX
www . edx . org/course/introduction-geometry-schoolyourself-geometryx-1

Mario Botta: To Be an Architect - Online Course
www . futurelearn . com/courses/mario-botta-architect