It’s that time of the week again, btw i was thinking, if anyone out there is reading this list, interested in an email instead? My interests include business, books, museums, arts, history. If you think that’ll be cool comment please!
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, books, Boston, boston public library, guide, information, libraries, library of congress, love for books, new haven, new york, new york public library, tips, travel, Washington DC, Yale
This post is about the 4 libraries i visited, what i got to do there and links
I recently got to travel from Boston all the way to Washington DC and there’s one thing i’m proud to have accomplished; visiting 4 famous libraries. Which libraries are these you may ask, why they’re:
1. Boston Public library
Access to this library is simple, you can take the T (What Boston people refer to as the subway) and stop at COPLEY STATION. Entrance to the library is free. Once you enter the front doors you are greeted by this marble staircase with two lions at the sides, the architecture is gorgeous. To get to the famous reading room, go up the stairs to the second floor and there find the entrance. Be sure to keep quiet as people actually read in this library. There are also exhibitions and you can explore the third floor. My other fave area is the garden. It’s on the first floor, instead of taking the stairs go to your right and that is the entrance. It’s very italian style open air garden and that’s what i love about it, reminds me of italy. Also check out the map room if you have time. I’d say budget 1 hour if you’re really into architecture and the exhibitions. One more thing, depending on which entrance you enter through you;ll see different things, the one i went through was the MAIN ENTRANCE, there is a side entrance and if you enter through there you will see the more normal looking library and the people of Boston utilizing their library, i guess this is where you see the real deal.
It’s hard to miss this building as it’s a huge grey box, it stands out amidst the old architecture of Yale and it’s next to the huge dining hall. Entrance is free but no one gets to touch any of the books. They are after all, old and rare. You do however get to stare at the amazing amount of old books in a single space. I really think they did a good job here especially with the presentation and lighting. There’s exhibitions around the area about all kinds of material used to print the written word, it is fascinating as you see many other items other than just paper.
3. New York public library
There are more tourists here than actual readers, i’m sorry to say this but it is true. It is hard to photograph the library not just because of all the tourist but the lighting and also the reading room you see above is divided into half so it’s hard to get the whole stretch, nevertheless it is a library worth visiting. The check out station itself is something to marvel at. Furthermore they have many other mini rooms that you should check out, like the map room, the genealogy area, etc. Compared to the Boston library this was bigger no doubt but it felt really crowded too.
A must visit if you’re in DC. The biggest library in the world and the architecture is AMAZING, i mean compared to the rest, they really spent a lot more time and money into this baby. Note: This paragraph only talks about the Jefferson building. Take the free tour which goes on every hour, usually 1.30,2.30, etc, the last one is at 3.30, it is worth it as the tour guide gives you so much information you would never have picked up just by glancing around the library yourself. The sad part was that you can’t actually visit the room you see above unless you’re doing research, however, i was told that you can be a member easily, just bring your passport to the building next to it and you can get a membership easily. Sadly i didn’t have time to make one. One thing i really loved about the tour was the guide’s explanation about a particular fresco about good and bad government and the family life picture. So much detail and meaning is embedded into this building it would take days to just discover everything. If you’re done with the tour, go to the special area where they display Jefferson’s library, he’s the guy that made this whole thing possible by donating his library, for more details go take the tour. When i saw it i was in awe, this is a library i aspire to have, just rows and rows of books. There was also a special exhibition that just opened that focused on the civil war and the special exhibit is the contents of Abraham Lincoln’s pocket the night he was shot. Oh yes, i forgot to mention, the library of congress doesn’t just hold books, it holds loads of other historical and precious items such as the one mentioned before. This was by far my favorite library, also not to mention National treasure had a scene here, so yeah that’s cool too. ps. You’re not allowed to take any pictures during the tour but there are free professionally photographed pictures on the website for free.
To say that i was happy is a huge understatement, for a book lover, this is a dream, the only thing i regret is that i didn’t have time to browse (if allowed) and i didn’t have access to all the inside areas. Seriously, this made me want to pursue a career in archiving or library science or just a researcher anything basically that would allow me access into famous libraries.
Note: I do not own any of these pictures, i did take personal pictures in these libraries but i feel that professional work would do better justice to them.
Originally posted on 3/9/11
Day 2 of our trip and miraculously, I managed to wake up in time for breakfast, kinda. It was really good as there were many choices of meat and breads. After that, Mr Vito our tour guide for half a day came and we set off. Here, when they say half day, it means 3 hours, how nice is that, half a day of work is just 3 hours. The first place we went was of course the infamous colloseum. Named so because of its size. And there was the arc of Constantine nearby. It’s just so different seeing the colloseum before you in real life, pictures and all just do no justice you know.
After that we made our way around Rome seeing many things like the ‘wedding cake’ named so as it’s white and a semi circle, the president’s house (it has many windows) and then we stopped by the rode and Mr Vito took us down some lanes to the Trevi Fountain. We had to walk as the lanes were not big enough for the van to pass through. I was so tempted to thrown in a coin, the 2 cents that I found on the floor, I didn’t throw it in. But fear not, since Rome didn’t get my coin, they took my stationery, yeah I left it in Rome. Oh, fun fact! The coins that you thrown into the Trevi Fountain go to a charity.
Next on the list, the pantheon. Here’s something I learnt, less than 5% of ancient Rome is left and most of it are in ruins, you see columns, broken walls, pieces here and there, but the Pantheon, it’s still intact, it’s like time stopped at this place and preserved it so well. It is ancient and yet well maintained and I just couldn’t decide how to film it. I was debating between going full circle or just do parts, I don’t think I did a good job in filming this part, which is a big disappointment for me, furthermore, we didn’t get to spend much time here so I didn’t really get to see and enjoy it to the fullest.
We then walked to the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi at Piazza Novanna (here’s why I said Italian is easy to read, Fontana= fountain, Quattro= four), it’s a fountain with four guys that represent the four major rivers, The Nile, The Danube, The Ganges and the Plate. Now the Piazza Novana was built on the site of an ancient stadium, so you can see a sort of oval road around the fountain, in fact, it’s like the running track in modern stadiums, well it was as ancient Romans loved sports, way before they invented football. And there is the building right in front of it, which I forgot the name. The story here is, the guy who made the fountain is enemies with the guy who designed the building, so all the sculptures on the fountain are designed in a way that insults the building right in front of it. Way to make a statement to your competitor eh? And earn money for it too.
After walking a bit more, we crossed this bridge where there’s a beautiful rover below and you can just see the Dome of St Peter’s church. And right in front of us was the court, and is it magnificent or what. If you worked as a judge/lawyer here, your office is real fancy I tell you. Look at the modern buildings nowadays, all glass or just flat, no design, no intricate statues and carvings, just plan slab of concrete. No wonder it’s so boring. I’m sorry; it’s pretty hard to convince me that ‘modern’ architecture, a slash of a few lines is something nice to look at, better yet a work of genius or art.
Our last stop was the Vatican, it’s a whole country by itself and the big boss is the Pope. The citizens are the bishops and the people who work in the church. So that’s one small, tiny, cosy country for you. We went around the wall that encompasses the whole country, yeah, that’s the border between the Vatican and Italy for you. And rock climbers may find it a joy to climb, not so when security forces you to come down. We entered the Vatican and saw all the saints on the top, loads of them, its fun to point out one and naming their action, ex. A guy with his hand on his chin = thinking. Fine, it’s hard to explain.
“Yeah she says it’s hard to explain ya hear?”
I have to admit, I thought security was going to be though, The UK sure was, hello…..just because I put my laptop in my bag as I put it through the scanner does not mean I have anything to hide, it just means I didn’t know I had to take it out. Seriously, the security people at the UK airport are scary. But here it’s just put your stuff through the scanner, walk through the metal detector and you’re fine. Nice and easy and no one get labelled as suspicious. And we’re in, went to the church of St Paul. If my church were this big and this heavily decorated, I would be really distracted. How are you supposed to pay attention to the sermon when there are so many pretty things to look at, and scary ones too. Some statues can be scary I have to say, or maybe it’s just a way to say “Pay attention!” Back to the church, it was lovely with mummified popes and a vault under the church, where they keep more dead bodies. I guess there should be many dead people in a church this old. Ok enough talk about dead people. The lighting wasn’t so good, it’s the dreaded yellow light, I hate it when it’s like that, it’s like you think you can take a good fast photo since you clearly can see well, but no, your camera can’t and if you shake a little, you picture becomes blurry. Yeah, loads of spoilt pictures because of that.
When we were done, no actually the rest of the group was done, I still wanted to explore, but nope, gotta follow the group. We walked to the Vatican Museum. Since we were in the Vatican you’d think that it’s just outside the church. Nope, wrong there, you have to go out, and then walk around the wall for some distance and then finally you reach it. I think they sorta suspected many people would end up tired like us so there were many chairs at the ticketing counter, big ones too.
Since it is a museum, you’ve got lots of statues and statues and statues. At a point there were so many i just gave up trying to figure out which one is which. And the information guide in front of them is not helpful at all. I think they misnumbered the statues, they didn’t look like what the guide said, but then again, it’s not like i’m an expert in statuery (made up word).
The whole place screams renaissance, you have, as mentioned the statues at the side or anywhere they can find an empty spot, yeah, there’s that many. And you have the paintings on the wall and then the specific rooms for things like, carpets that are hung on the wall and the map room. It’s very colourful and detailed as, in the olden days, they didn’t have fancy sports cars, so the only way to show off was to bring in colour! The more colour you have on your painting the richer you were as paint and colour was expensive and difficult to attain. Now go grab your buncho paint and treat it well, haha just kidding. We went to the Vatican to see one thing and one thing only, the sisteen chapel. Where Michalangelo painted on the wall, God and Adam, creation and many other scenes from the bible. It was a shock to me when we had to go down some stairs, this masterpiece happens to be housed in the chapel that’s a little underground. You are not allowed to take pictures here and people just somehow sit around and stare at the ceiling, maybe they’re all tired already, i’m sure that’s why. It was fun trying to figure out the scenes painted like the red sea, feeding the 500 thousand and many more.
Since we arrived at the Vatican Museum an hour earlier, we came out really early and had to wait for our van to come, so we walked around the area, looking at shops and buying nothing. Sadness.We also managed to make friends with the guy selling souveniors, so in the end we got the Rome, before and after book (a must have) for 10 euro’s when i costs 12! That’s an RM8 difference and a big saving when you’re on holiday in Europe.
When the van came, we headed straight to the Spanish steps. It is named so because…..actually i have no idea why they would call the steps Spanish steps, when you’re in Rome, why not Roman steps? Italian Steps? Like i said, i don’t know why they named it so. I tried looking for some information on the guide but no one is saying anything. It wasn’t as good as i expected, after having seen it in many movies i was excited, but then when i got there, it was crowded and it just turned out to be steps, they lead to the church on the top and it has a nice view of Rome at the top. At the bottom, the road straight ahead is the row where the branded goods are. Needless to say, we did not go down that path. Anyway, it was super crowded. The steps is a place where the young Italians hang out and tourist rest and take pictures. It’s just steps as said before, so it’s a good place to hang out i guess. And that basically concluded my time in Rome, i was shocked too (because i did not read the itenary properly, that we had to leave so fast. I miss you Rome, return my stationery please!
Originally posted on 3/7/11
Rome, Rome, Rome, it’s sad that I only got one day to spend with you. I couldn’t walk in the ancient forum as I had wished and I really should have thrown in a coin into the trevi fountain so that my stationery would be spared.
Hi there, as promised, I’m going to write about my trip, it’s long due. Ok, let’s start with the flight. My family booked Ryan air tickets from Stansted to Rome (ciampiano). The flight was ok, I was expecting something really bad because everyone was already lined up when we reached the waiting area and we thought we’ll be separated. But lo and behold, the 6 seats in front of us that were booked for someone suddenly became free when they decided to play a disappearing act. We were thrilled as we had 12 seats to ourselves! (Note, for those who think this might happen to them: this does NOT always happen, actually it’ll be easier to find a seashell in KL than this occurring, Ok I’m just exaggerating)
As we flew over Italy, it was dark and the lights came out, it was beautiful even though I couldn’t see the buildings, but the lights were just magical. I was stunned and totally enchanted as we flew through Milan and then Rome. How can I describe it, it’s like that love story you’ve always dreamed about happen to you right at that moment.
The airport though, was not as good as it was run down, small and inefficient. You should know that this is of course not their main airport, so it is of no way reflective of Italian Airports, in fact, the one in Genoa was fine, but that’s for later.
Because we had our own arrangement with the tour company, the driver was waiting for us and when we got to the ‘van’ we were stunned, it was HUGE, a 16 seater for the 10 of us, ample space and it wasn’t shabby at all. We were going to travel in comfort and style for the next 9 days! Booyah!
The driver unfortunately couldn’t speak English, but thank God we had the translator on our I-phones. And we asked him to take us to eat. It was around 7 pm, normal eating time for us here, but not in Italy, they have their dinner a little later. (Just like my family actually hehe). He took us to a nice restaurant where, to our horror, the staff couldn’t talk in English, it was hard to communicate, but good thing my mom knew some good Italian food and how to say it right. I mean, if you asked me, I’d just say spaghetti, but then they’ll ask you what kind, seafood? Olio? (In Italian) and I’d just smile at them, thinking they took my order already and they’re saying it’s good. Lol. We had spheghetti, risotto and the bread with cold tomatoes. In Malaysia, this combo would not be my first choice, but I was in Italy and I was hungry, so I just ate it and I really enjoyed it, it’s so different, very tasty. The meal turned out to be 150 Euro’s for the 10 of us, that’ll be 15 euro’s, the normal average that you pay for good Italian food, try to save money or pay less than 9 euro’s and you won’t enjoy your meal. Trust me.
We got to the hotel, Hotel Giobani and checked in, the place was small, but at a very strategic place, just 5 mins walk ( if you’re super slow) to the Termini station and just outside was a bus stop that seemed to be really busy, as I had to keep on getting out of people’s way as they descended from the bus. The receptionist guy was really helpful and his English was impeccable. We were so glad and he helped us communicate with the driver. After having such a tiring wait for the flight and everything, I was so tired I just crashed on the bed, hoping that I’d wake up in time for breakfast without an alarm. The adults were more energetic and decided to walk around, but not far I guess, as I heard from them.
[ No pictures for this one unfortunately, but wait up for Day 2!]