A hitchhiking bee and some more ATCs

I had some errands to run today, so I hired our babysitter to come and hang out with the kids while I took care of business. When I got in the van, I noticed a bee had landed on the outside of the windshield. I didn’t give it much thought until I had driven a couple of blocks and it was still hanging on. Intrigued by this little guy, I watched him for a minute as I pulled into a parking lot. He went through ritualistic cleanings of his thorax or his hind legs (not sure which). I ran into the store to get what I needed only to come out to my van and find him still there. He traveled with me all the way across town to the credit union and then to two other places. While I was in line at the Credit Union, I retreived Savannahs drawing pad from the seat behind me and grabbed a pen and drew the bee in this unique vantage point, that I am sure I have never seen a bee from before. I never noticed that the bee (at least this particular kind of bee) had a yellow head with black eyes. His six legs and antenae were all a golden yellow. Now, if you’d have asked me before today, I would have said that bees have black legs…but not this one. He also had translucent wings that were of a golden color. I found him to be a very beautiful creature…intricate and detailed…a reflection of his creator.

On another note…I just finished seven more ATCs…for an architecture swap. I had fun doing these because I chose to do my cards of places I visited on my trip to Europe in 1992. I saw so many great places. These are my favorites…and I included information about each place on the back along with a little note that I had visited that place in 1992. Because I love them, I am going to share each one with the facts icluded. Have you ever been to any of these?
The Colosseum Rome, Italy 80AD
The Colosseum was designed to hold 50,000 spectators. It had approx. 80 entrances so crowds could arrive and leave quickly and easily. The base of the building covers about six acres. It is equivalent to a 12-15 story building. Many years after it had ceased to be used it became a convenient source of building materials until its restoration period beginning in the eighteenth century.

The Eiffel Tower Paris, France 1889
It stands 985′ tall. It was built by Architect Gustav Eiffel. 300 steel workers constructed it. 1 worker was killed during construction. It has 2,500,000 rivets and 18,038 steel pieces. It takes 50 tons of paint to paint it. It is painted every seven years with dark brown paint. Lighting was not added until 1986.

The Gargoyles of Notre Dame Cathedral Paris, France 1250
These half-man, half-beast monsters are carved from stone. Gargoyle comes from the Latin word for gullet or drain. Gargoyles are actually drain pipes. Each grotesque figure has a passageway inside that carries rainwater from the roof and out through the gargoyles mouth.

Basilica of St. Francis Assisi, Italy 1228
Work started on the basilica in 1228, just two years after the saint had died. The pink and white stones from Mt. Subasio used to build the church creates a special, highly artistic and chromatic effect. Giotto painted 28 beautiful panels in the upper basilica 1300-1330.

Venice, Italy 421
Venice is built on 117 small islands and has some 150 canals and 409 bridges. “Nothing in the story of Venice is ordinary. She was born dangerously, lived grandly, and never abandoned in her blazen individualism.” -James Morris (The World of Venice, 1959)

Dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore Florence, Italy 1436
Nicknamed “el duomo” this is the main cathedral of Florence. This church had no dome for about 100 years after the walls went up in 1296. It was not until the sculptor, Filipo Brunelleschi convinced the cathedral committee that his design was feasable. It was one of the world’s greatest engineering feats and spans 140 feet.

The Roman Forum Rome, Italy
Initially the forum was a sort of open-air market. Monuments were eventually erected by the powers to earn the allegience of the people. The main street that runs through the forum is the Via Sacra or the Sacred Way where returning heroes paraded their prisoners. Many of Rome’s leaders erected monuments along this route.
(Oh yeah, and when I was entering the forum some gypsy kids pickpocketed me and stole a really cool change purse that I had 50,000 lira in, it’s only about $50., but still!)

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