Sunday, February 14, 2016

Retired in Ann Arbor: The Villa of Mysteries at Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Time to revisit our most popular blog post!

A short distance outside the walls of the ancient city of Pompeii, sat a beautiful villa, surrounded by fertile fields-- and with beautiful vistas of the countryside, mountains and the Bay of Naples.

The best views were from a large room, used for entertaining and dining, that was decorated with large murals dedicated to the Greek god Dionysus.  The Romans knew this god as Bacchus, the god of agriculture, wine and bacchanalia (according to Wiki, these were wild and mystic festivals celebrating the wine god--).

Today, the Villa of Mysteries still sits outside Pompeii, where it sat undiscovered between AD 79 when Mount Vesuvius erupted-- and 1909 when it was discovered by the then owner of the land.

In 1924, before the villa was fully uncovered, University of Michigan Professor of Latin Francis W. Kelsey commissioned a large-scale color replica of this room for the University.  He contracted a famous Italian artist to paint the replica.  And thanks to Professor Kelsey, we are able to walk into this room today, and enjoy the murals that the Roman owner saw in the year AD 79.

The meaning of the murals are a mystery, as these sacred rites were only known by the initiates, and the Roman owner of this villa is also a mystery.

Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day or not, it is worth spending a few minutes at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology  (free, but donations welcome) to ponder the mystery of love in this amazing room.

(And who can resist chubby little cupids?)

Open weekends 1-4PM
and Tuesday through Friday 9-4PM.
Closed Monday.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Winter walk in Nichols Arboretum

Yes, there is beauty to be found in a winter landscape
 Sometimes it's not appealing to walk in the winter, but after reading another warning that "sitting is the new smoking", we decided to layer up, and go to one of our favorite venues:  The Arb.

We went on a Sunday morning, so all of the parking on Washington Heights (the road between the Arb and the hospital), is no charge, and was open.  We had the place to ourselves.

What we're waiting for!
Promise of spring!

Walk in past the visitor's center and the peony garden, and turn right and go downhill past the Fairy Woods.  Follow the border all the way around the Arb, keeping to the paths.  We took some of the steeper paths on the way to the prairie-- that can be avoided if you choose.  You can add a little distance by walking all the way around the prairie.

Check the map at the entrance, for a better description of the areas in the Arb.

It seems a little longer than this, because of the hills
Too chilly to sit for long
Total altitude gain = 17 flights of stairs
This info is from a free smartphone app, called Map My Walk

I slow down going downhill  (old knees)
A little bit of sunshine