Friday, October 24, 2008

We finally got the hot tub set up today. It came up the hill in September on a Sweat Lodge day when we had a lot of guys here. It wasn’t an easy move, even with all the help. It’s big, heavy and the outer shell is pretty flimsy, all things considered, particularly because the attachment between the shell and the ¾ inch plywood base was weak; on the way up, it ruptured.

We got the cover off and Fritz went in to bail out rainwater that had gotten in during the last two months. Then he wiped down the inside. Meanwhile, I was filling the gaps between the outer shell and the base with spray foam to boost the insulation and keep out rodents that might crawl in through the gaps to keep warm. Then I got the hose hooked up, filled the tub and the big moment arrived to test it out.

In spite of all the whacking around it suffered along the way, the tub’s plumbing is solid and everything worked. It’s spending the night gradually heating up to 85 degrees, which is where we keep it between uses—its back in business.


Vienne occupies a strategic position at a prominent curve on the Rhône, at the foot of a high promontory from which the river can easily be surveyed for long distances north and south. The Roman theater was built into the steep slope of this hill and is still in use for concerts and other events. Julius Caesar made a headquarters here while leading his famous campaign against the Gauls.

Modern Vienne is a prosperous, stylish city that attracts visitors particularly for its Roman remains, which are extensive.

Vienne seen from the heights, the Rhône in the background and the mass of the Cathedral seen from the rear, just left of center

The city's great gem, a first century B.C. temple to Augustus and Livia, the imperial couple who were Rome's first emperor and empress. It survived so largely intact due to its having been in constant use over the centuries. This is a tall, very impressive building that eventually became a French court of justice

A considerable section of the Forum still stands.

Corner of a modern building made of random stones from the Forum

A 14th century house with a take-out food window on the ground floor. In the medieval period, the ground floor would also have been a shop or small business of some kind.

A huge trompe l'oeil mural on the blank wall of a building near the Forum memorializes the city's history using the Roman theater, slyly updated, as a metaphor for Vienne's vibrant life.

Part of a Forum building incorporated into a modern structure

6th century church with a 10th century bell tower, St. Pierre serves as the city's lapidary museum, exhibiting everything that is rock from tiny semi-precious stones used in jewelry, to . . . . .

. . . blocks from Roman buildings--here a section of a very formal cornice. At least a dozen more pieces of this exquisitely carved cornice lay up against the church's flank.

Vienne was a long morning visit for us, after which we had lunch on board as the boat sailed north to the great city of Lyon.

So, where did you put the hot tub? Wherever you put it, it can't be a bad spot with all of those trees and sky around! perfect location.
Lewis, the tub is off the east end of the house (just off our bedroom) with a stand of shagbark hickories backed by white pines on the other side. You can see up the hillside to the north and in front, to the south, down to what will be a field of day lilies next spring.
I'm enjoying the fact that I can picture exactly where the hot tub is. I'm really enjoying the vicarious pleasure of your words and photos of the European trip.
Your pictures make me long for a European holiday. I've yet to explore France. I'm not overly religious but I love religious art.
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