Sunday, 20 May 2012

Berkeley and Stanford Universities

Just before Ric and I met each other I was introduced to another Californian - Patrick Russell - who was retiring from the Antiquities Section of the University of California Berkeley library. Therefore, while on my first visit to see Ric I visited Patrick as well.

He lives in Berkeley near the Rockridge Station on the BART line which goes out to beyond Concord.  I called at his condominium and, after getting to know each other a little better, he took me to his former work place.

The location of the University of California, Berkelely can be seen from most parts of the San Francisco Bay area because of the carillon tower which dominates the landscape.

                                   The University of California Berkeley Carillon Tower

The university is situated on the lower slopes of the Oakland Hills so the terrain is very much 'up and down' and it is landscaped beautifully. Lushly green lawns and a number of groves of trees. Actually, both the planetarium and the Botanical  Gardens are high up in the hills and are reached by a campus bus that climbs up a mountainous road. The view from up there is spectacular!

                        No - the Botanical Gardens are not all that lush - but the view is great.

Back to Patrick - he took me into the library and to the vaults where antique texts and scrolls are kept and then he took me down to a workroom in the basement. In there some young women were working on papyrus scrolls. I was awestruck - especially at the desk of one of the young women who had just unrolled a scroll. Being impressed I asked her - she could read the Egyptian hieroglyphics - if the uncovered text was important? Her response deflated me: "No, this is a shopping list reading  'So much grain for so many shekels'." Papyrus was expensive so each sheet was used over and over with the first messages being important and each succeeding message less so. Still, to see those scrolls was very impressive.

There are a number of streets in Berkeley that go up to the university and - I would say - the best known of those is Telegraph. For a number of blocks down from the university that street is lined with shops. Two of them are the best video stores that I have encountered and I have been able to add to my DVD collection by shopping there. Also, there are a number of book stores and more eateries than I can count.

The passersby are interesting as well. Near the university end of Telegraph I usually see a handful of hippies grouped together. I thought that these folk had largely disappeared since the 1970s but that is not the case. While there are not all that many, one does encounter them.

I was amused on a visit the day after Christmas in 2008. There was a small group of 'hippies' sitting in a circle on the sidewalk and they were playing a game of Monopoly on a shiny new board. The game which is the epitome of capitalism  being played by a group of dissidents!

As I mentioned above, the lawns at U.C.Berkelely are lush and there are groves of trees. Also, Strawberry Creek trickles across the campus.

                                                             Strawberry  Creek

 After moving to Oakland, Ric - along with his buddy Lawson Barnes - transferred to Grace North Church in Berkeley which is situated at the corner of Cedar and Walnut Streets within walking distance of the campus. Thus I am able to visit there on every trip I make to see him.

As each visit is for a few days to up to three weeks I am constantly looking for different places to visit. On one of those trips I decided to visit the other famous Bay Area university - Stanford. There is a train - Cal train - that travels every half hour from San Francisco to San Jose and back. One of the stations is Palo Alto  from which there is a courtesy bus to the university.

Unlike U. C. Berkeley, the terrain where Stanford is located is relatively flat therefore the campus is not as scenic - but it is lovely none-the-less.

The campus is dominated by a tower as well.

                                                              The Hoover Tower

                                                  The Hoover Tower and a fountain                                                     

                                                        The Cecil H. Green Library

There are two interesting sculptures on that campus.

The first one is 'The Burghers of Calais" which depicts some victims of the interminable 'religious wars' in Europe during the Middle Ages.

                               This one really grabbed me - George Segal's  "Gay Liberation"

The founder of Stanford was a religious man  so he had a large worship center erected.

                                                         The Memorial Church

The interior of the Memorial Church (it is huge!)

This is in California, the climate is warm, so there is more than one fountain.

                                                     The White Memorial Fountain

I attended the University of British Columbia, I live three  or four blocks from the University of Toronto. I have visited the University of Missouri and now I have seen both U.C. Berkelely and Stanford! How lucky can one get?

1 comment:

  1. Great memories Ernie. Your experience at the Universities reminded me of how much I miss my job as an archivist at the U. of Guelph. But I feel fortunate to have worked there. Great photograhs as well.