I was also fascinated by the pistols and muskets from the 1600s. They did some serious experimenting with ratchets and wheels and hammers and levers, in order to create firearms that were more reliable and accurate. Of course, when you were relying on gunpowder and a spark, reliability was never guaranteed. I also found the crossbows to be incredibly lethal-looking - you'd have a hard time recovering from one of those arrows. OK, I will move on from my medieval weapons moment!
I can't remember when I became a Rodin "fan". Fan seems a paltry word. It was either late in high school or early in my years as a trainee librarian, let loose amongst a library full of books. Both The Thinker (above) and The Kiss (of course, I was a teenager) expressed everything to me, through bronze and marble. Today I visited the Musee Rodin, and could hardly believe I was seeing the original sculptures, as well as their early studies. It's a very strange feeling, to have almost idolised a collection of works of art for such a long time, and then finally get to see them for real. The passion and eloquence in his sculptures, and their effect on me, has not at all been diminished by seeing them today. And in this age of cynicism and "what's next" tourism, that is a wonderful thing.