Archives for posts with tag: Japan

This week’s travel theme from Ailsa’s blog ‘Where’s my backpack?’ is Doorways. Very late to the show this week, and the first time in a long time that I have posted to the travel theme.

I love doors and the efforts that people go to as a decorated entrance to their [choose type of construction] house, castle, temple, church, apartment… And I have so many door photos in my travel stash – no wonder my wife wonders what I shoot at sometimes. Here is my go…

Starting in the Royal Palace of Bangkok, Thailand. Yes that is real gold!

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Still in Bangkok, but really a world away, is this beautiful entrance into one of the buildings at Jim Thompson’s house.

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A little further east, to the beautiful city of Kanazawa, Japan. This is modern Japanese architecture at its best, and I love the curtain pattern.

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Further east, to the heart of the country is the imposing doorways at Nijo Castle in Kyoto. This was the power base for the shogunate for centuries.

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Over in Europe, and I could have done this whole post on doorways in the Old Town of Tallinn, Estonia. This was my favourite with intricate carvings.

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Across the pond by ferry, and this was the doorway entrance to our hotel in Helsinki, Finland on the same trip. The ceiling paintings are the highlight.

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In Paris, France, there is a treasure trove along every street of doors – modern, classical, and some antique. But this caught my eye in the 8e arrondissement. I love the metal work and the little critters all over the “branches”. Someone wealthy lives here!

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In the Mediterranean, the stunning island of Santorini, Greece has doors of all shades including pastels. Beautiful island…

 

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The historic university town of Cambridge, United Kingdom has some eclectic architecture. But these three simple entrances were what caught my eye.

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Finally the door with all the irony in the world. It was not the door so much at the Rockefeller Center in New York City, USA – but the stone carvings on either side. The symbols of communism at the very centre of heart of capitalism.

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This week’s travel theme from Ailsa’s blog ‘Where’s my backpack?’ is Statues. I am late to the party this week, but I had to do a post on this one. I take loads of photos of statues on my travels. I don’t know why, but the ones that are grandiose or imposing are the real attention grabbers for me. Often there is so much history and meaning behind why a statue was put in place. As usual all the images link through to my larger photos on Flickr.

First stop on my travels is New York, United States, and my most favourite building(s) in the world (did I just sound like a school child?) is the Rockefeller Center. The architecture and art are a perfect mix, and in my humble opinion it is the beating heart of New York City (alongside Central Park of course). Poor old Atlas certainly is carrying some weight on his shoulders at the moment. But even then he looks imposing.

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A travel theme about statues must include the French grand dame of liberty herself (yes she is originally French – and she came over by boat). I remember vividly travelling to Liberty Island with my wife and seeing her for the first time. A gift from one country to another sharing a common ideal of freedom. I was lucky to be greeted by her and a deep blue sky.

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Lightening the mood a bit on this theme is this funny statue that I captured in Toronto, Canada, on the Rogers Centre. I am sure many a baseball fan walking to the stadium from downtown Toronto have walked under the noses of these characters.

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European cities are awash with statues. I could have posted thousands that I have captured. But I chose a simple one from one of the dens of academia – Cambridge, United Kingdom. What a beautiful university town, but don’t forget that even as a tourist the old academics are watching over you.

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Finally to Asia, and one of my favourite photos is from the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, of the demon guardians looking down over the trespassers of the grounds below them. They are colourful, imposing, and look… well demonic. He is so full of colour!

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Lastly onto Tokyo, Japan, and the strong imposing figure of 14th century samurai Kusunoki Masashige astride on his horse. He has the honour of being forever enshrined in front of the Imperial Palace. The storm filled clouds later opened up on top of me on my first day in Tokyo.

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Great theme this week Ailsa, I could have posted so many more but I wanted to show the ones that stirred something in me for this week’s theme.

This week’s travel theme from Ailsa’s blog ‘Where’s my backpack?’ is Gardens. When having a look at my past travels I found a whole load of photos from Gardens in the different places that I visited. Some were grand, others were small. I guess I find solace in a little bit of nature – controlled. What I really enjoy discovering is where there is a mix of urban environment with botanic endeavours. The other funny thing about this theme is that my family name is probably derived from the French word for garden – jardin.

Sydney, Australia (my home town), is where I am going to start. The Botanical Gardens marry the harbour with the city and with the skyline immediately adjacent. It provides for an interesting background.

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Brisbane, Australia, has a similar location for the City Botanic Gardens. But its gardens are more tropical in nature.

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Asian destinations have gardens aplenty, which I think is deeply rooted in many Asian cultures. In Kanazawa, Japan, you will find one of the three best gardens in the whole of the country – the Kenrokuen Gardens. They are stunning and right in the heart of the city, adjacent to the remains of Kanazawa Castle. It was too bad that it was such an overcast day, but I was fortunate that I was on the Western side of the country as the rest of the country was in the grips of a typhoon.

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Singapore is called the Garden City, and for good reason. It’s tropical climate is perfect for botanical ventures. My new favourite gardens in Singapore are the Gardens by the Bay (which I have posted about before). The “super” trees are something else.

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Going to Europe and France maintains a rich legacy of its past with the many formal (and geometric) gardens. One of the most famous in Paris is the Jardin de Tuileries. They used to make tiles for the buildings in the city at this location. Just don’t walk on the grass!… and yes that is the Tour Eiffel in the background.

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The Château de Versailles, just outside of Paris, has the most amazing gardens I have ever seen with its fountains and the hedgerow mazes. I recommend this far better than spending your time queuing to see some overly ornate interiors that are only for royalty (or other hob-knobs). Here you must definitely keep off the grass!

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When I was in Athens for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, I did appreciate the effort that the Greeks put in to build the Olympic venues (though it possibly bankrupted the country). The main Olympic Park, OAKA, had a garden of a different kind with its tree lined boulevards, ponds, and steel structured agora designed by Calatrava. Night time was surreal in the park. Unfortunately the park is in a state of ruin as the bleak economic situation takes its toll on the country.

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What continues to surprise me when visiting big American cities is how the locals have gone to great efforts to build gardens in the heart of their home towns. In Washington DC, the most beautiful of all the presidential memorials is the Roosevelt monument. It is very understated and is quite the opposite to the overly grand structures located around the rest of the National Mall.

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San Francisco is quite a site, and not too dissimilar to Sydney in many respects. There are plenty of Gardens here too, but the ones I like the most were those surrounding that infamously steep bit of bitumen – Lombard Street. Even the surrounding houses got in on the botanic act.

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But in all my travels, by far my favourite garden to visit has been the New York City High Line. It is a garden that has been built by a collective of locals who regenerated an elevated railway line. It is a fantastic example of urban regeneration, but it is special for me as it was one of the first overseas destinations that I took my boy soon after he had started to walk.

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Great theme this week Ailsa! I had quite a few more, but that is enough for this post.

 

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