Paris…what possibly is there to say about Paris that has not already been said during two thousand years of poets, artists and philosophers?
Paris…my adoration of you grew like a slow burn from indifference into an intense love affair…my first impressions being unfavourable and pinged with disappointment at the dirty streets, graffiti and general lack of seeming pride in the city. It seemed full of smokers, crazy drivers, chaos and litter….yet a mere few days later, on departure, the only emotion I felt was frustration…frustration that I had barely scratched the surface of this incredible city….frustration that there was so much I had not yet seen, experienced, or done….I felt like it all started to make sense, this crazy city with its achingly beautiful architecture, it’s uniquely French sense of space, symmetry, colour, the uniformity and formality of the trees and park spaces and buildings, the absolute prettiness and uniqueness of the doorways and windows….such a contrast to the crazy people and traffic filled chaos of the streets.
If there is a city I must come back to, this surely is it. Paris, you have got under my skin and into my heart and now I can’t stop thinking of you.
I watched this group of older school boys…they were completely engrossed in building a city skyline entirely from white Lego bricks – it was part of an interactive public display at the Auckland City Art Gallery recently. The structures that had been created by others so far were striking in their elegance, complexity and intricacy creating a fantasy city skyline of magical, wonderful, imaginary towering structures. It was also temporary, as each structure could be dismantled or added to by the next person and turned into something new and different, always changing and evolving – an interesting way to consider a city…
It is certainly going to be interesting!
Reflections of the church buildings across the road… as seen on the first of many stainless steel curving panels forming the exterior of our new contemporary art gallery and Len Lye centre. It’s currently under construction in our city centre – not without controversy I might add.
Will it last? Will it stay shiny? Will it rust in our sea and salt laden air? Will it blind drivers and pedestrians? Will it get too hot? What will our high rainfall do to it over time? Who knows…certainly not me….but who cannot fall in love with the idea of a unique, original, elegant building? I personally cannot wait to see how it looks finished. There is a place in cities for protecting heritage and old buildings and there is also a place for new and innovative approaches and fresh, risk taking ideas…the best cities celebrate both!
What is beyond the gates? Yes they are rusted, broken and crumbling down…but they are also strangely inviting, inspiring, and interesting. There is something romantic, glamorous and slightly spooky about them…I wonder what I would find if I could venture up the stairs.
It rained most of the weekend, but with a break in the weather on sunday afternoon, it was time for a walk along the coastal walkway and stretch the legs. The view never fails to make me feel inspired and refreshed.
Sometimes a photo has to wait until the right moment. This one has sat quite a while, neglected and forgotten. By chance I came across it today and immediately liked the old, highly decorative and symmetrical church building contrasted nicely with the modern green spiky plant and the shot of deep blue in the foreground – a fence? What for I wonder….
While on the top level of a double decker bus recently, I had an unusual view of the world. Being so much higher than normal it altered my perception somewhat of the streets and buildings I passed. Having a view directly into second story windows gave me passing glimpses into many people’s homes and workspaces…While downstairs at street level is open to the public or carefully protected for privacy, the second story windows were generally wide open and offered a real glimpse into anonymous lives lived in a busy city. It made me wonder about who lived here and who looked out their window directly into tree leaves and city street scenes…
I think this has to be the most beautiful toilet facility I have ever entered. We had stopped to rest after a day’s walking, and had settled on a park bench in a large courtyard beside a church, in the busy central city. After people watching and drinking coffee for well over an hour, I started to look for a wee pee stop (as you do). I was stunned to be pointed in the direction of two doors leading down below the church. And once there…I was even more stunned. What an incredible, beautiful, peaceful, elegant, serene and contemplative space.
Sometimes you find beauty in unexpected places. Like public toilets.
I had to laugh. One of my son’s, upon flipping through all my photos from my recent trip made a sigh and commented that all I took photos of were “old buildings and trees”.
“That’s because I love them” I replied. I reflected on this later. He was correct of course… the bulk of my photos were of old buildings and city trees. This was despite being in the midst of a bustling cosmopolitan city with skyscrapers and modern city glitter and shine. It was the old façades and crumbling stone and timber buildings that gave the city heart.
This is what spoke to me. This is what I love. This is what I notice.
The early evening just before dusk really turns to nightfall, when the sky seems to be a mix of the palest colours and the darkest clouds and when city lights glimmer and glisten in the water, but it isn’t really dark yet… this is my favourite time of day.
While continuing with the travel theme…the Sydney harbour area, its waters and the bridge (of course!) were found to be quite beautiful, especially in that magic moment when daylight turns to dark.