The WordPress weekly photo challenge this week is about experiments. Here’s one that’s some five hundred years old.
At that time, Valencia was one of Europe’s Top Cities. It had made its money from silk, and was an established part of the Silk Route from China and the east. Only a leading architect would do when it came to building La Llotja de la Sete: the Silk Exchange.
Pere Compte from Girona was the man chosen. And here’s his take on the main hall, begun in 1482. He created a space some 12 to 17 metres high, with no buttresses, placing massive stone on massive stone by using cranes, which were virtually unheard of at the time.
A forest of palm tree shaped columns spiral from the floor, fanning out as they reach the spherical vaulted ceilings. The windows are unusually large. The polished marble floors reflect the light. This is a delicious space, quite unlike any other Gothic building I have visited.
… and the big question is, will I survive Week Two? It’s fair to say that I’m tireder than I’ve been in a very long time. I’m looking after myself, though, taking a good two hours for lunch after morning classes.
The idea is to give me little chance to talk English, so I spend lots of time rehearsing Spanish conversations in my head. They’re brilliant. I astonish myself with my lucid command of the language. Unfortunately, when the moment comes for me to deliver my deathless prose to a real live Spaniard, those carefully honed phrases quite disappear and I’m stuttering and pointing as usual.
Seriously though, my comprehension has increased hugely, and I can have a reasonable chat with my hostess about my day. I decided to reward myself today with a trip to the beach.
Mindful of this week’s WordPress photo challenge, which I’ll publish my contribution for tomorrow as usual, I shot a couple of experimental photos, by looking at the sea and sand reflected in the plate glass windows of nearby buildings. Here’s one. And above, another much more usual I-do-like-to-be-beside-the-seaside shot.
Find the glass lift, and allow it to sweep you upwards to the sixth floor. Here, from this light and airy vantage point, you can enjoy views over the museum and beyond.
Contemporary Korean ceramics. That’s what you’re looking for. There are glossy ceramic tiles, reinterpreting Korea’s exquisite porcelain from the Joseon dynasty (you can see examples of these down on the first floor). There are wonderfully lustrous translucent vases, in luminous reds, yellows and blues. Oh wait …. they’re carved from soap.
But what drew me back, several times, was this house.
Here’s what its creator Kim Juree has to say about this, and the many houses she has created in the same idiom.
So what you’ll see if you visit won’t be what I saw. Don’t wait too long. This temporary structure isn’t long for this world.
This bulky cliff of long thin fang-like rocks that we could see last week from our Black Forest hotel while on our European Escape piqued our interest. So on our last afternoon, while Malcolm was having a rest, I set off to explore.
I had only the most basic of maps: but this is Germany, land of the Walker’s Waymark. Once I knew I was off to Falkenstein, there was no problem. I yomped up to the woods outside town, turned right, and set forth.
I even tried to get a little lost, but however hard I tried, I was never far from a reassuring sign pointing me onwards to my chosen destination.
Once there, I found I couldn’t have more than a peek at a time. That solid mass of rock visible from our hotel was never once in full view. Instead, one, two, possibly three peaks at a time pointed skyward from my path below. Here they are.
For once, this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge – ‘glow’ – demanded no lateral thinking on my part. The image that came to me was one that many Brits shared on Tuesday.
Hurricane Ophelia was doing its worst over in Ireland and on England’s west coast. In London, William and I weren’t feeling even a gentle breeze. But as morning became afternoon; as afternoon changed into evening then night long before the appointed time, the sky turned sepia, and the sun glowed.
Ophelia was sucking sand from the Sahara and throwing it to the English heavens. This was the result, at round about half past one in the afternoon:
If you go walking in Wensleydale: if you go for a walk from Jervaulx to Jervaulx via Thornton Steward, you’ll come across this tree home, at the edge of a field, commanding views over the valley.
It’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere much, but I always like to imagine a doting grandfather, tall and rangy from a tough life’s farming and probably reminiscent of the BFG, lovingly creating a little refuge for his grandchild in this hollow tree.
I couldn’t fit in it, neither could you. Perhaps the grandchild is too big now. It’s all a question of scale after all.
Berlin is the home of street art and creative graffiti. If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll already have glimpsed the East Side Gallery: though that is planned and curated.
Away from the city centre, street art is so much a part of Berlin life that walking tour companies vie with each other to show visitors the edgiest and grittiest current manifestations of this vibrant art form. Even big companies climb on the band wagon. Back in the early years of this century, Nike paid for this piece.
Somehow, global companies making use of a movement powered from the bottom up seems slightly to be missing the point.