Kings Park

Kings Park is an Icon for Perth. A short uphill walk from the CBD, it is an enormous space, mainly in its native state with panoramic views across the Swan River to the city. Julie and I spent a couple of hours with a volunteer guide walking through the ungardened section, looking at native plants growing au natural.

These are some of the images I captured. All plants are local to the area.

 

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A Permanent Memorial and a Temporary Cathedral

 

 

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Some friends were asking about my New Zealand trip and what I had written earlier about the Christchurch earthquake. When I mentioned the “Cardboard Cathedral”, they wanted to know more. This temporary Cathedral building is on the site of Christchurch’s oldest Anglican Church, demolished after the earthquake. It replaced the original Christchurch Cathedral, still standing a few blocks away but awaiting demolition, too damaged by a whole series of earthquakes since 1864. Here is a link to more information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardboard_Cathedra

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Just across the road however, is a permanent open space where before Tuesday, 22 February 2011 stood the 7 story Canterbury TV building. In the less than 30 seconds nothing was standing except the wall with the lift shaft and 115 people, half the casualties of the city on the earthquake. Unlike most Christchurch building which were damages, like the 2 Cathedrals, t was relatively modern (1986) but an enquiry found it’s design deficient, it’s engineer inexperienced and under supervised and it should never have been approved causing it to collapse like pack of cards and catch fire. Amongst the dead were 70 foreign ESL students

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The NZ Government have acquired the site and set it aside as a permanent memorial to all the earthquake victims .

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Now to the temporary Cathedral. The renowned “catastrophe architect” Shuzeru Ban offered his services pro bono to plan and produce this as the first significant building erected after the earthquake – opened on 6 Aug 2013

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This A Frame Structure is made of 86 Cardboard tubes each weighing 500 kg, all supported on 8 six metre containers, which make up the walls

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This inside view shows the exposed ceiling structure of tubes. The Building is designed to be a performance space as well as church.

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The cardboard tube theme continues in the furnishings

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From Wikipedia “It rises 21 metres (69 ft) above the altar. Materials used include 60-centimetre (24 in)-diameter cardboard tubes, timber and steel.[16] The roof is of polycarbon,[11] with eight shipping containers forming the walls. The foundation is concrete slab. The architect wanted the cardboard tubes to be the structural elements, but local manufacturers could not produce tubes thick enough and importing the cardboard was rejected.[12] The 96 tubes, reinforced with laminated wood beams, are “coated with waterproof polyurethane and flame retardants” with two-inch gaps between them so that light can filter inside. Instead of a replacement rose window, the building has triangular pieces of stained glass.[17] The building serves as a conference venue as well as a cathedral.[4]“”

There has been a lot of controversy over this building. Partly the cost of about NZ$6,000,000 for a building with an expiry date of 35 years – the estimated time before the cardboard loses strength through water absorption. The other complication regards the question of whether to repair or replace Christchurch’s original Cathedral as the permanent city Anglican cathedral. The original dates from 1864 so has tremendous heritage value but is believed to be damaged beyond safe, economical limits to repair. This kind of question is still being asked about many buildings in the city of Christchurch, yet to be demolished in the hope that they can be restored.

Venice – a City of Boats and Bridges

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The city of Venice is made up of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline, between the mouths of the Po and the Piav Rivers. The city and the lagoon are listed as a World Heritage Site.

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Many tourists arrive in gigantic tour ships towed through the shallows by tug boats

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Gondalas are now mostly used for the tourist trade. We had an excellent look through many of the narrow canals and stopped to be serenaded and drink champagne to celebrate the occasion.

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Only one Bridge is covered, the Bridge of Tears which leads to the court room where many a Ventian was sentence to death.

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The local equivalent of a taxi took us for a cruise of the main canals.

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The local garbage boats are limited in their pickup schedule by the tides as are some of the “buses”.  At high tide they cannot get under the low bridges and have wait for the water to drop.

BoatsandBridges07The Aquatic equivalent of a bus and yes it is just as crowded in peak hour.

 

 

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BoatsandBridges05Behind the boat stop is Venice’s main link with the outside world is via the train station in the background which travels via bridge over the lagoon.

There are many other islands in the lagoon that are not part of Venice because they are not linked by bridge to the original 118 Islands.

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Traffic jam in the main canal.

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Deliveries by boat. The only artificial Island in the lagoon is a huge car park and docking area where daily hundreds of semi trailers are unload onto delivery boats like this one.

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Another boatload of workers head home.

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A wave from a taxi driver for our Tour Director Barbara.

A Last Look at Florence and Tuscany

Tuscany from the top of the Tower

Tuscany seen from the top of a tower. This image, made from six frames, covers about 270 degrees which explains why the horizon is curved.

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In an earlier post, more than two months ago while still in Italy, I commented on the relative size of David’s hands and was reminded of this by an artist friend, roddyewrecka, recently. Here is the proof, if you can raise your gaze to the hands!

This is one of two replicas of the David. This one overlooks the city from a large car park, the other is in the main square, while the original is in The Gallery of the Fine Arts.

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The Medici’s patronised contemporary artists and architects and collected great art works of antiquity.

Centuries of weathering and pollution of works and acts of vandalism of produce damage on these masterpieces.

In the factory above an original is repaired and cloned. The copy goes back outside while the original is kept safe in a museum or gallery.

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If you want a souvenir you can pretend it is great art.

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The architecture is impressive 

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Cars are tiny and in this case electric – check out the charger.

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A spot of local colour

Early Morning on the Arno River

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Second morning in Florence, with Julie still sound asleep I dressed in the dark and crept out of the silent hotel. We over looked the Arno river. the largest of Tuscany’s rivers, which features many bridge crossings. The history of these bridges, often destroyed by flood or war is told nicely in this blog post.

http://cuore-scalzo.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/arno-river-and-bridges-of-florence.html

The following pictures were taken on my hours walk as the sun rose and the traffic increased for another busy day in Florence.

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Positano – The Town that Steinbeck made Famous

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Positano was a prosperous port in the Amalfi the first established of the Italian Maritime Republics, heavily involved in the Crusades. Larger ships meant it was no longer useful as a port and it became dependent on its fishing fleet. By the middle of the last century the decline of the fishing industry meant that more than half the population had emigrated, mainly to Australia.

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Then in 1953 John Steinbeck arrived in Positano, escaping from Rome’s summer heat. He was already a well established novelist, later to win the Pulitzer Prize, but then working as a columnist for Harper’s Bazar magazine . Below is a link to what he wrote about Positano, early setting the tone with this amazing statement.

“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”

If you love good writing follow the link to this his description of this village in 1953 and consider my recent images.

http://www.sirenuse.it/fileUpload/downloads/1/Steinbeck.pdf

ImageWe were told it was worth making our way down to the beach because we would find the world’s best gelato – it was good but so was the view back up the hill towards the town best described by Steinbeck.

“Its houses climb a hill so steep it would be a cliff except that stairs are cut in it……. The small curving bay of unbelievable blue and green water laps gently on a beach of small pebbles. There is only one narrow street and it does not come down to the water. Everything else is stairs, some of them as steep as ladders. You do not walk to visit a friend, you either climb or slide.”

ImageOn the way down we passed The Church of St Maria Assunta, famous for its mediaeval art. However a wedding was just about to start so we couldn’t get in. Next best thing for a storyteller however, was the arrival of the bride. She walked up, all smiles, gave us a pirouette,  raised the flowers in salute that was a YES of triumph. I captured the her later, with new husband smiling for the video and  walking the narrow, main path through the shops to the beachImage

ImageThis is an eternal bride, walked past by 10,000 people a day, but she doesn’t get to go home at night. No wonder she doesn’t smile.

Ravello – Looking Down on the Amalfi Coast

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One of our Days trips while staying in Maiori on the Amalfi Coast was a half day optional excursion to Ravello. It was an extremely foggy morning which made the trip in a large coach up the winding narrow mountain road more exciting than entertaining. The town itself is a Unesco listed World Heritage site with a beautiful church,  quaint streets and shops and the wonderful Villa Rufolfo with amazing gardens and views of the coast.

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