charming hobart [australia #13]

our trip to tasmania was focused on its wilderness, about which i’ve written in previous posts (fraycinet, bay of fires and cradle mountain); however, we had to stop by hobart, tasmania’s charming capital.

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hobart is australia’s second settlement (sydney being the first), it was founded in 1804 as a penal colony. ties between these two cities remain strong until today – one of australia’s most important events is sydney to harbor yacht race – starting in sydney, in its spectacular harbor, on 26th december.

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hobart was founded on the waterfront, just like its “big sister”, sydney. its most important site is still the harbor, which is composed of  two docks – victoria dock & constitution dock. constitution dock serves as the arrival point of the yacht race.

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when in hobart, one must visit salamanca place, the site of a pulsating sunday-morning market, as we were told. unfortunately, we were staying in hobart for a very short while,  but even without that, we found the old stone warehouses atmospheric and appealing. there you may find a lively arts centre as well as the usual selection of galleries, bars and cafés.

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what i loved about hobart were its warehouses (we were staying in a hotel which used to be a warehouse), galleries, colonial architecture, and of course, the most amazing oysters (and seafood in general).

the following pictures show only a tiny fraction of many hobart’s beauties.

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we were told that the view of hobart is the best from mount wellington, but we never got to it. we had to leave something for the next time :)

short visit to milan -> part three: expo 2015

the third post is dedicated to the largest event milan hosted this year (or maybe ever): expo 2015.
even though i was quite tired from wandering the streets of milan and visiting the fondazione prada, i decided to go for the evening visit. i am still planing on going again to expo (i have purchased tickets well in advance), but i didn’t want to miss a chance to see how is it.

i was sad to discover that major number of pavilions were closed (or very crowded) by the time i got there, so i managed to see only a couple of them. however, i decided to prepare my top 5 list – for now, at least. i may write a longer entry after i spend a full day at expo.

5. brazil – “feeding the world with solutions”

brazilians use network, as a metaphor for flexibility, fluidity and decentralization in order to demonstrate the relationship and integration of different topics which need to be combined in order to provide food for world’s ever growing population.
in their exhibition space, brazil offers visitors a view of all the possibilities being explored and implemented to increase and diversify food production, satisfying food demands around the world and using advanced technologies in a way that is truly sustainable… while having fun!

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4. malaysia – “towards a sustainable food ecosystem”

malaysia pavilion takes the shape of four seeds. the curves of the design and the weaving patterns on the structure reflect the versatility and dynamism of the nation. the design drew inspiration from the humble rainforest seed. the seed, a symbol of growth, signifies a beginning of a journey, and the potential within.
okay, maybe i am being a little bit biased here.. having spent very important part of my life in malaysia, i tend to be very nostalgic.

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3. uae – “food for thought – shaping and sharing the future”

uae explore challenges that arise in feeding the planet, particularly in the interwoven topics of land, food, energy and water.
uae pavilion is created by a series of tall rippled walls. these impressive 12-meter structures evoke both the narrow self-shaded streets of the uae’s historic settlements and the magnificent open sand dunes of its deserts. too bad the pavilion was already closed when i arrived, but i am definitely getting in the next time!

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2. austria – “breathe.austria”

with the moto “breathe.austria” austrians underline that air is an essential component to the health of food and humans and it is an indicator of ecological balance. the pavilion creates a small scale austrian forest that provides 62.5 kilograms of fresh oxygen every hour, without filters or conditioners, which is enough for 1,800 people in an ideal climate, providing wellness and absorbing CO2.

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i thought this pavilion to be very different from the others (and i’m not saying that only because i live in austria now). it was so refreshing.. in every possible sense.

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1. united kingdom – “grown in britain and northern ireland”

under the theme “grown in britain and northern ireland” wishes to raise global awareness of and provide innovative solutions to one of the most pressing challenges of our time – how to feed and sustain an expected rise in the world’s population to nine billion by 2050.

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the uk pavilion chose to follow the journey of the honey bee to highlight the role of pollination in the global food chain and ecosystem. it also describes how the exchange of ideas, skills and knowledge is an essential part of human activity and future.

this pavilion blew my mind. it is true work of a genius.

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so, that’s my top 5. what did you think of pavilions at expo2015? and, more importantly, which ones would you recommend for the second tour?

short visit to milan -> part two: fondazione prada

even though i was planning on publishing this post several days after my first post on the short visit to milan, my computer had other plans.. it had simply decided to stop working :( it took us some time to find the new one.. however, i am back.. finally!

the second post is about fondazione prada, which opened in the humble neighborhood of largo isarco, only two streets away from my former apartment. of course, i couldn’t miss the chance to visit the newest contemporary art museum in milan, as well as my ex-hood :)

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the museum itself is a former distillery, dating back to the 1910s. the transformation lead to an architectural configuration that combines pre-existing buildings with three new structures. the result is a campus of post-industrial and new spaces with the inner courtyard, open to the city.

the following buildings make part of a museum and they each host different exhibitions: haunted house, podium, cisterna (tank), deposito (warehouse), nord (north) and sud (south), with other facilities such as biblioteca (library), bar and cinema.

i started my tour in the haunted house, the golden building which immediately captured my attention. this building also belonged to the old distillery; however, its structure was reinforced, while its external surface was glided. the interior is as interesting as the exterior, its large windows create a strong relationship with the surrounding, yet the sequence and size of single rooms preserve the intimacy of the inner space. haunted house hosts permanent exhibition of robert gober and louise bourgeois.

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my next stop was the cinema, where i watched a never shown documentary “roman polanski: my inspirations”, featuring a film review of movies that have inspired his work: citizen kane (1941), great expectations (1946), odd man out (1947), hamlet (1948), the bicycle thieves (1948) and 8 1/2 (1963).

then i went to what would become my favorite part of the museum – podium. it hosted a very interesting exhibition: serial classic – multiplying art in greece and rome, which aimed to represent and revive lost originals with an empty pedestals, on which are placed summaries of the ancient sources describing them. i have taken picture of several replicas along with their descriptions: praxiteles’s sartyr, myron’s discobolus and scopas’s pothoi.

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what i loved the most about this exhibition is how they managed to combine the art of classical period with the contemporary art and how they made me think they truly belong together.

the following three exhibitions would not capture my attention as the first three, but they are still worth mentioning: in part (which took place in the northern part of the museum: nord), an introduction (in the southern part: sud) and deposito.

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and finally, there’s bar luce, the lovely café, designed by wes anderson (director of “grand budapest hotel”). the café itself reminds of galleria vittorio emanuele, one of milan’s landmarks, especially with its vaulted ceiling and the motifs on the upper section of the wall.

when i went to the café, i was truly sad it was not open at least a couple of months earlier, so i could get my morning coffee and breakfast here.

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and then, i took a walk around the museum. great museums can be found all around the world, but an architectural piece like fondazione prada are only a few.

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fuorisalone 2015 – my farewell with milan

just like my first outing in vienna was in truly viennese style (summer night concert), my farewell with milan was also in style: salone del mobile / or milan design week, where i used to go almost every year. i wrote about it also on my blog (in 2013 and in 2014). usually i would visit the exhibitions within the city, such as zona tortona, ventura lambrate or brera design distinct. in the recent years the “fuorisalone” (meaning: the exhibitions outside of the exhibition fair) became even more popular, so that the entire city was actually a part of it.

on saturday we decided to go to the zona tortona, one of the first “fuorisalone” districts in milan. on the way there we passed through the navigli district, which was as cute & lively as always.

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in the zona tortona itself, there were plenty interesting designs.. i was more curious than usual, since i was looking for an inspiration for our apartment..

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of course, it is always useful to know what countries are the largest.. especially, if you want to visit them by bike – for example, the fancy one in the following picture :)

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trees & green in general were well combined with the exhibition..

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they managed to revitalize even some of the old buildings in the area.. with mirrors! of course, we played with them a bit..

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tomorrow we decided to go next door, to cascina cuccagna – one of my very favorite places in milan. initially we planned on going to ventura lambrate, but we had a lot of packing to do, since i was leaving the day after.

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this venue had the best thing of them all – the lovely terrace, where everyone could just lie around (& sunbathe even!). the lazy bags were of special kind, of course.. biodegradable and what not.

then we made friends with two little girls! they both told me what their favorite colors are, who their best friends are, etc. we had so much fun with them!

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only couple of weeks ago, the following photo was published on cascina cuccagna’s facebook page. i liked it a lot, and when i zoomed it to see it in detail, i saw familiar faces! it’s us! and our little friends!

do you see us? we’re practically in the middle of the photo.

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it is such a beautiful photo! it captures the essence of that lovely day!

royal exhibition building and carlton gardens, no.1131 [australia #5]

the royal exhibition building and the surrounding carlton gardens were designed and built for the 1880 and 1888 international exhibitions. in 2004 they were inscribed to unesco heritage sites’ list, as the representative of the largest events staged in colonial australia, which helped to introduce the world to australian industry and technology. the royal exhibition building is one of the very few remaining buildings from XIX century world exhibitions.

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the royal exhibition building is constructed of brick and timber, steel and slate and it combines elements from the byzantine, romanesque, lombardic and italian renaissance styles. like the majority of exhibition buildings from that period, its aim was to present material and moral progress through displays of industry from all nations.

the building itself is in the northern part of melbourne, away form the CBD and crowded city spaces. it is also close to brunswick street and fitzroy – former student quarters, now up & coming neighborhoods. while we were in the area, we took a walk and checked out numerous cafés & bars, artisans’ workshops and alternative fashion shops. in this neighborhood you can see melbourne in its true colors.

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while i was admiring the building itself, i couldn’t help thinking how the focus of the world’s interest changed with respect to the XIX century and especially in the last decades. the focus of the world’s exhibitions at that time was mainly achievements related to the industrialization, along with art, science and education.

this year, almost 150 years after the melbourne international exhibition, universal exposition (expo 2015) will be hosted by milan, the city i have been living in for seven years. expo 2015 will be held under the theme “feeding the planet, energy for life”. even though i will not be living in milan during the expo, i plan on visiting it. aside from wanting to see what’s new out there, i would like to explore the link between technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity with food and diet. i can say for sure that i would be wondering how these events used to look like in the past, when the focus was totally different. and of course, i will be asking myself what what will be the focus of future world exhibitions.

marvelous melbourne [australia #4]

on the second leg of our journey, we visited melbourne – the second largest city in australia and the capital of state of victoria. marvelous melbourne, as it is commonly referred to, is famed for its victorian architecture, breathtaking gardens & parks and lovely pedestrian lanes. it is often considered the culture capital of australia.

melbourne is also known to be the food & coffee capital of australia. all kinds of biological / gluten free / vegetarian & vegan meals may be found here. melbournians get their goods & fresh produce at queen victoria market, one of the city’s best hang around spots.

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we went to queen victoria market several times, since we were staying in the neighborhood. it felt great to stroll around while buying exotic fruits (and eating it right away!). also, dianne, our hostess in melbourne, informed us that during the summer months every wednesday there is a night market, where you may buy your dinner at the stalls offering street food from across the globe, while enjoying live music.. of course, we went there & had a great time!

unlike sydney (one simply has to compare these two cities), melbourne doesn’t have a splendid harbor. on the other hand, it’s got the yarra river, dividing the city in north & south melbourne. we took a walk down the southern bank of the yarra river on our first day in melbourne, arriving all the way to docklands. we got to admire the fantastic architecture & enjoy the company of dressed-up melbournians!

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while walking down the southern bank of the yarra river, we noticed a colorful building on the northern bank, which was definitely dating from the victorian era. that building is flinders street station, the central train station of melbourne, its most famous landmarks and one of the city’s favorite meeting points. generations of melburnians were meeting at the station’s steps or as it is more commonly known “under the clocks”.

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in the vicinity of flinders street station is the federation square, one of the newest open spaces, it opened only in 2002. it soon became one of the most frequented spots in melbourne, as it hosts more than 2000 events every year. when we were in melbourne, there were big screens showing the cricket match between austrlia and india (apparently, melbourne is also the cricket capital of australia) and a lot of people were watching the match (while sunbathing in comfy chairs). we even tried to understand the rules of the game, but when our friend told us that the match can last up to five days, we kind of lost interest.

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in the introduction of this post, i said that melbourne is known for its parks & gardens, the most famous being the royal botanic gardens. these internationally renowned botanical gardens were established in 1852, on the south bank of the yarra river, where once used to be a swam on the edge of the city. the gardens follow the english garden design and include a mixture of native and non-native vegetation, hosting over ten thousand floral species.

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a lot of people asked us which one did we like better, sydney or melbourne. when we first arrived to melbourne, we immediately said we liked it more than sydney, since there were a lot of coffee houses & all kinds of restaurants, the architecture was truly amazing and people were so relaxed. on the other hand, sydney’s got its splendid harbor, as well as several beaches close by. also, when we came back to sydney at the end of our travels, we discovered some areas, which were as relaxed as the ones we encountered in melbourne!

so what i say now is that we liked them both so much. they are both very beautiful cities and they got to us in a different way. in our view, one of them has to exist in order to keep reminding the other one that it can do better.

sydney opera house, no. 166 [australia #2]

the sydney opera house has been on the unesco heritage sites list since 2007. the main criterion for its nomination was the fact that it brings together multiple strands of creativity and innovation in both its architectural form and structural design. it is often identified as one of the 20th century’s most distinctive buildings and one of the most famous performing arts centers in the world.

it was inaugurated in 1973, after being awarded by an international jury to danish architect jørn utzon in 1957. utzon’s original design concept boosted a collective creativity of architects, engineers and builders. ove arup’s engineering achievements helped make utzon’s vision a reality.

the sydney opera house comprises three groups of interlocking vaulted ‘shells’ which roof two main performance halls and a restaurant. these shell-structures are set upon a vast platform.

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the sydney opera house was for us the first glimpse of australia. we arrived in sydney on december 8th around 10pm, after a 24h-flight. we were exhausted + our luggage got lost on the way there, so we had the feeling that our trip didn’t have the best start. however, one look at sydney harbor managed to change our feelings. we fell in love with it immediately.

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it was raining right before we arrived (in fact, rainy weather would continue for the next couple of days) and it was still a bit foggy. since we were staying at neutral bay, which is on the other side of the harbor, we were to take a ferry from sydney harbor. while waiting for our ferry, we decided to go for a short walk..

we walked around like hypnotized. whether it was it for our long journey & general tiredness, or because of the rain, but everything seemed somehow surreal.. one thing was sure: it felt truly great to be on the other side of the world.

(rainy) venice and its lagoon, no. 394 / moment of happiness #2

venice and its lagoon have been on the unesco heritage site list since 1987. criteria behind its nomination are many, the most important one being the fact that it is a unique artistic achievement. the city is laid out onto 118 small islands and seems to float on the water’s surface. furthermore, the entire city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world’s greatest artists such as titian, tintoretto, veronese and many others. the city itself also symbolizes the struggle of its people against the elements of nature.

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i have visited venice several times and on different occasions, the last time was last saturday with my husband. having bought our tickets well in advance, we had no other choice than to “enjoy” venice under the heavy rain. we sure did our best – during the massive showers we went for lunch, for a coffee, and so on. however, our feet were still wet all day.

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i have to admit, i was not a huge fan of venice at first. in my view, it was too crowded and too touristy, especially if you went to piazza san marco and ponte rialto. this time though, we decided to take some of the back routes, carefully avoiding people (the rain helped with that, as well!) and finally managed to see venice the way it was supposed to be seen: unique, artistic, but also decadent.

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the above picture shows a view of the santa maria della salute from the ponte dell’accademia. after enjoying the view, we crossed the bridge and went to the island of santa maria della salute to get a closer view.

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we spent the remaining part of the afternoon on that island, walking around and enjoying the views of the islands of san giorgio maggiore and la giudecca, as well as the company of very few people who decided to follow the same route. we also took a few pictures of some of the details we had found in this part of town.

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we truly enjoyed ourselves.
even though it was raining almost all day long, and we missed the train on the way back (so we had to spend another hour at the train station), it was really one of those days we will remember for a long time. the following photo shows the most sincere smiles we are able to give.

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cortili aperti a milano

once a year gardens and courtyards in milan are open for public. that special day happened to be last sunday – 25.5. since i had nothing planned anyway, i thought i could give them a look.

even though i live in milan for six years, i’ve never managed to catch that one day. i still remember reading about these courtyards, couple of years ago when i read a book “mrs dalloway”. one of the characters, lucrezia smith, was milanese.. and she used to say how much she longed for “gardens of milan”. and i made a promise to myself that i will see them one day.

most of the courtyards were in via borgonuovo and in via fiori oscuri (street of dark flowers). and that’s where i visited these two lovely gardens.

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casa valerio

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the courtyards were beautiful, but i have to say i’ve expected more. maybe because i was reading about them and planning to see them for a long while. a lot of gardens were only partially open, keeping some part closed for public. however, it was nice to see milan inside-out & to witness the presence of both light & dark flowers in this (so-called) industrial town.

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fiori chiari & fiori oscuri

historic centre of avignon, no. 228

historic centre of avignon: papal palace, episcopal ensemble and avignon bridge have been on the unesco heritage sites’ list since 1995. as it is known to many, in the 14th century this city was the seat of the papacy.

the palais des papes, an austere-looking fortress, dominates the city and the remains of a 12th-century bridge over the rhône. beneath this marvelous example of gothic architecture, the petit palais and the romanesque cathedral of notre-dame-des-doms complete an exceptional group of monuments that testify to the leading role played by avignon in 14th-century christian europe.

in 1309 the frenchman bertrand de got, who had been elected and crowned supreme pontiff in 1305, refused to go to rome, choosing instead to install himself temporarily in the dominican convent at avignon. seven popes were to reign there until the election of martin v in 1417 and the return of the seat of the papacy to rome.

With 15,000 m2 of floor space, the palais is the biggest gothic palace in all of europe and, due to its many architectural merits, one of the most important in the world.

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saint bénézed bridge, most comonly known as the pont d’avignon, was originally built in the 12th century. it is spanned 900m over the river rhône but it suffered several collapses in the following centuries. a flood in 1668 swept much of it away, and since it was not rebuilt since, only four arches (out of the original twenty-two) remain.

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we have visited avignon two weeks ago. even if unable to appreciate deeper meaning of the papal palace, we were impressed by its architecture and position. the deep-green color of river rhône & surrounding trees was natural complement to yellowish shade of palace and buildings of avignon. when talking a walk around the town, we got to admire charming medieval town and its atmosphere.

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