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quietness - website gone fishing


This website will have it's first ever proper break this month. I will have my first proper break in 4 years. I will be far far away. If anything of architectural interest should happen on my zigzagging adventures I may update the site with it - but I may just enjoy the moment. Back at the end of the month.



  • peter_j
    edited January 1970
    Oh my. This dumb PC has crashed me twice while I´ve tried to do this. Sitting in a Granada cafe listening to Nina Simone on a great stereo. I wish they could have spent as much on the bloody computers as on the stereo.

    A few random rantsto save on postcards and to avoid going back out into the heat.

    Narita Japan. Had thought this would be ok for one night but no, its halfway to hell. AVOID. A heap of dull airport hotels scattered amidst airport carparks and expressways. No Japan to be found as no footpaths outside the hotel. You are captive. So close to Tokyo but so far.

    Madrid Spain. This is a fairly underrated city. I had in my mind when I arrived a city of grey apartment blocks and mucho traffic. But no, it´s beautiful. Not architecturally unless you´re into florrid 18th century piles, but the ´pick up sticks´street plan lends the spaces between the buildings a lot of beauty. Strange juxtapositions.

    The city also has parks and squares that would put Melbourne to shame. El retiro is everything Albert Park should be and definitely isn´t.

    There was one square in that reminded me a lot of Fed Square plaza, except that the acacia trees made it bearable in the sun. All the buildings enclosed the square at familiar angles and the whole place was on the same incline. I did wonder if Peter and Don (Lab)might have visited at some point in the mid nineties. Then I went back to reading a newspaper article in the Guardian by Robert Hughes, about Goya´s black paintings.

    This was odd to read as I had just been to the Prado, where they all hang. Well at the moment half of them are in storage, due to Rafael Moneo´s impending renovations. The ones that were hung were all out of order and had too much light on them, but still they bowled me over - I had to sit down.

    Rafael has been busy all over Madrid, I don´t know if any other architects get a look in. His Atocha Railway Station is an imaginative renovation to a beutiful 19th century building. He´s filled it all with a wintergarden and pushed the trains into a new area.

    The only other building of note that I could find (ie I found it accidentally) is the Reina Sophia Museum renovations by Jean Nouvel. Currently a steel skeleton, it should open in a year or two, and is next to the abovementioned station. This is the museum with Picasso´s Guernica inside, which I missed due to some weird opening hours.

    Granada. 6 hours by train from Madrid, in the sweltering Andalucia region, this city HAD to be visited for the Alhambra, a moorish palace and fort perched above the town. And it was worth the foot slog, except for the coachloads of retired tourists making the going pretty slow and tickets hard to find. And they kept walking into my photos. The Palazio Navares is worth coming to Spain to see alone. Mostly built in the 14th century (apart from some pretty insensitive additions in the Renaissance), this doesn´t feel like Spain at all. Built by a muslim king, and perfectly renovated in the last century, the palace is so stuffed full of intricately decorated rooms that you start to get sensory overload (esp. when overlaid with the tourist parade in disney colours). The palace is perched on the cliff edge and has many a dramatic view down over the city. The tourist trail leads you through multiple patios (not like our ones really), courts, harems, halls, greeting rooms. And before you know it you´ve been a total tourist and shot 2 rolls of film.

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