Tag Archives: architecture


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Designed by the architectural company Snøhetta, The Oslo Opera House was completed in 2007. It really is a building for the people – appearing to rise out of the fjord, the functional white marble
roofing provides welcome walks, views and seating on sunny days in Oslo.



Clean lines in Italian marble and white granite.



View towards the Havnelageret. In its heyday it was the largest
concrete building in Europe.  The visiting Dutch Noah’s Ark is moored alongside.



She Lies – a work by Monica Bonvicini in front of the Opera House. It floats on a concrete platform and wind and water dictate how it turns on it’s axis.



The 22 story Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel to the left behind the yellow tower crane, and another view of the Barcode. Our personal favourite is the white Deloitte Huset designed by Snøhette, the same firm of architects who are responsible for the Opera House.



Paddleboarding past the Barcode.



Much more planned here with apartments and the new
Munch Museum. It will be a very exciting area when completed but has caused a lot of traffic chaos in the construction phase so far.



The amazing Dutch Ark of Noah built by Johan Huibers was visiting Oslo. Unbelievably, he has built another, so big it could swallow 5000 people. The plan is to tow it to Rio for the Olympic games. This one was enormous and we were tempted to go for curiosity’s sake but at 220kr each we decided to give it a miss.



Oslo City Hall in the background and the “Helena” taking sightseers around the Harbour.



This very beautiful cathedral is one of the most important landmarks to be found on The Royal Mile. With free entry, you just have to go in and marvel at the details. There are donation boxes inside if you wish to support it’s continuing restoration, and there is a small fee of £2 to obtain a sticker allowing you to photograph. We saw that many just ignore the request, either regarding a mobile as something other than a camera, or just simply doing what some say Scot’s are famous for – being tight fisted with their money!



The mother of the Scottish church and Presbyterianism. It dates back to the 11th century and has been remodelled many times.



My shot of Aurora standing almost dead center in the cathedral



A wonderful photo from Aurora of this incredibly beautiful ceiling at it’s artistic best.



You will find details that have survived from the late medieval period (1385-1560), in the Cathedral including  many carvings, tombs and memorials.non-religious carvings. Some of the oldest heraldic carvings from the 15th century can be seen in the Albany Aisle.



Plenty of very impressive stained glass windows to see.



The Reiger organ installed in 1992.



The East Window dates back from 1874.



The Great West Window was installed in 1985.  It’s the work of the Icelandic artist Leifur Breidfjörd. It is semi-abstract in style, and is a celebration of themes from the poet Robert Burns.


THE POMPIDOU CENTER – colourful Paris

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Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris.


The Pompidou Center. An interesting building with a fun elevator trip to the upper floors. Be truthful though, would you want it in your back garden? Not so sure – but it certainly has a quirky and fun functionality that reflects the diversity of the artworks on display. Well worth a visit, and there are many interesting shops and other galleries in the area



Suddenly reminded of airport check in or passport control here at the entrance 😉



I think the area in front of the center could look so much better with some kind of makeover, it was all a bit scruffy to be honest. Just cleaning the graffiti off the pipes would have helped. Watch out for con artists – they were wandering about with official looking hand held charity pads with loads of signatures on them. There were two girls playing deaf and dumb on our day but we caught them out when they were taking a break from ripping people off.



Looking down from the top floor.



The first work to greet us – a photo doesn’t do it justice it was
fascinating to interact with.


Just two works here, and hardly a reflection of the Center – if you love art or just want to be inspired, amazed or witness something unique you have to visit.



Yes of course – Pablo Picasso!



Henri Matisse – Decorative figure on Ornamental Background. They don’t get more colourful than him – he was brilliant!


The iconic ” Jeune fille en vert” or Girl in Green with Gloves by Tamara de Lempicka just draws you closer, and seeing it in the
Center was a highlight – it’s brilliant and has been a source of
inspiration to so many. Painted in 1929 and quintessentially Art Deco.



Aurora making an entrance! We travelled everywhere on the
excellent Metro and due to a few days with pollution we didn’t
pay a single euro.



More colour – French old-fashioned style carousel with stairs – wonderful!



More colour – this time on the Pont des Arts – sadly all gone now
including ours somewhere slap bang in the middle of this photo.



Final photo, and I am unable to put a name to this fabulous building – can anyone help me out – thanks!

PARIS – Walkabout.

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Hardly needs an introduction – The cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris). Perhaps the finest example of French Gothic architecture. It has some of the worlds most famous
gargoyles that allow rainwater to run off the building. If what looks like a gargoyle doesn’t have a spout but is purely decorative, then it’s called a grotesque.



The oldest public clock in Paris and what a beauty! you’ll find it in the center of Paris on the Isle de la Cité. It was built into the tower by Henri le Vic, a clever German engineer who arrived in Paris in 1370.



View up the wonderful River Seine.



For me a big disappointment. With all it’s history and film
immortalization, it looks like every owner had taken something away
and then modernized in the cheapest finishes they could find – sorry Paris! Having said that we didn’t get inside – that is hopefully more spectacular.



Shame you have to go to cities like Paris to find these wonderful markets where you can touch, smell and taste before you buy – no plastic, nappy filled trays here!



Colourful in Paris too! Not sure if she knew she would appear in our blog, but thanks to her for brightening up the day with this terrific costume.



In the Latin quarter. It’s certainly not the pizza Aurora’s heading
towards – it’s the coffee house on the left and it’s selection of



Cosy by day…..



Cosy by night – love the Vespa!



Multinational Paris!


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A beautiful Wisteria or Golden Rain in the Trocadero Park.


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Who doesn’t just love a “patisserie.


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We were lucky enough to have this patisserie close to our flat. There were queues every morning, but it was a mouthwatering pleasure to stand in line.


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This baker had a sense of humor and he didn’t have to worry about making too many – they were putting smile on everyones faces and of course we tourists loved them, both to eat and photograph 😉

PARIS – The Eiffel Tower

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In 2014 we had a brief visit to Paris. We were on a bit of a shoestring but that really doesn’t matter. Paris is a wonderful city, incredibly vibrant, and there is so much to see and visit – no wonder we and many others will always want to go back. Like the tourists we were, we left our romantic tribute in the form of a
padlock on the  Pont Des Arts – no longer there unfortunately as they were removed in 2015 to prevent any more strain on the iconic 19th century bridge 😦

This post is predominately about the Eiffel Tower. We all know it and how it it looks, but nothing compares to the thrill of taking the steps to the elevator and finally to be rewarded by mind blowing views of this beautiful city.



Aurora through her lens, anticipating what is to come – 324m. high, 1665 steps to the top.



Paris makes you want to jump for joy! Aurora and I at Trocadero.


Next stop buying a ticket – hoping  the queues are small, and
incredibly they were!



The glass floor was a new addition in 2014 – 57m above ground and lots of scary Oohs from those stepping out into the middle.



Just one section of the 10,100 tonnes of steel used to build this iconic tower.



And why not – a treat in the form of glass of Champagne to enhance the romance as you reach the top – the final elevator trip was an
adventure in itself – try it! It was windy up there too!


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The River Seine about 300 meter below!



We cast a shadow over Paris!



You just can’t visit Paris and not admire the vision of Gustave Eiffel the engineer and architect behind the tower.



Looking back down to the Trocadero Gardens – just beautiful!



We waited until sunset, and watched Paris begin to light up.



Back where we started, and we were treated to the Eiffel Tower in full dress – 20,000 light bulbs in a dazzling display – thank you Paris!

Here’s a little video of the tower in party mood.



Quick visit to Edinburgh.

Aurora and I took a five day trip to Edinburgh for a 90th birthday celebration. It was almost 3 years since our last visit and we flew Ryanair from Oslo Rygge.  After a one hour thirty five minute flight we landed in a bigger, and greatly improved Edinburgh Airport. Seems crazy that the parking in Rygge costs more than the flight, and if you then include petrol and road toll to the airport, it was
definitely a bargain!


The first Edinburgh icon to greet you off the aircraft is the airport’s strikingly beautiful 57 meter high Control Tower that features on many of the tourist adverts. At night it’s lit up in an array of changing colours – Aurora caught it here in a borealis green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The tower which deals with around 400 flight
movements each day, was designed by the Glasgow firm of 3D Reid, and came in on budget at almost 10 million pounds.


We were lucky enough to be chauffeured around in a BMW 6 series or a Mini Cooper most of the time, but also had several bus trips – sitting on the upper deck for the view. You cannot help but be shocked at the state of the roads in Edinburgh. It seems that there is hardly an inch that hasn’t been dug up at sometime and re-asphalted and never it seems, at the same level as before! Add to this the many areas of cobbled streets (I love them and they give character, but they are in dire need of repair). The result is you get a bone shaking ride almost anywhere, and in any car. If that hasn’t wrecked your suspension in record time, you are then subjected to rows of
horrendous speed bumps everywhere making many bus trips a nightmare – the drivers deserve a medal!

Edinburgh is in the middle of much debate over their new mind blowingly expensive tram system. They will at least give a smooth ride, but we didn’t see huge numbers of people using them.

In the ten years since the first money was allocated to the project, the price has doubled, the network has halved, and it has taken twice as long to build!


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Here’s a different shot from Aurora. This amazing building is
understandably an acclaimed World Heritage Site and we were lucky to get in pretty quickly. The queues can vary in size and we gave up the first day, but it’s too incredible to miss if you don’t have to rush back to the airport. Most local Catalans in the city will use it’s more popular nickname of La Pedrera (The Quarry). The house was commissioned by the wealthy businessman Pedro Milà i Camps. Work began in 1906 and took four years to complete. This was Gaudí‘s biggest and last civil project, before devoting himself
to his Basílca de la Sagrada Familia.



The entrance – and not a right angle in sight!



This photo reminds me of Easter Island – mysterious and alien in some way, but in fact it is nothing more sinister than another
example of Gaudí‘s genius. There are 28 chimneys in all and they are twisted to allow the easier passage of smoke from the building. They also have half-hidden air vents to allow air to circulate into the


Some of the impressive chimneys – now of course they are more
often likened to something from Star Wars. On the roof you’ll
see skylights, staircase exits, fans, and chimneys. All of these
elements are coated with limestone, marble and bits of broken glass. I would recommend you take a “Google” sometime as the story of the buildings history and further development is fascinating.



Aurora’s lens, but for once I had to take the shot. While you
speculate over these incredible soldier-like ventilation chimneys
you will enjoy the most spectacular views from almost anywhere on the rooftop.



Gaudí himself would never have seen this spectacular view from one masterpiece to another – what a legacy to leave Spain.


 A view towards the Torre Agbar. Designed by Jean Nouvel and base for Aigües de Barcelona who are responsible for Barcelona’s water supply, car taxes, health care and a few other civic posts. This
wonderful building reflects and plays with light thanks to a special glass skin. Another fine Barcelona landmark that can also produce spectacular electric displays at night.