D190. March 8. Brisbane’ skyline

Capture d’écran 2014-03-08 à 11.50.27Brisbane – 1000 km North Sydney – is the capital of Queensland and the third mot populous city of Australia (after Sydney and Melbourne).

Capture d’écran 2014-03-08 à 11.54.49In Australia, city centers are called “CBD”, standing for Central Business District. Brisbane’ CBD lies in a curve of the Brisbane River and early legislation decreed a minimum size for residential blocks causing few terrace houses being constructed in Brisbane.

Capture d’écran 2014-03-08 à 11.53.04Recently the density of the city has increased with the construction of apartments, with the result that the population of the central business district has doubled over the last 5 years.

Capture d’écran 2014-03-10 à 13.29.11It’s amazing to see how new contemporary architecture encircles historical monuments – Either churches, brick buildings from the Thirties, or “Queenslanders”.

Capture d’écran 2014-03-10 à 13.28.37Build before the Fifties, Queenslanders housing feature timber construction with large verandah, high ceilings, and elevated on stumps.

Capture d’écran 2014-03-10 à 13.27.02The relatively low cost of timber in South-East Queensland meant that until recently most residences were constructed of timber, rather than brick or stone.

Capture d’écran 2014-03-10 à 13.28.12The Melbourne mix was, in my opinion, kind of messy and suffocating. Here, you can breathe. Probably because streets are larger, but also because modern architecture is light, even transparent.


Capture d’écran 2014-03-08 à 11.57.30Funny though. Brisbane is the third most populated city. But when I walked there on a Saturday, it looked to me like a Paris empty Sunday. And on Sunday, I felt we were on Christmas Day, I could hear my own breathe…

Capture d’écran 2014-03-08 à 11.55.21On Saturday, I went to Myer, a local Department Store, and it was a special sales day. Though, when I entered the fitting room, only five people were standing ahead of me, and I thought I was lucky. But then, I’ve seen other women coming in and leaving immediately, not willing to wait so long before trying on trousers or whatever. In their opinion, queuing in a fitting room was unconceivable. Crazy, isn’t it ?





D170. Feb 16. Melbourne, the architectural mix

In 1835, the Melbourne land was bought to indigenous Australians for a crate of blankets, knives and knick-knacks. “This is the place for a village”, said its founder, John Batman, at the time. Unlike previous settlements such as Sydney or Tasmania, Melbourne was populated with fresh emigrants.

And it seems that the local architecture showcases every single historical phase the country went through over a century: the gold-rush era, the industrial revolution, the British Victorian style at the end of the 19th, the Paris Art Nouveau  in the turn of the century, the roaring 1920′ and its Art Deco buildings, the consumers revolution embodied in mural paintings…


On the same block, it is not unusual to find brick premises, neo-classic columns and recent concrete. When not on the same building, like below !

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All around the city, creative architecture blossoms, adding a new layer to the urban landscape !

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D68. Nov 7 . Delhi sightseeing

The Delhi’ monuments I went through yesterday are really a 3D representation of India’s historical milestones, summarizing an ebb & tide of influences over time – muslim Mughals (Turkey), Persians (Iran), British…

Qutb Minar
Erected by muslims in 1199 to mark victory over the local – and accessorily a minaret.
72 meters of red sandstone (grès) engraved with Coran suras (sourates).

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You cannot enter the minaret anymore: in 1981 a crowd panic resulted in 40 casualties! The monument has been closed ever since.

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Such shinny and colorful shinny everywhere could almost make me forget that women do not exist as such here.

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Would you like any refrigerated water before leaving the place ?

Humayun’s Tomb
Erected in 1595  by the Mughal emperor’ widow. It adopts the style of a persian’ grave.

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It was probably an inspiration for the architects of the Taj Mahal.

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Indian tourists come here with their families or classmates.
And I’ve counted 3 types of westerners:
. English people in their twenties, with Indian origins, coming here with a bunch of friends;
. French couples in their fifties;
. American groups in their sixties.
same typology in every monument!

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Old Delhi Red Fort
Constructed in the 17th century and the seat of Mughal power, it became a symbol of the rebellion versus the British. With the end of the Mughal reign (1858), the British gave official sanctions to remove and sell valuables from the palace at the Red Fort.They put down the harem apartments and instead of them erected a line of barracks. After Indian Independence, the site experienced few changes in terms of addition or alteration to the structures. The Red Fort continued to be used as a cantonment even after Independence.

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The site isn’t only touristic. As the entrance fees only cost 10 Rupees to locals (250 for foreigners), they often come here for walks or shop, as thee Fort also shelters a bazar.
It looks like nothing has changed since the independence, and the picture below reminds me very much of an Alfred Hitchkock movie – I couldn’t say which one – here the hero would be pursued by bad guys in a gloomy bazar : )

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The Parliament
In the parliament’ street, very British in its style, a bunch of Ambassadors.
Those cars were primarily manufactured by Morris Motors Limited in Oxford, UK, in the 1950′. Despite its British origins, the Ambassador is considered as an Indian car and is fondly called “The king of Indian roads”. All taxis were Ambassadors but 2011 anti-pollution norms banned them from 11 cities, including Kolkata were the car is produced, and the sales are plummeting…

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D53 . Oct 23 . Taipei’ cornerstones

I have one day to see everything people talk about when mentioning Taipei: the Chiang Kai Shek memorial, the Sun Yat Sen memorial, the Confucius, temple, the 101 Tower, the night market, the Grand Hotel… The metro is neat, easy to navigate, it’s gonna be a cool day.


First step: the Chiang Kai Shek memorial. Chiang Kai Tchek is the guy who fighted Mao and finally had to exile in Taiwan with his troups. Not a communist, but not really a democrat neither, he led Taiwan from 1949 to 1975, then replaced by his son.


The place is stoning. I wasn’t expecting something so beautiful and monumental. But in a nice way. Often, “monumental” illustrates cold communist agoras. Whereas, that case, the agora is quite elegant.


Two soldiers who don’t blink an eye guard a giant statue of Chiang. Impressive.


Though, it’s hot in there and I can see sweat pearl on his chick. Still, not a move…


Second stop: the highest tower of the city, from where I find out that I’m surrounded with thick smog…




Above  a picture of the tower from the Sun Yat Sen memorial, where students are preparing some celebrations (below) – Sun Yat Sen is the guy who, in the 1910’, fought for China’s independence and led the first (and unique) Chinese democratic government.




At 5PM, the sun is already down. A good news: there’s gonna be no tourist at the Confucius temple. And it’s magic. The lights, the silence, just one monk exercising on the guitar… A great moment.


I’ll end my day at the Grand Hotel. The hotel looks like a huge pagoda; Awesome actually.


My dad was at that very place 22 years ago. Funny, my nowadays my brother looks exactly like him on that picture.

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D50. Oct 20. Extraordinary Paju and Heyri cities

One hour from Seoul, there is a city named Paju, where many Korean Publishing companies have settled their offices. So when going to that small town, almost a village, you find a couple of book shops and coffee shops where books have a central place. Nice. But Paju is not only about books. It is an amazing place…
Ok, books first:
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During our promenade there, we also found an amazing records shops. Two floors, 80′ LPs covering the walls, 80′ vintage items on the tables, paintings and acrylic paints everywhere, music playing, some tables to have a coffee meanwhile… Very cool.
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And then, you find out that museums about everything are everywhere. About toys, about tin boxes, about politics, about whatever. You could spend days visiting small exhibitions full of items gathered by passionate individuals along the years.
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Though, the city isn’t only paradise for musicians, readers, artists. It is also kids friendly.
They can basically play everywhere, and still, the streets remain quiet. It looks like there, they have found a way to dedicate space to everyone.
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A little boy on the playground, a little girl in the air… Even grown ups can have fun. Look at that: A woman meeting her childhood hero, a man sitting at school:
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Meanwhile, other grown ups relax. Either reading a book on a comfortable pooffe, or enjoying flower fields like if they were discovering lilies for the very first time.
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It is difficult to describe that town properly.
You could compare it to an entertainment resort, but it’s not.
You could think about a museums island, but it’s not.
The icing on the cake, for me who like contemporary architecture so much, is that streets seemed to have been drawn in random order, where houses would have grown directly from the imagination of free minds. Mainly concrete, but mixed with nature elements it seems very organic.
Here comes a long image gallery of buildings. I hope you will enjoy it.
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A dream come true !
A place where you can find adults and kids living at the same pace, either playing or contemplating, museums about improbable topics, books about everything, music of all kind, architecture, asian trees, stones, rocks, bamboos… Blue sky, migrating birds, barely cars… When do I move in ?!
Unfortunately we had to go back to Seoul.
On the way back, we were caught by another reality, reminding us than a few kilometers North, other people leave lightyears from bookshops and museums…

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I hope you have enjoyed that post and those pictures.
At that point of my trip, this is really the place, and the day, that has been the most exciting, surprising, moving.
Tonight is my last night in Korea, and I’ll miss it.

D40 . Oct 10 . Gyeongju, open air museum city

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Today, to escape our slow biped condition, we have decided to rent bicycles. A good move because Gyeongju is full of wonderful parks and temples all over the city.

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For centuries, the city had been capital city of Korea. Nowadays, it is a quite town, where inhabitants can sit on a bench and look at tumuli for hours (kings’ tombs).

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Once they are done with meditation, they can walk through covered bridges (No, this is definitely not Madison county), or visit one of the many art & history museums of the city… Nature & culture…

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In the evening, we decided to stop by the lake. Hidden speakers were broadcasting a quiet local music, a light rain was refreshing the air, and the lightening system was stoning, all together creating a unique atmosphere…

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(Nope, I didn’t Photoshop my pictures)


D36 – Oct 6 – Hanok!

After the fish market, we went to a village of Hanoks, traditional houses crafted from wood, clay tiled roofs, insulated with mud and straw. And the windows are made from a translucent paper that allows daylight to stream in.

Of course after this visit I felt like living in such house – Like when I had been in Japan and came back with the idea to put tatamis all over my floor…

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