Green Taipei

It was fairly cold when I landed in Taipei, one night in March 2016.

From the bus window, only darkness and dim lights from apartments and lamp posts. What that gloomy night was hiding me was the perfect green colours all over the city, on hills, parks and gardens.

A luxury to wake up the next morning to, buzzin’ to explore everything.

Parklife has always been a beloved topic of mine, and I apologise for creating boredom with yet another blog post about Val visiting a park but really… what’s best than nature? Humans can try to excel with art/creativity/design/architecture and then just stop reflecting under the shadow of a tree, a friendly refuge for every soul.

When I visited Singapore’s Gardens I was struck by how that tropical composition was an essential part of the city. Taipei’s gardens were more part of daily life of its citizens. I saw people resting, praying, exercising, living. The only difference from a normal park in Europe is the hills, that firmly hug the metropolis and provide challenging walks and breath-taking views. Something quite magical, if I may add.

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Oslo treasures: Vigelandsanlegget at Frogner Park

For the past decades Frogner Park has been the most visited place of Norway: the Vigeland installation contributed to this result.

The monumental Main Gate

The monumental Main Gate – Detail

It is very very tourist-ish but still indeed fascinating to walk along across the 200+ sculptures designed by Norwegian artist Vigeland, made of granite and bronze. It is a lovely public park, accessible and easy to find, perfect for picnics and wandering (and in Summer there is also the pool open!). A must-go when in town.

Facts about the installation:

– the main theme is the ‘Human Condition‘, but the twist is that none of the works have an actual title, so it is up to the visitor to capture the feelings. Intriguing.

– from the main entrance you can divide the sculptures in the ones on the Bridge (in bronze), the Children’s Playground at the end of the bridge (8 bronze sculptures with kids playing); the maze on floor brings you to the section of the Fountain (in bronze) that leads you to the Monolith (14 meters of granite human figures trying to move and elevate to the sky) with along a circular section of sculptures called the Wheel of Life (in granite, sculptures mainly in couples).

– the most interactive part by a visitor is at the Wheel of Life, where you can sit on the stairs among the statues and (especially for adults) take a cheeky selfie with a granitic companion of your choice or to (especially for children) climb without getting in trouble on the sculptures itself. It is somehow great to see kids getting involved and there is nowhere sign of defacement -yay society, you crazy breed-.

– on a sunny day, lights and shades enables you to capture even more vividly the feelings, for a quite amazing impression. See yourself.

The Bridge

The Bridge – on one side

the Bridge

On the Bridge – Detail

On the Bridge

On the Bridge – Detail

On the Bridge

On the Bridge – Detail

On the Bridge

On the Bridge – Detail

Children’s Playground

Children’s Playground – Detail

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The Fountain – detail

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The Monolith

The Wheel of Life - Detail

The Wheel of Life – Detail

The Wheel of Life - Detail

The Wheel of Life – Detail

The Wheel of Life - Detail

The Wheel of Life – Detail

The Wheel of Life - Detail

The Wheel of Life – Detail

The Wheel of Life - Detail

The Wheel of Life – Detail

The Wheel of Life - Detail

The Wheel of Life – Detail

The Wheel of Life - Detail

The Wheel of Life – Detail

The Wheel of Life - Detail

The Wheel of Life – Detail

The Wheel of Life - Detail

The Wheel of Life – Detail

Kids playing

Kids being kids. 🙂

Kids playing

Kids being kids. 🙂

P.S. sorry for poor quality in the pixels, just focus on the subjects *wink wink*

Williamsburg fears and guilty pleasures

McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is jammed with beautiful girls on a sunny day. 

It’s part of the hipster-coolness, and either you’re in or out. I was out, my friend was scared. He was scared of beautiful girls, of matching outfits, of sun-bathing bodies. He kept saying that girls are mysterious creatures, often repeating “They laugh, and they cry. Then they cry, and they laugh. But they they cry, and laugh back again”.

I was totally amused by watching his reaction while crossing the park, his eyes wide open to the horizon, always talking about his funny behaviour as uncool kid. He was true, the overall feeling was of a superficial and constructed environment made by young people who were trying pretty hard to feel unique and yet part of a selected, unique social group: the Williamsburg peeps. He, on the other, was born wise and old, out of the Facebook circuit, even of Craigslist’s one too. And I was born to disagree with most of his ideas, but generally to be amazed and to truly adore him.

My friend is a big chubby boy, with a white shirt and an easy smile on. He think fast, he speaks even faster with a mixed accent that it’s hard to get at times. He sang a song that day he listened to on my ipod, while walking along the neighbourhood, while avoiding those beautiful girls. The song speaks about a woman who feels and wants to be strong and superior, but always goes back to the same old mistake and gets together with his lover, a merciless, arrogant man. No illusions or dreams left, just a little, meaningless feeling she’s holding on. The song says that a woman, when in love, can’t tell the difference within a blind love and the silliest patience.

My friend on a pavement, under a very hot sun on a Saturday morning was singing his guilty pleasure meaning every single word, letting his inner female side talking, maybe? Not at all, just endorsing the lyrics to explain why women are not ruling the world, because of their eternal hope towards love. And love is scaring as much as beautiful ladies in the park are. Bless him.

Argh, no possibility to find a better version, my apologies

Gärten der Welt: the world in a park

I wrote this for a trial at a company not so much time back, it’s addressed to budget travellers… but couldn’t wait to publish it because of the pictures correlated.. you know I embrace the #parklife style! Shorter than usual, I hope you enjoy it!

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It’s part of any travellers experience to find a genuine place in the city you’re visiting, without the help of your precious, detailed guide. It usually happens when you jump on a tram by instinct or take the wrong path or just get a hint from a stranger. Your choice might lead to a wonderful place.

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It takes a bit of time with public transports to arrive to Gärten der Welt in Berlin Marzahn but it’s worth the diversion from Berlin city center. This park is a lovely interpretation of a green, open, family-oriented space with six areas designed to experience different gardens from all around the world. While conceived to be a breathing break from the contrasting, outmoded, yet significant DDR’s buildings all around it, Gärten der Welt gives the possibility to have wonderful flights of fancy.

You walk and you are projected in an Italian terrasse during Renaissance;

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an Arab glance, with spouting fountains and ceramic tiles;

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a Chinese restaurant and lovely area, around the lake, where to sip a black tea;

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a Japanese zen portion, to find an inner balance looking at the wavy modelled sand;

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a Korean sanctuary to transport you back in time;

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a Balinese indoor space, where orchids take the stage in a steamy hot.

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Finally the newest element is a square called the ‘Christian Garden’ with suggestive open closter made of words from the Holy Scriptures, but also from philosophy and literature. Highly suggestive and incredibly inspiring for photo amateurs, like all the rest of the park.

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There’s is a small fee to pay (4 Euro) for this unique experience to get lost in time and space, while being comfortably pampered with cafes, recreational spaces and green fields to rest from the adventure that is Gärten der Welt, our world in a single park.

P.S. Yes, I had to take the pictures with my mobile phone, that is smart but doesn’t quite honour the place when it’s cloudy. Sorry for the quality, my camera, karma-foolish, died at the entrance just after I paid the ticket. Prost.

Britzer Garten in Berlin

When you live abroad it is easier to be amazed by your surrounding, especially when you take a path different from what the guide suggests or when you just follow the ‘locals’.

There is something magic when you get lost and just browse around, following your guts, spirit, mood, or simply people. I really trust local’s taste, as much as you know if a restaurant along the street is good from the number of trucks there are parked. So locals, as much as truck drivers know their stuff.

Two years ago, while wandering with my bike, I stumbled in this park, Britzer Garten, South Berlin. I went back in a sunny day and the wonder still lives there.

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It’s an amazing time for taking pictures right now, the light is good but not too bright, the days outside get longer and warmer and the blossom is pure joy for a pics-aholic. On a sunny day, this park is the perfect combination, highly recommended!

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Britzer Garten is a lovely residential neighborhood, between Mariendorf and Britz-Neukoelln where all around there are small houses and beautiful garden. Birds sing all the time. It’s quiet and human-sized. The location is out-of-peek for tourists, the result is the total absence of temporary ‘ich-bin-ein-Berliner”- claimers. And it is still nice to find place like that, in a big first-come-first-served city.

During May there is a kind of party going on in the park, people celebrates tulips: colourful wild tulips, choreographic tulips, mix-race ones. It’s a delight walking along the paths and admire the wild tulips and many other flowers, in lovely compositions: words cannot explain the feelings when it’s sunny. It’s pure life and balance. It’s the detail that gives meaning.

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The park itself show a perfect combination space/green/visitors, there are several fields, playgrounds and a functional services around the lakes, benches, platforms and chairs along the way. You can rest while watching funny ducks in love chasing one another on the water, kids playing on the fields, ladies having an ice cream or a bratwurst in one of the many kiosk. This park states: please come, walk, rest, have the best of time. And the pictures explain it better than words, indeed.

 

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 In a sentence: Britzer Garten, happy place for the soul.

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July: Parklife

Well, now that I write, July was a bit of a silly month for me.
I guess that when I faced it, I couldn’t tell, but it was an important, highly overrated month, where I changed perspectives and mainly organized my life in a massive over-thinking way.
I didn’t move, actually, stayed home, wasting time in front of the window, staring at the boredom.

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I beg pardon, a monster called “Android Smartphone” possessed me. I had to try some filters before recovering.

My state of mind, boiling for changes, was always on the starting line, exploding to leave, begging the body to find a solution and let it go. But then, sad reality, my prerogative was slightly different and reality is an ugly beast when it comes to spend most of the day in front of a computer, and not for delight.

So travelling in July was almost like a bit of forbidden thought to talk about, because there were some big tasks in August, because I had to focus on painful administrative works: “stuff to do”. Bummer.
My only escape was a daily trip to the park, not far from my house. I am so thankful that parks exist. It’s like you think you have no alternative, that you are a rat in a cage with potentially lots of possibility but feelings are more like it’s up to your neck in it.

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Viktoriapark

The park is the best creation citizens can have ever imagined in a big city; it’s like going to breathe and suck joy from people, playgrounds, fields and trees there.

My park has a big big green field, and it’s a pleasure to see people, youngsters and adults, playing on it. I did too, I played football one time or two, in a very unprofessional and goofy (but very focusing and sweaty, qualities you don’t even recognise in every football player) way. The way that makes you smile if you think of it. The best way.
The disposition of fields, trees, paths, playground is so rational, excellent job: it enhances the idea of living the place, enhancing the respect for itself too. You see magic, you feel relaxed and empowered.

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Stairs embellished by a poem, words by Sir W. Shakespeare

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Juggling in the park!

It’s like recharging batteries and I am glad I spent July like that. Less blessing was the crazy Berliner weather, an embarassing show of its I’d-like-to-stay-quiet-but-I-am-nuts-so-I’ll-have-a-storm-followed-by-sunshine-once-every-hour,-stick-with-it-losers! personality.

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The storm is coming

BUT… yeah, fair enough if at the end of the day, what you see is a simple miracle.

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Fireworks.