Morocco Log #1
Stepping straight onto the tarmac of Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport after a 6 hour flight with the Royal Air Morocco, I am officially on the continent of Africa!
The reputation of Casablanca would be overrated if it were not for the magnificent Hassan II Mosque by the Atlantic Ocean. Marrakesh, on the other hand, is what I imagined Morocco would be like – vibrant colors, ancient history, and exotic culture blended with chaos everywhere. Djema Square at the heart of the old medina is the biggest outdoor marketplace in Marrakesh. Every day, when the sky dims into a scarlet sunset and the square is re-lit with a sea of tent light bulbs, when the delicious smell of BBQ travels to your nose through clouds of smoke that rise above vender stalls, when the boisterous crowd and circus animals pour into the square from all directions, you can’t help but realize that this place has just woken up and the show is about to begin.
Rose in the Park
In the Middle of Paris France
The Saint-Jacques Tower, with its flamboyant gothic style, is located in the middle of Paris. It is all that remains of a church built in the 16th century and demolished during the French Revolution. The 171-foot tower has had many functions since then (including a shot tower!) and undergone many phases of restoration. It is now open to the public (tour guide only), and the view from there is simply stunning.
Machu Picchu is arguably the most famous historical ruin not just in Peru, but in the Americas. Since the re-discovery of this Inca citadel by American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911, this iconic lost city in the sky has been attracting visitors non-stop for the past century.
From the stunning view at the top of Huayna Picchu, to the carefree llamas chilling in the lawns, Machu Picchu possesses magical enchantments hardly describable by words. Peru prides themselves as “the richest country in the world” in their recent marketing campaign. Well, it was. It truly was.
Philadelphia is renowned for being the City of Brotherly Love and the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence, but, in my experience, people in this city seem to have a lot of appreciation for art. From an academic level, the city is home to many famous art museums including the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. From a street perspective, many strikingly usual wall murals are painted all over the buildings in Center City with awed messages. From every historical building you pass by and every street corner you turn onto, there is a sense of heritage and era. Unexpectedly, you bump into a modern bank-affiliated coffeehouse offering hot drinks & free WiFi. How interesting!
Pretty Seasonal Colors
“The falling leaves drift by the window, the autumn leaves of red and gold…” Here we go again, fall has arrived, with its bright and warm colors. Who does not love walking around in this season, amazed by the beauty of the trees? Enjoy it!
The Old City of Quebec
Quebec is an authentic city of rich history, vibrant art, and French culture. It was my first visit to this old city, and I was pleasantly impressed. Quebec means “the narrowing of the river” and in this case it refers to the Saint Lawrence River. Its geographic heritage endows the city with its strategic significance in wars and economy.
The entire old city is a UNESCO heritage listed site. The only fortified city wall in North America is preserved in Quebec.
Apart from French being spoken and written everywhere, the characteristic that struck me most is the rich art element infused in every detail of the city: from the landmark Le Chateau Frontenac to a vast painting on the side of a building, from restaurants to galleries, and from sculptures to street signs.
A Day in the Gulf of Kotor, Montenegro
I have recently spent a few days in Dubrovnik, Croatia. One of the highlights of my trip was a one-day trip to Montenegro, since it was not planned and I therefore had no idea what to expect. I didn’t even realize the currency is Euro (I’ll let you Google this!).
I was given the full .tour of the Gulf of Kotor. Imagine a landscape of fjords and mountains, with Mediterranean vegetation and clear blue water. Pretty nice, isn’t it? Like most cities in the area, the old city of Kotor (a UNESCO world heritage site) is surrounded by fortifications and walls. If you’re fit enough, you can climb 1500-plus steps up to St. John fortress, built by Emperor Justinian in 535.
I also discovered Perast, a tiny village on the Gulf, and its two small islets, Our Lady of the Rocks (the only artificially-built island in the Adriatic sea, shown here), and St. George.
One World Trade Center semi-visible under a veil of clouds on an overcast morning: this is what the Manhattan skyline looks like from 15 Exchange Place, Jersey City. I bet it is not often that one gets to catch a glimpse of the new symbolic landmark like this.
One minute after hopping onto the under-river train, I was already at the new World Trade Center PATH transit station in Manhattan, a new establishment completed in 2016. As you might have heard, the look of this construction resembles a bird taking off. The first thing in sight coming off the train was a dazzling huge flag of stars and stripes, hanging down from a lofty white space, supported by long parallel comb-like beams. The blue and red flag, the pure white interior, it is minimalism well executed!
Beaune in Burgundy, France
Beaune is one of the wine capitals of my country, and is known for its Hospices and its famous roof made of glazed tiles (which you can glimpse in the 50-year old comedy, La Grande Vadrouille).
However, I have a clear preference for the Hospices’ courtyard itself, which hasn’t changed in years.
See more pictures taken in Beaune on my photoblog.
Picture by June Wang
Wuhan University, founded in 1893, is regarded as one of the most beautiful university campuses in China. Set by the peaceful East Lake, surrounding the Luojia Mountain, the campus spreads over 900 acres in the city of Wuhan, China. The palatial buildings of the university, blending Chinese and Western styles, have witnessed over 100 years of Chinese contemporary history. Many extraordinary scholars studied, worked and fought there, leaving their individual marks on the walls and floors. Walking on the rooftop of the historical dormitory building, and looking at the golden sunset beneath the flying roof-edge, I can’t help but feel proud of the land where I had spent four years of my life.
Spring has finally arrived, and it’s that time of the year again. Even from across the hemisphere, I can just imagine the rumbustious scene of thousands of visitors pouring into the campus for the cherry blossom spectacular.
Pretty Old Carved Stones in France
Don’t you like to observe the details of finely carved stones and try to feel the history behind it? Here are a few examples of those that I liked the most: the year of construction of a chimney in a modest house in a village in Corrèze, the shell-shaped motif on both sides of a door in a street of Beaune, and my favorite: a pretty young girl with braided hair on the tombstone of Philibert II, Duke of Savoy, in the Royal Monastery of Brou.
Las Ruinas y Las Piramides
This was my first visit to Mexico, and my first visit to the Yucatán peninsula, which must be a magical land. Despite a plan for every detail on the trip, things started to fall apart the moment I landed. However, all the adventures became so worthwhile when I finally saw the ancient Mayan civilization. Here is a peek at the great Chichén Itzá, the breezy Tulum ruins, and the magnificent Governor’s Palace at Uxmal.
Governor’s Palace at Uxmal, By Qiong Wang
Chichén Itzá, by Qiong Wang
Ruins at Tulum, by Qiong Wang
Winter has come!
Winter is probably the best time of the year to take black and white pictures, especially when the sky is cloudy. Frost on a window in the utility room, frozen leaves in the garden or on the path of the north-facing slopes, and foggy fields are just a few examples of winter’s beauty. Enjoy it, until spring springs!
Pictures by Elodie Pauwels
Shaoxing—the Venice in the East
All photos by Qiong Wang
During my recent trip to China, Shaoxing was a pleasant surprise. The city sits nicely over a complex water canal system, woven together by stone bridges. Until today, local residents inside the old town often used canal water for their daily life activities. Just like Venice, man-powered gondolas are the only vehicles that could fit and roam in these narrow canals, mostly for tourist purposes. Shaoxing was the capital city of the Yue kingdom over 2,000 years ago. Many important historic scholars and important figures were born there or had resided there, which left an incredibly rich cultural heritage in and around the city. Shaoxing is also geographically convenient to get to, only one hour train ride from Shanghai and twenty minutes from Hangzhou. Don’t miss it if you happen to be in the area.
The Vendée Globe
Photo by ELODIE PAUWELS
Photo by ELODIE PAUWELS
Les Sables d’Olonne is a French town located by the Atlantic Ocean and is particularly known for being the start and finish points of the “Vendée Globe.” This is a non-stop round the world single-handed boat race, which takes place every four years. François Gabart won the last race in 2012-2013, as immortalized by a plaque on the seafront.
Early November, about 25 skippers will travel along the channel from the large marina called Port Olona, crowded for the occasion, and then between both lighthouses towards the vastness of the ocean. The lucky ones completing the circumnavigation are expected to come back anytime from late January/early February 2017. Can’t you feel the call of the sea?
Photo by ELODIE PAUWELS
One amazing thing about New York City is that it is never the same experience whenever you step out onto the streets. You will always witness different details, even if you are walking on the same street, at a different time of the day, on different days of the week, and in different seasons of the year, such as brand-new street arts that appeared overnight, new décor from fashion store windows or random moments of a New Yorker that fit beautifully into the city backdrop. It is like you are going on a date with a different city at different times. Here are just a few examples of these city moments on a roll.
Magic over St Lawrence river
Summer rhymes with sunny weather and long days. It also rhymes with vacations and no tight agenda. No matter if you are an early bird or a night owl, you might admire a magnificent sunrise such as this one in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. Many of you have already been struck by the warm colors of a sunset, here over Montreal.
All Photos by Elodie Pauwels https://elodiepphoto.wordpress.com/
“My first visit to Venice was around this time last year. It brought back so many good memories just to browse through the photos. The city is one of a kind. Even though I had heard and read a decent amount about it before my visit, I still felt embarrassed for being so ignorant about the depth and richness of its art and history. I wish I knew the story of every bridge in Venice; I wish I had more knowledge about the work and life of Titian so that I could have an enhanced spiritual exchange with the talented artist in the Frari church. I wish I knew more about the Venetian Republic so that I could envision the prosperity of the medieval powerhouse as the motor sound of vaporettos synthesized into the sound of waves in the grand canal. However, I was not so impressed by the vibrant Burano island although it is a cute spot for photography. Spero di visitare di nuovo! ”
All Photos by QIONG WANG
Musical Fountains Show in Versailles
By Elodie Pauwels
Imagine the magnificent Palace of Versailles under a clear blue sky. Imagine spring has just sprung. Imagine strolling in that environment, going from one statue to a pond, then turning left to discover a mysterious alley. Suddenly, as if by magic, classic music is played, and water is turned on at each fountain in the vicinity of the Palace. Welcome to the musical fountains show, every weekend afternoon from Spring to Fall! Here is my favorite: the Apollo fountain, representing Apollo on his chariot. More pictures are available on my photo blog: http://elodiepphoto.wordpress.com/