Local Heart, Global Soul

September 19, 2018

Cramner Courts; The Inevitable…

One set buildings I hoped would be saved after the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, were the beautiful Cramner Courts buildings on the northern end of Cranmer Square. I wrote a post about it here: https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/new-848/ Cramner Courts: The Wrecking Ball Becomes a Hot Potato…
Sadly the inevitable happened and when I photographed the site in January 2018, this is what I found: a mostly empty site but evidence that preparations were being made for a large modern building. (the building with the light blue windows and the smaller buildings with the grey roofs are actually set back further than they seem from this camera angle.)

The empty section was difficult to photograph because we were the lead car in our lane going though the series of bends that the One Way street takes, and we had other vehicles next to and behind us. The shape of the modern building distinctly echo’s the of the historic building it replaces, with a round room on the corner, just as the previous one had had and triangle shapes in the roof line in almost exactly the same place as the old building too. The white building across the road from the Cramner Court was called Chateau Blanc and belonged to the Clarion Hotel chain (also documented in the post above), is to my amazement now completely gone, only the small hedge and tiny piece of white wall remains. It will be interesting to see what happens with this plot of land too. There are at least on one side, literal and physical “developments”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We have turned out of Cranmer Square and are headed towards Victoria Street…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 19, 2015

Liebfrauenberg… A Square, And A (Partially) Square Fountain…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Liebfrauenberg in Frankfurt is the second largest square in the old town after the Römerburg and considered one of the most beautiful places of the city. By  1416 it was already paved and from 1490 a cattle market was held here.

At the end of the 15th century a fountain was erected in the square. A siege plan of 1552 indicates that circular wells were built and a fountain, already referred to with the same “Liebfrauenberg ” name as the square, was present to supply residents of nearby houses with water.

In 1573  there was a failed attempt to establish a fair for merchants and to build exhibition stands in the Liebfrauenberg.  It failed due to lack of demand but the place continued to remain a central and very popular place for the comings and goings of urban life.

The well in the  Liebfrauenberg was remodelled in 1594 into a fountain, but by 1769 the fountain needed to be demolished due to disrepair and was rebuilt in 1770 by sculptor Johann Michael Datzerat according to a plan by city architect Johann Andreas Liebhardt (1713-1788) in the late Baroque style.

The resulting fountain consists of a large oval fountain basin with beaded, curved rim parapet, in the centre of which stands a square fountain and an obelisk with baroque decorative elements.

Bronze plaques are embedded in the sides dedicated  to the river gods figures of Moenus and Rhenus (Main and Rhine). Water flows from pitchers into the expansive pools in the shape of shells, that rest on the crossed bodies of dolphins. The originals of the river god figurines Moenus and Rhenus are located in the park of the Liebieghaus.

From the shell basin, the water flows down into the actual fountain basin. From the mouths of the dolphins additional water flows in a directly into the pool. The Frankfurt city coat of arms adorns the front of the column and the tip of the obelisk features a gilded sun.

The Liebfrauenberg is located in the center of the northern Old Town. Dominated by the Gothic “Liebfrauenkirche” (Church of Our Lady) and close to the Kleinmarkthalle (indoor food market) it’s biggest feature is the Liebfrauenberg  fountain with it’s high obelisk column and sculptural elements.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During the Second World War, the fountain was protected by a sturdy wooden frame designed to preserve the sculptures from destruction.

The upper part of the obelisk and the fountain remained without cover and thus unprotected, and were fortunately miraculously spared by the bombs in the air raids that rained down on Frankfurt am Main.

In the 1960’s and  1970, the well,  figures and column  showed serious signs of deterioration so were copied by the sculptor Kurt Zobel and rebuilt. Since July 1973, the city council reintroduced and maintains the well and the flow of water in the fountain.

In the warmer months a flower market takes place at the Liebfrauenberg, during  Advent, the entire historic area caters to a large Christmas Market that runs all the way from the Liebfrauenberg to the Römerberg.

When we visited, the fountain sported an additional adornment: a supermarket shopping trolley, probably as the result of some drunken student prank. I also did something wrong with the settings on my camera and some of the photos came out looking overexposed. Still, some detail is better than none, right?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.frankfurt.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=5021813&_ffmpar%5B_id_inhalt%5D=5021003

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebfrauenberg_%28Frankfurt_am_Main%29  (German text only).

 

March 15, 2014

Not Quite The Tradtional Coffee And Appletaart, But Just As Good…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are numberous cafés and restaurants around the  “old town”of central Delft.

There are a constant stream of tourists who visit the town and congregate in the central square after visiting some of the many local attractions, or locals out shopping who often love to stop for a morning or afternoon cup of good coffee and apple tart, or something traditional like a pannenkoeken (pancakes) for lunch.

Coffee is a Dutch institution:  compared to many countries with anglox-saxen heritages, here in The Netherlands they like their coffee strong and establishments that serve bad coffee rarely procure repeat customers.

Appeltaart (apple cake) may be the most popular Dutch treat to accompany this coffee, but it’s by no means the only cake on offer.

My visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” and I have been walking around and taking photographs, it’s slow going for me on crutches but we are not in a rush, but that said there comes a moment when I get desperate to sit down and take a break from standing up. This moment comes just after we have been spying out the delights of the local central market food stalls and since our stomachs are rumbling we indulge in some cake of our own. Mine is a decadent chocolate number, Velvetines is a strawberry mousse sort of confection. Nether of us are coffee drinkers, and anyway it’s a warm day so cold drinks all round.

The café / restaurant we are at is called “the ABC Café Restaurant”, service is good, the cake is delicious and judging by the number of  Dutch locals I hear chatting all around us, the coffee apparently is too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 21, 2013

The Weather Is Glorious, But Kiwi Daughter Is Thunderous…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This page of my diary finds me in Bruges, Belgium and is a journal of our travels last summer.

We now walk for lunch and a well earned rest  to the Bruges  market square and Gementehuis  (City Hall). Again the area is thronged with tourists, horses and carriages plod by  regularly, but we are pleased to be here on a market day, so browse the stall under the deep shade canopies.

We find some steps to sit on in the shade with a bag of fresh cherries and strawberries and sit people watching as we eat.

Himself and Little Mr  went off earlier to do some other things and to catch an extra dip in the pool, Kiwi Daughter isn’t in a good mood after opting to stay with Velvetine and I at The Chocolate Line shop and then later wishing she’d opted for the pool option instead.

She’s got her nose out of joint that we won’t now take time out to walk to the other side of the central city to deliver her back to the hotel, and I’m annoyed because I want her to realise that once you make a decision you should live with the consequences and not expect everyone else to change their plans to accommodate your  change of heart. I also want her to accept that then turning on a tantrum and trying to ruin my day definitely isn’t the way to get me to change my mind either. Velveteen tries to talk sense to her and also fails, we try phoning Himself but he’s not at all pleased at the prospect of  dragging Little Mr away from his swim just to please Kiwi Daughter so he declines to come to us (and fair enough too, I totally agree with him).

It’s a physical impossibility for me to manage a back-and-forth to the hotel and back so Kiwi  Daughter will just have to suck it up on this occasion. She’s not doing that particularly well so this day is turning out to be not such an easy one. As a consequence the photos we took around the Bruges market square and Gementehuis  were a bit rushed. We were distracted and a little too tired and hungry. A rest was certainly in order and after some stern words, a few tears (mine and hers) and a good sit down, she and I calmed down and got ready to go where Velvetine and I wanted to go next.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 11, 2013

The Not so Small Town Square is Very Impressive…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Mechelen,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The first trip we made to Mechelen (the one in the rain) was the trip where we had a little more time, our friends were dropped off at the location of their appointment earlier than planned because we had arrived earlier than expected.

Knowing that  Rotterdam and Antwerpen can be notorious for traffic jams during rush-hour, we had left the Hague at 7.15 in the morning, hoping to either miss the worst of the traffic or have allowed extra time in case we got stuck somewhere.

The Fates smiled on us on this occasion as traffic flowed smoothly past Rotterdam and we encountered a delay of only half an hour at Antwerpen: a far cry from other occasions when we have been stuck on the ring road there for between one and two hours.

The only downside was the weather, not really the best for exploring what looked like a very interesting city centre.  We persevered and found a car park and then set out on foot and only a street or two further discovered an huge city square that was dominated by a cathedral at one end and a castle-like stadhuis (city council building) at the other. Once again I’ve combined the photos from the good weather later trip with the earlier bad weather one so you can get an idea of how the view looks on the different days.

Since our first visit was only days after Easter, the locally famous “Pas Ei” (Easter Egg tree) was still up… complete with hanging ornamental Easter eggs. Himself wants to see if there are  any shops open, specifically so that we can take some waffles  chocolates and beer back to the Netherlands but first there’s a funny statue in the corner that I’m off to check out…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 8, 2012

Victoria Enjoys a Long Reign Over Dutch Square…

Filed under: Landmarks,MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In continuation of recent posts I’m still in Dutch Square, Melaka, Malaysia: and having marvelled at all the surrounding buildings my attention now turns to the fountain in the middle of the Square.

A Malaysian tourist website  called “Attractions in Malaysia” (link at bottom of this post) gave me some background and history of the fountain, although our guide had filled us in on some of the details whilst we were there.

The  Queen Victoria’s Fountain was built to commemorate  Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and from the website I learned:

The Queen Victoria Fountain was built in 1901 by the British and is still standing as elegant as ever until this very day.

Although more than a hundred years old, this fountain is still functioning well and is probably the only functioning colonial water fountains in Malaysia.

Queen Victoria surpassed George III as the longest reigning monarch in the history of England and Scotland history on 23rd September 1896.

The Queen requested at the time that any special celebrations are to be put on hold until 1897 in order to coincide with her Diamond Jubilee which was later made a festival of the British Empire.

The fountain is a famous backdrop for visitors who come to Malacca as it is so near the Stadhuys and the Chirst Church.

On the tip of the fountain says ‘Victoria Regina 1837-1901, erected by the people of Malacca in memory of a great Queen.”

The Queen Victoria Fountain is probably one of the last traces of the British colonial era in Malaysia and it symbolizes the glorious days of the British colonization in Malaysia in the yesteryears.

Hmm the phrase “glorious days of the British colonization of Malaysia”  was only probably glorious in reality if you were on the side of the colonizers and not one of the colonized… as usual around the world, the locals probably didn’t get an awful lot of say after they were taken over.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As an aside: Queen Victoria  reigned for 63 years and 7 months, and the current British Queen, Elizabeth II at age 86 has been on the throne for 60 years as of 2012, so would have to be close to 90 years of age if she wants to break Victoria’s record.

(Elizabeth began her reign at 26 years of age, whilst Victoria was only 19  when she began hers but died aged younger at age 81, so literally time-will-tell if history will be rewritten in four years time).

I love this fountain as a work of art too… it’s hard to get the true detail amid the cascades of water but I find the garlands, grapes, ribbons, flowers (and I think might they be pomegranates?) beautiful, with a portrait of Victoria outlined in what I am sure must be raised ceramic tile with a blue glaze background.

I first thought that the larger decoration on the column close to the shield was carved stone, but on closer inspection I now think that it’s also raised ceramic tile.  So readers, stone carving or tile, what do you think this is?

The detail fanatic in me couldn’t resist taking a ton of photos of the fountain for my “arty inspiration folder” which one day when I get a spare moment (Ha!) I will indulge in.  Also I was pleased that  the second photo shows the radio mast, pylon thingy in the background, proof that it definitely hadn’t sprouted out of the little clock tower just behind me.

http://malacca.attractionsinmalaysia.com/Queen-Victoria-Fountain.php

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 14, 2012

Broken Cathedrals and Heavy Hearts…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Of course I can’t leave Cathedral Square without showing you it’s centre-piece: the Christchurch Cathedral.

This building is one of the most recognised in all New Zealand.

Visitors and locals alike have clambered up the spiral tower steps and viewed the goings on in the Square from above.

I’ve seen it captured in the photographic phenomenon particular to Japanese tourists more times than I could count.

This phenomenon consists of the following: Her smiling at the camera with Cathedral in background (photo taken by him), Him smiling at the camera with Cathedral in background (photo taken by her) and then Them smiling at the camera with cathedral in background (photo taken by a helpful passer-by or someone else in their tour party).

Wiki has the Cathedral’s history in detail and “before” photo’s too, but for me today’s post is more about emotions than facts so I’ve posted links to those pages at the bottom of the page.

The Cathedral is on what seems like every second postcard of Christchurch, and they sell well. I know this, because I’ve often bought the cards to send back to family and friends with a little note attached about our travels.

It’s not only been a place to admire, it’s been a place of worship and a place to use as a meeting point, everyone knows it and no one can miss it.

It’s part of the background of everyday life in the centre of Christchurch and even if some people have never been in it, or maybe don’t  have faith, it’s so ingrained in the backdrop of the city that walking past here without seeing it in the landscape is almost unthinkable.

Sadly that’s the possibility that faces Christchurch as I type.

We saw the Cathedral in the distance as we entered the square, but the walkway has you facing the old Post Office for a little distance and then the high fences obscure it a little so it’s not until you get a little closer that it really come properly into view.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since we are a decent distance away from it, CERA has seen fit to lower the barrier fence directly in front of the Cathedral, so we can get some good photos and even more importantly, get a really good look at the state it’s in now.

A massive metal frame holds up the West Front, and the tower is a shaddow of it’s fromer self. The top of the spire has been rescued, encased in a strong metal frame to keep what’s left of it intact and sits on the grass on the south side of the nave.

To my eyes the building has a mixture of dejection and defience about it, akin to someone who’s just received notice of a terminal illness and is still determined to stand strong, but who hasn’t yet gotten all the test results back so is unaware of how deep the damage to its vital bits is as yet.

We managed to see the Cathedral only one day before the walking tour is closed to the public… and then a few days later on the following Friday, December 23rd Christchurch was hit by a large cluster of aftershocks, that included a double whammy of a magnitude 5.8 followed by a magnitude 6.0 .

As we dealt with scared kids that night I was saddened to learn that much of what was left of the round Rose window on the West Front had collapsed, and that the hope of repair to restore the Cathedral were deminishing with every large aftershock.

At the moment there is still a very large question-mark on what might be possible to save and what not. This sight of a beloved building in such distress had me wiping away a few tears… and I was not alone pulling out a hanky… more people in the crowd around me were too.

There are two phrases that come to mind.. the first is Kia Kaha (stay strong) and the second is R.I.P.

My heart hopes for the first to be the Cathedral’s long term reality, but my head fears  that the second might be closer to the actual truth. This may well be my very last goodbye.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 6, 2011

Get a Square Peg into a Round Hole? …These Towerhouses Prove It CAN Be Done!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The small Dutch town of Leerdam grew over the centuries and earned the right to be called a city in 1407.  Situated on the meeting points of the Rivers Leede and Linge, Leerdam was ruled by local Counts of Leerdam (the “Vijfheerenlanden”) but the region achieved official “County” status in 1498.

The beginnings of the city are thought to have been formed around the 11th or 12th century along with a castle owned by the Lords of Arkel.

The castle incorporated part of the city walls into it’s structure but was separated from the town by a moat.

William of Orange inherited the County of Leerdam in 1557 and he also became the new owner of the castle as part of his inheritance.

in 1574 the town and the castle were besieged by Spanish forces during the “80 Years War” and was destroyed, along with vast sections of the city walls.

Sections of the former castle walls were used to rebuild new city walls but the remaining sections of the castle became a ruin, until in 1770 a “hofje” (almshouse)  for poor young women and widows was built atop of the castle foundations.

The hofje is called ‘Hofje van Aerden’  and is now a museum. During restoration in the 1970’s, original castle wall fragments dating back to 1300 were discovered at the site.

Larger sections of the city walls have been restored over the centuries  and three tower houses were built on the foundations of earlier  wall towers in 1738.

One theory for their shape is:  the bases of the tower houses are round because  a round foundation is a stronger defensive structure than a square one, but I secretly wonder if they weren’t just getting heartily sick of the idea of piling and re-piling up stones at some point and  thought, ” let’s see if we can get this square  house to sit on  the round foundation that’s already there, then we won’t need all the hard work of taking the old stones away, just to rebuild them straight away in a different shape!

Either way, I’m guessing there aren’t too many houses in the world that sport a square house on a round foundation?

Just proves you CAN get a  square peg into a round hole if you try hard enough.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Blog at WordPress.com.