Parc Güell , Barcelona

Contemporary look at Gaudi’s Park Guell

Life as we see it..

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Parc Güell is a must see in Barcelona. And I suggest you to go there for an excellent panoramic view of the city. You can by metro or bus. But if you go by metro, you have to walk quite a lot. Bus drops you just in front of the gate of the park. The park is UNESCO world heritage site.

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You may take Bus 24 from Parallel metro or 90 from Hospital de Sant Pau.

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Colonnaded pathway  is an unique  architechture, where the road projects out from the hillside, with the vaulting forming a retaining wall  which curves over to support the road, and transmits the load onto sloping columns.

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The outside park does not need any ticket. Only the monument area needs ticket, which is 7 euro. The park is a public park system composed of gardens and architectonic elements located on Carmel Hill. Carmel Hill…

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Existential Garden Visits–Borges

International Authors' DayBetween 14-18 July 2015, on each day, I will be making a post in celebration of International Authors’ Day, featuring review of works by Kenneth Grahame, J.L. Borges and Algernon Blackwood, authors whose works have been formative inspirations for me.

These posts will be made as part of a Blog Hop as can be seen and visited through the links at the bottom of each post.

Today is 17July2015.

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Existential Garden Visits: J.L. Borges
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1899-1986 Jorge Luis Borges, some of his works can be found here.

…I was just there…

Erik Desmazieres’ illustration of Borges’ Library of Babel (courtesy of funambulist)

Library of Babel. This image I share with all of you who are convinced that the written word is at the center of our lives and a library houses the efforts of all people who share your convictions…J.L. Borges called it Library of Babel.

Here is a two minute sound clip featuring Borges’ description from The Library of Babel:

If you tried to call his work based upon themes, you would have to include dreams, labyrinths, libraries, mirrors–the stuff that provides portals to the madness of existence–the madness of questions some of us ask, some of us become obsessed and others by the grace of God, never even think of–so, some of you would be better off not reading any further.
In one of his stories, most often quoted, analyzed, The Garden of Forking Paths, he takes the reader on a garden journey wherein movement through a labyrinth is required, however the labyrinth folds back in on itself through networks of time, none of which are the same, all of which are equal, an infinite regression.
The concept itself is incredible and the masterful skill of writing that creates the experience–beyond words. Fantastic writing, fantastic imagination–and you must ask yourself upon reading that–you must ask yourself where did I come from, where am I going and what is this thing we call life.
But it all starts with books because books, like gardens…always take you…somewhere unexpected…if you let them. Libraries, gardens, landscapes…what more could you want? And Borges is supreme at enticing his reader into the garden, as in this 4 minute sound clip:

But there is too often a dreary end to existential inquiry–I prefer the garden, or a walk out into the landscape–places where discovery captivates, enthuses.
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In the garden just like every book, just like every piece of music--in the garden are discoveries to be made--portals with thresholds waiting to be crossed--it is up to you.

In the garden just like every book, just like every piece of music–in the garden are discoveries to be made–portals with thresholds waiting to be crossed–it is up to you.

Plants: how do they inspire you?

Please answer that question in the comments below, because on the last day of this International Authors’ Day Blog Hop, I will randomly select a winner to receive The 23 Club, Beta 6, a free giveaway for your reading enjoyment.

The 23 Club (Beta 06)

Table of Contents

  1. Desertification
  2. It’s 2AM
  3. Spike Lounge
  4. The Walk
  5. Rub Al Khali Coastal
  6. Rub Al Khali Inland
  7. Liwa Qsar
  8. The Plant Nursery
  9. Tamarind Gardens
  10. Library Majlis
  11. Villa Patio
  12. Long and Short
  13. Pilgrimage
  14. Wanderweg

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Landscape Mysteries: Algernon Blackwood

International Authors' DayBetween 14-18 July 2015, on each day, I will be making a post in celebration of International Authors’ Day, featuring review of works by Kenneth Grahame, J.L. Borges and Algernon Blackwood, authors whose works have been formative inspirations for me.

These posts will be made as part of a Blog Hop as can be seen and visited through the links at the bottom of each post.

Today is 16July2015.

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Landscape Mysteries: Algernon Blackwood
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1869-1951, Algernon Blackwood’s work can be found at Gutenberg.

…at the portal…

W. Graham Robertson illustrates the forest landscape in Algernon Blackwood’s, The Man whom the Trees Loved. (courtesy of callumjames blogspot)

Algernon Blackwood is an author who continues to inspire my senses when I take a walk in the garden, a walk in the landscape. Some have called him a cross between an outdoorsman and a mystic.

In his stories, the reader encounters a mystery–and that is where the story begins. Blackwood, at the point at which a character begins to uncover an internal mystery, takes the reader across a threshold–very carefully, step by step, revealing the experience.

Mysteries in the landscape only remain so if a person does not carefully question their reveal. Algernon Blackwood carefully questions their reveal in fine stories such as, The Initiation, The Man Whom the Trees Loved, Descent into Egypt, The Willows and many others.

Blackwood was a prolific writer; but my preferences are the stories where he carefully takes his reader on a journey into the reveal of mysteries found in the forest, in the landscape. He brings the reader to greater appreciation of those experiences that seem, how can I say…too normal?  Or too unusual?  Or too troublesome.

But we all have experienced them.

In the following two minute sound clip, on the Sussex weald, Algernon Blackwood’s character was helpless in the landscape, under the power of something quite ancient…

Algernon Blackwood was taken by the landscape of the upper coniferous forests in the Swiss Alps–you can almost feel it in the following three minute sound clip:

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…inhale again…deeply…

Upper Alpine coniferous forests breathe an air that humans find exhilarating…beyond words. What is it about those trees and the understory they protect and nourish?

Plants: how do they inspire you?
Please answer that question because on the last day of this International Authors’ Day Blog Hop, I will randomly select a winner to receive The 23 Club, Beta 6, a free giveaway for your reading enjoyment.

On Ecology–Kenneth Grahame

International Authors' DayBetween 14-18 July 2015, on each day, I will be making a post in celebration of International Authors’ Day, featuring review of works by Kenneth Grahame, J.L. Borges and Algernon Blackwood, authors whose works have been formative inspirations for me.

These posts will be made as part of a Blog Hop as can be seen and visited through the links at the bottom of each post.

Today is 15July2015.
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On Ecology–Kenneth Grahame
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Kenneth Grahame, 1859-1932, access to his works at Gutenberg.

…now where is that portal…

Especially in Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, E.H. Shepard’s illustrations imparted the author’s deep feelings for the forest landscape and its inhabitants.

While many think of Wind in the Willows (1908) as Toad of Toad Hall–it really is an intimate picture of the landscape around which Kenneth Grahame grew up and always loved.

I think of him as the first Ecologist. Most of us, when we think of ecology, think first of the Odum brothers in the 1950s. But for me, it was the observational powers of Kenneth Grahame–how the flora and fauna intimately interacted on diurnal and seasonal bases in his own local patch.

The following two minute sound clip documents Kenneth Grahame’s heartfelt understanding of the landscape.

I respect, I highly value his powers of observation. Unfortunately his efforts have been blacklisted, by some cultural revisionists, as anthropomorphic, but…that bit of censoring is only as transient in time as a slight breeze on a hot, still, summer day.

Kenneth Grahame’s work will return–be it Wind in the Willows, 1908 or Pagan Papers, 1893 when he was already asking ‘Are we irrevocably cut off from the natural world, or might there still be a way back to it?’

He knew of the power in the landscape.
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Plants: how do they inspire you?
Please answer that question because on the last day of this International Authors’ Day Blog Hop, I will randomly select a winner to receive The 23 Club, Beta 6, a free giveaway for your reading enjoyment.

Landscape Story–what is it?

International Authors' DayBetween 14-18 July 2015, on each day, I will be making a post in celebration of International Authors’ Day, featuring review of works by Kenneth Grahame, J.L. Borges and Algernon Blackwood, authors whose works have been formative inspirations for me.

These posts will be made as part of a Blog Hop as can be seen and visited through the links at the bottom of each post.

 

 

Today is 14July2015.

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Landscape Story–what is it?
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These landscape stories are classic quests–journeys. Maybe a landscape story should start with some context, some definition.

On the earth, humans see the surface and what they see is landscape. The difference between landscape and garden is that a garden is cultivated by humans, is protected by humans and is relatively safe from threats of death to humans. Whereas in the larger landscape, the threat of death, by other life forms including humans, known or unknown, may be just ‘around the corner’, or even ‘in your face’.

Myself, I always have looked at it like this from a larger historical perspective: in the beginning humans moved in the landscape–hunting and gathering, I think is the currently popular way to describe their activities. When humans found the dangers in the landscape, when they found the threat of death in the landscape too great, they built shelters–the realm of architects today, shelters.

Then humans put fences around their shelters, cultivated plants and called those outdoor areas, gardens. Gardens are places dominated by plants, places where humans offer some personal service to plants. Gardens are places relatively safe from the danger of death. In the garden, there is protection. In the garden, the intense human energy for self defense can be suspended, enabling finer instincts of humans to be accessed.

Gardens and landscapes both are essentially the environment of plants. And plants  are the domain where the most dynamic interactions remain to be discovered by humans. Landscape stories explore dynamic interactions between humans and plants in gardens and landscapes.

A landscape story moves beyond furniture and setting. The plants, gardens and landscapes begin to have lives of their own…kind of like real life…and beyond. In the works of literature, arts and music, plants, gardens and landscapes have forever been the source of seemingly unlimited human inspirations. Of particularly rich inspirations for me have been works by Kenneth Grahame, by Algernon Blackwood, by J.L. Borges. Inspirations of sensual thresholds, of emotion, of intellect, of design, of beauty, of spirit, of existential uncertainty, of connecting essence, of source, of…

In The 23 Club, Erik Chalmers, a landscape architect, follows his obsession to build beautiful and captivating gardens in strange places…this time to the Empty Quarter in the Arabian Peninsula. On his way, he stops over in Bahrain and, in a kismet moment, bumps into an old friend, Jean-Claude Thibaut.

Jean-Claude Thibaut, an ethnobotanist, was born in the Belgian Congo and had built his career around exploring ‘borderline’ human cultures, Bedu, Gypsies, Berbers and their interactions with plants and landscapes. Erik finds out that Jean-Claude had recently been to the Empty Quarter to advise an Emirati on his masters thesis–a study of how people from the Liwa Oasis traditionally used plants in their extremely arid sand desert environment.

In the following 4 minute sound clip, Jean-Claude explains some of the unmappable experiences he had during his nine months driving everyday from Abu Dhabi to the Liwa Oasis, in the heart of the Empty Quarter–the very location of Erik’s new Liwa Qsar project, a five star resort destination series of courtyard gardens.

Then there is another facet to these landscape stories. They are fiction, but they use geography, history and botany to give the stories some ‘real life’ anchors, as in the following three minute clip where Erik Chalmers and Jean-Claude discuss the Spice Route over a plate of biryani at a truck stop in the middle of the ‘almost’ Empty Quarter.

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…inspiration…

…where is it…

Plants: how do they inspire you?
Please answer that question because on the last day of this International Authors’ Day Blog Hop, I will randomly select a winner to receive The 23 Club, Beta 6, a free giveaway for your reading enjoyment.

International Authors’ Day

International Authors' DayBetween 14-18 July 2015, on each day, I will be making a post in celebration of International Authors’ Day, featuring reviews of works by Kenneth Grahame, J.L. Borges and Algernon Blackwood, authors whose works have been formative inspirations for me.

These posts will be made as part of a Blog Hop as can be seen and visited through the links at the bottom of each post.

Also at the bottom of each post please find the giveaway question:

Plants: how do they inspire you?

Please answer that question in the comments section. On the last day of this International Authors’ Day Blog Hop, I will randomly select a winner to receive The 23 Club, Beta 6, a free giveaway for your reading enjoyment

Landscape Story–what is it?

14July 2015

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On Ecology–Kenneth Grahame

15July2015

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Landscape Mysteries–Algernon Blackwood

16July2015

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Existential Garden Visits–JL Borges

17July2015

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The 23 Club, Beta 6 Giveaway

18July2015

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In The 23 Club, Erik Chalmers, a landscape architect, follows his obsession to build beautiful and captivating gardens--this time to The Empty Quarter.

In The 23 Club, Erik Chalmers, a landscape architect, follows his obsession to build beautiful and captivating gardens–this time to The Empty Quarter.

Humans Need Not Apply

And then, what?

Easy, humans will have more time in the landscape, in gardens, with plants, exploring, asking… Older, forgotten knowledge, accessible via plants, will be re-learned.

And what have we forgotten? Perhaps you will share with me?

PS And maybe we will have enough time to have measured discussion on…say… the difference between a republic and democracy, or…how to balance individual freedom with personal, local and national security? 😉 But what does that have to do with plants?