Wednesday Wandering…

It’s Wednesday again.

This is usually the time of the week when I go on a Wander. However, this week I’ve not had the chance to do my usual hunt for photos and research, despite (or perhaps because of) being out for a wander yesterday.

My Wednesday Wander posts take a bit of work. I enjoy doing them, and haven’t yet run out of places to feature. However, I’ve had a couple of books take me by the throat and demand I write them, so this year my focus will have to shift slightly when it comes to writing.

I do have more travel booked, a holiday planned for April to somewhere I’ve not been before, so I will definitely be writing more Wanders. However, they may not be every week – I hope you don’t mind.

I thought I’d take a look back and see how many Wanders I’ve written since the first post in November 2015, and was surprised to see there are 92! So, if you’re feeling that you might need a bit of a travel fix, there are 92 destinations right here on this blog, from Paris to Morocco, California to Wales. I even went to Dragonstone last year (though the Targaryens weren’t in, sadly). Just search Wednesday Wander, and you’ll see them all.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering (wandering?), my most popular post, based upon the amount of comments and likes, was to a place not far from where I live. Highgate Cemetery, London, is the most popular Wander I’ve written to date – hop on over and check it out, if you haven’t already.

Thanks for coming on so many Wednesday Wanders with me – see you next time!


Enjoyed this post? Want to read more? Find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, Under Stone (Ambeth Chronicles #4), is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

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Wednesday Wander – California Dreaming

It’s a short Wednesday Wander this week. The sickness bug has returned and taken over the entire household, all of us wandering around miserably, wishing it would go away. We live inland now, quite far from the ocean, and I do notice the difference in that things seem to linger, no fresh breezes or salt air sweeping through to clear away the sickness miasma.

And so my mind has wandered. To a place where the air is balmy, fresh with salt and Pacific breezes sweeping off a blue ocean. Where palm trees dance and seafood is served crisp and hot, fresh from the boats.

These shots were all taken the day we arrived in San Francisco just over two years ago, after a week spent in Vancouver and Seattle. We were about to start the next leg of our journey, heading down the California coast for my brother’s wedding.

We’d arrived, weary after a whirwind week, but excited to meet up with the rest of the family, who were flying in later that day. We checked into our hotel, then went to find food, a local restaurant offering excellent coconut prawns and a water view the perfect antidote to the bustle of airports and luggage and taxis, setting the scene for a wonderful week to come.

And it was my favourite time of day, as well. Sunset, the sky and sea reflections of each other, colours blending above and below. As we strolled back along the water to our hotel, I remember the feeling of warmth, within and without, and of happiness to be somewhere so wonderful with my favourite people in the world.

So, as I feel so rotten this week, I’ve decided to wander back there again. Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!


If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

Wednesday Wander – Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Hello, everyone. I’ve been on a few wanders of late, most recently a trip up to Scotland for a Silent Eye weekend, a trip I’m still processing before writing it up on here. So this week I’ve decided to wander to a place I visited a few weeks earlier – the spectacular Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

The first sight of the Museum is a moment of wonder, the kind you get when seeing iconic structures such as the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the first time. It is an instant of disconnect, when you wonder whether what you’re seeing is real. Perched on the edge of the river running through Bilbao, the building seems almost to float upon the water, like a magical ship or giant sea creature, metallic scales reflecting the sky.

A museum of modern and contemporary art, the Guggenheim was designed by the architect Frank Gehry, known for his unique vision. When you come into Bilbao from the east, as we did, the Museum is one of the first things you see, a tumbled cluster of gleaming shapes on the curving edge of the river.

The museum was inaugurated almost exactly twenty years ago, on October 18th 1997. Prior to that, the riverbank was an industrial area, home to piles of curving steel and machinery, said to have partly influenced Gehry’s design. The architect said that ‘the randomness of the curves are designed to catch the light’ and they certainly do so, reflecting light and water and shade so that the angles constantly change, each step as you move around the building revealing a different viewpoint.

I particularly liked how the walkway and reflecting pool are positioned to look, from some angles, as though the river runs up to the edge of the building. I also like the red archway that sits astride the road into Bilbao, bringing you immediately into the design.

When we visited, there was a huge dog sculpture covered in real flowers at the front of the building, which we all loved. The spider sculpture, visible at the bottom right of my photo, is permanent and seems to be a popular image associated with the museum, if the tourist trinkets for sale nearby were any indication. Personally, I’m not a fan of spiders, especially huge ones like that!

This is not my first Gehry – I visited the EMP in Seattle a couple of years ago, and also saw El Peix, a fish-shaped canopy on the beachfront in Barcelona. Like most of Gehry’s works, the Guggenheim is impressive, extraordinary in its complexity. We spent ages just walking around the outside, taking in the shapes, wondering at the mind that could create such wonders.

Gehry’s style of architecture has been described as ‘desconstructivism’ though Gehry himself says he does not associate with that movement. Post-modern it certainly is, form without any other function than to catch the light and beguile the eye. Clad in titanium, at times it appears silver, and at others gold. Extraordinarily for a building of this type, the Guggenheim was completed on time and on budget.

Overall, it was a spectacular building to see and experience. I took loads of photos, as you can imagine, and these are some of the ones I liked the most. Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me! See you next time.


If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

 

Wednesday Wander – Space Needle, Seattle

This week I’m wandering to the Pacific Northwest, and one of the most recognisable landmarks in that area. This is the Seattle Space Needle.

Built for the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, the Needle was designed to withstand strong earthquakes and winds of up to 200mph, though I wouldn’t like to be up there during either of those events! The ‘saucer’ portion of the tower is home to an observation deck and the Skycity restaurant, accessed by an elevator, or, if you’re feeling particularly energetic, a staircase with 848 steps. The Needle boasts panoramic views of the beautiful coastline and mountains, as well as being next to the excellent EMP (which I wandered to in another post) – however, I didn’t ascend the Needle when I was there. I’m not a huge fan of heights and have been up the similar CN Tower in Toronto several times. Instead, I was content to admire it from below.

The Seattle Space Needle has of course been featured in many films and TV series, including Frasier, where it was even part of the opening credits, and of course Sleepless in Seattle. It’s also appeared in Grey’s Anatomy, The Simpsons, and the Twilight films, just to name a few – small wonder it was designated an historic landmark in 1999.

I think what I like about the Needle is that it, and the nearby monorail, were built at a time when this sort of architecture was a vision for the future. Space travel was in its infancy, the world still recovering from the horrors of war just a decade or so earlier. This new style represented a shining future, a new way of thinking. And the design still holds up, still looks modern, even next to the extraordinary undulating curves of the nearby EMP.

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!


f you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

Wednesday Wander – EMP, Seattle: Part II

Last week I wandered to the EMP Museum in Seattle, a Frank O. Gehry architectural masterpiece. My post featured images of the exterior – however, several commenters expressed an interest in what lay inside, so I thought this week I’d wander through the doors and share some photographs of the interior.

IMG_0271 This was a giant interactive sculpture made of musical instruments, about three storeys tall.

IMG_0262 Inside the Fantasy section of the museum, dragon scaled and full of amazing items. I could have spent the whole day just in this section. Notice Buttercup’s wedding gown, Humperdinck’s outfit and Westley’s Dread Pirate Roberts ensemble in the display case at the back, courtesy of the classic movie, The Princess Bride.

IMG_0279 Some of the interior shapes and spaces were as mind bogglingly intricate as the exterior. This is in one of the central atriums, looking up.

IMG_0259 Gimli’s axe, Sting, and Aragorn’s sword, all from the Lord of The Rings films. A real ‘squee’ moment for me and my daughter.

I hope you enjoyed my Wednesday Wander this week – see you next time!

Wednesday Wander – EMP, Seattle, USA

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The EMP Museum in Seattle, Washington was designed by renowned architect Frank O. Gehry and is a wonderful example of his singular design style. Wrapped in undulating metal panels, the colours and shapes were inspired by electric guitars, which Gehry took apart and reassembled as part of the initial design process. Every angle of the building shows a different aspect, each section flowing into the next in a complex arrangement of texture and light.

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I would recommend visiting the EMP for the architecture alone – however, the Museum is devoted to Music, Sci-Fi and Popular culture, so I was completely hooked. We spent the best part of a day in there – I could have spent hours just in the Fantasy section – and we all got to see things that inspired us, from Aragorn’s sword to Jimi Hendrix’s guitar.

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Then we sat outside and watched the colours on the building change as the gorgeous girl played in the playground, before catching the monorail back towards our hotel. Quite a Jetsons sort of a day, really!

Thank you for coming with me on another Wednesday Wander – see you next time!

Wednesday Wander – Pike Place Market, Seattle

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It’s time for my Wednesday Wander and this week it’s to Pike Place Market in Seattle. I took this photo in the early evening, just after we arrived. The rain had cleared and our hotel was only a few blocks from the market, so we wandered down in search of dinner. As it was late, there were only a few people at the market and many of the stalls were packed up for the day, so I was able to get this shot from one of the halls looking out over Elliot Bay.

Seattle is a fairly young city, only 150 or so years old, and there is a vibrancy to the art and streets and music. Yet underneath it all there seems to be a green darkness, as though the forest that covered the shores for millennia is just waiting to come back and reclaim the land…

This view, framed like a picture by the window, seemed to capture this thought. A glimpse of what was, surrounded by what is.

So where did your wandering take you this week? Join the Wednesday Wander and let me know 🙂