Friday, September 30, 2016

Chinese Pavilion, Brussels, Belgium

Near the royal palace on the outskirts of Brussels, there are a pair of curious and rather out-of-place buildings, built to satisfy the their king's enthusiasm for Asia in the early 20th century.  The Chinese Pavilion has a beautiful intricacy, but also appears rather run-down and self-conscious in its Orientalism.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tintin Rocket, Brussels, Belgium

I've mostly fallen out of love with the Tintin books (whose author was Belgian) as I've grown up and seen how nastily racist they generally are, but I still found a thrill of nostalgia on encountering this model of the moon rocket from the books in the airport.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

ULB Building, Brussels, Belgium

The conference I was attending was in a building at the Free University of Brussels, with some lovely stark angles and greyscale.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Street in Northwest Brussels, Belgium

European cities and streets after typically much denser than their American counterparts, even out at their not-so-picturesque edges.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Atomium, Brussels, Belgium

Another view of the beautiful madness of the Atomium, focusing on the lattice structure at its heart.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Atomium, Brussels, Belgium

Another view of the beautiful madness of the Atomium, bringing out the vertiginous way in which it can loom over an onlooker.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Leopold I Monument, Brussels, Belgium

On a quieter side of the park near the Atomium, this intricate monument to Belgium's royal family stands peacefully at the top of a small hill, surrounded by benches and shady trees.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Atomium, Brussels, Belgium

The Atomium is my favorite piece of kitschy weirdness in Brussels: a leftover from a worlds fair, its tilted cubical geometry remains as the most visible landmark of the city.  Going up and around through the tubes and spheres of its structure is a wonderful tour of one of the futures envisioned in our past.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Chalet Robinson in Bois de la Cambre, Brussels, Belgium

One of the intriguing inclusions into the Bois de la Cambre parklands on the South of Brussels is the "Chalet Robinson," a fancy restaurant dominating a small island in the most algae-clogged lake that I have ever seen.  On the far side, semi-automated boats sail placidly back and forth.  It looks like a nice enough place, but the whole thing just feels like a knock-off of Le Chalet des Iles in the Bois du Buologne in Paris.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bois de la Cambre, Brussels, Belgium

On the South side of Brussels, a forest opens up, the Bois de la Cambre.  Also apparently referred to as "the lungs of the city," this is a tame European forest, not an American wilderness, but beautiful nonetheless, and easy deep green space where you can walk for miles on a network of well-maintained trails.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Roof window in Durham Castle, Durham, UK

Inside of Durham Castle, looking up the wide open center of a dark stairwell at dusk.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Durham Castle, Durham, UK

In the center of Durham College, one of the oldest in England, stands Durham Castle, once a bastion of Norman power and now the most picturesque and historical dormitory that I know.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Grooved hayfields, Scotland

Black grooves down the center of these fields are, I believe, the tracks of the machines that last tended them.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Shadow of a House, Edinburgh, Scotland

Once, here, it appears there was a house.  Now it is but a shadow that the demolition and construction teams did not quite scrape off the neighboring building to which it had adhered.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hills lurking over Edinburgh, Scotland

Just to the East of the city center, Holyrood Park rises high above Edinburgh, covered on a nice day with walkers making their way up the road curving along its cliffs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Owls of Law, Edinburgh, Scotland

For some reason completely obscure to me, the Scottish Law Commission has these owls hovering above the lintel of their doorway.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Space Invader, Newcastle, UK

Sometimes, if you look carefully, you will discover hidden works of guerrilla art. I particularly appreciate the works of Invader, who makes my world a little more surreal whenever I encounter their little hidden bonuses. Here, I've captured what turned out to be the work "NCL_O8" by this prolific street artist.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sage Gateshead, Newcastle, UK

From across the river, the blobby form of the Sage Gateshead performance center is revealed, not quite so wild as it can look up close, but an interesting modern counterpart to its nearby sober neighbors.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sage Gateshead, Newcastle, UK

Another trippy view of the Sage Gateshead performance center, this one up into the layers of the interior from below.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Love locks, Newcastle, UK

The love lock phenomenon continues to intrigue and inspire me.  For example, how do couples know that the right place to go in Newcastle is one particular triangular window-grating of the High Level Bridge, and apparently no other location in the whole town?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Inspirational graffiti, Newcastle, UK

Graffiti like this tells me a story, even if often a completely unknown and inscrutable one.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

BALTIC, Newcastle, UK

Once an abandoned relic of industry, the great multi-story hulk of the Baltic Flour Mill has been repurposed into a trendy art museum with an elegant restaurant on top.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lighthouse on bridge, Newcastle, UK

This peculiar lighthouse structure is perched in the middle of one of the bridges of Newcastle.  I have no idea whether it is functional or decorative, but the stairs up to it suggest that it was at least at one point a functional lighthouse, placed for some reason on a bridge in the middle of a relatively narrow river.  For what reason, though, I cannot imagine.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sketchy docks, Newcastle, UK

Another of the seriously unsound-looking dock constructions in the middle of the river in Newcastle.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sketchy docks, Newcastle, UK

In the middle of the river in Newcastle are a collection of old docks and pilings, some that seem well maintained and others, well, anything but.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Great North Run, Newcastle, UK

I assume the words have something to do with the fleets of joggers that I saw crossing this bridge.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Great War Bench, Newcastle, UK

Down by the river in Newcastle, this quiet bench commemorates the First World War in sad, stark silhouettes.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Inquisitive cow on Town Moor, Newcastle, UK

One of the things that always surprises me, out walking in the UK, is how livestock and people are expected to simply co-exist and share the public paths and parklands. This essentially never happens in the United States, and I wonder if it is a cultural hangover from the conflicts in this country of homesteaders vs. free-range ranchers in the 19th century.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Neptune on the roofline, Newcastle, UK

On a roof above the banks of the river Tyne, Neptune watches sternly, apparently concerned about the estuarial doings before him.