Liverpool

Liverpool was a really revelation for me, a city which I had closely associated with my favourite band, the Beatles!  And it is obviously  the city’s pride and product of promotion: The Beatles statues are right in the front of the city’s Pier Head(pic.1). Searching around I found some interesting facts about the city such as : During 19th century the wealth of Liverpool exceeded that of London because of the cotton and slavery trade. The status of the city was enhanced by having its  own Whitehall.  It was the registry port of the ship ‘Titanic’. This fact is connected with Adelphi Hotel’s lounge in the city centre which was an imitation of the Titanic lounge (pic.2). The city as a major port and access to the Atlantic trade  has well established communities such as Nordic, Jewish, Greek, German and the oldest Chinese community. In the recent years there is a considerable redevelopment of the city. One of the new buildings, which I found that is fabulously blended with the rest  of historical buildings of the city,  is the Open Eye Gallery constructed by the RCA architects (pic.3). It was a real eye-catching from every corner someone was looking at it (pic.3,4,5).

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Beatles statues at the Pier Head (pic. 1)img_2602

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Open Eye Gallery (pic.3)

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Hanover Street : This small architectural detail (the extended small box room) gives an interesting and entertaining view of the street.

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Mathew street  is one of many tourist attractions related to The Beatles, and the location of Europe’s largest annual free musical festivals.img_2640

The Royal Liver Buildingimg_2651

The China Town.

img_2613Liverpool’s Tate Gallery

At the moment there is the  Liverpool Biennial 2016  which actually finishes today 16 October. The theme of this Biennial explores fictions, stories and histories, taking viewers on a series of voyages through time and space : Ancient Greece, Chinatown, Children’s Children’s Episode, Software, Monuments from the Future and Flashback.

 

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Love in Portofino

 

 

How should I not have fallen for Portofino? Sir Clough Williams Ellis said when he built Portmeiron, Italianate village, in Wales,UK , inspired by Portofino’s beauty. Portofino, as the name indicates in Italian language,  is more than  a fine port of the Italian region of Liguria, its beauty is stunning!

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Driving down from the mountains of Liguria towards its coast someone needs to have real guts because the roads are very narrow with lots of turns and  twists. The picture above is  the only one I managed to take by succeeding for a moment to overcome my horror!img_1686

The same happened along the coast from Rapalo to Portofino, narrow twisted road populated with uncountable number of vespas! Along this road there were the most amazing  Italianate villas perched on the cliffs.  img_1712

The port itself is a tourist resort mainly for rich Americans arriving with their super yachts. Somehow I felt that the talented Mr. Ripley will make his appearance through the crowd.

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Portofino is beauty by itself but I had the same feeling as in Venice :  the buildings are going to collapse from moment to moment. The recession in Italy is going from strength to strength, for long time now, without showing any sign of recovery.  For that reason, it is worth  visiting  this part of  the Italian Riviera in the near future!

Key West

T.S. Elliot writes in his poem ‘ The Waste Land’ that April is the cruellest month but I’m quite sure that he disregarded the dark days of January  after Christmas and New Year  that all the perks such as vacation and salary seem quite in the distant future. All the big fun has already finished and you have to carry on with your working life until the next big event!

Taking into the consideration all the above, I decided to create Foucault’s Heterotopia (other places in the world that are misaligned with respect to normal or everyday space) and post some pictures from my -so much fun- trip to Key West – the southernmost island of the USA before sailing towards Havana.

Key West has plenty of history and I have singled out some interesting points in its history (wikipedia)

During colonial and pre colonial times, Spaniards and British were interchanging  power in the island and during the Ten Years’ War many Cubans sought refuge in Key West.

In 1889 it was the largest and wealthiest city in Florida and John F. Kennedy was to use “90 miles from Cuba” extensively in his speeches against F. Castro.

Prior to the Cuban Revolution of 1959, there were regular ferry and airplane services between Key West and Havana(Wikipedia).

At the moment, there are airplane services from Key West to Havana.

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The Key West History Museum

 

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Duval Street. The most famous street of Key West

 

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The oldest house in Key West

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Ernest Hemingway’s House

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Happy New Year to all friends of this blog!

Καλή Χρονιά σε όλους τους φίλους αυτού του blog!

 

Miami Art Deco

The idea for this post has been triggered by the recent Art Basel Miami Beach art fair that it’s taking place at the moment (3-6 Dec.)  at South Beach, Miami’s fabulous art deco district.  Travis Cohen writes about South Beach that  “it  was reborn in Art Deco. After the vicious hurricane of September 1926, which utterly razed the city, wrought havoc, and left some 400 dead, Miami Beach saw a building boom that lasted the better part of 20 years. That era of rebuilding focused primarily on resurrecting the fledgling resort community in the chic new style that had come out of the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Artes Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which would be shortened simply to ‘Art Deco.'”

I was pleasantly surprised by seeing this beautiful iconic art deco area of Miami and I’m not sure that these photos will depict the real  picture and atmosphere of the South Beach district.

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Ocean Drive, South Beach.

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Ocean Drive.

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Lincoln Road.

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The Church is situated in the middle of the Lincoln road mall.

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Lincoln Road.

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The art deco architecture goes hand in hand with the fabulous Miami pastel hues.

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Lincoln road.

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The beach is fabulous with the white sand!

IMG_6921The famous Miami Beach Broadwalk. It seemed to me that the only concern of those people who were running up and down the Broadwalk in extraordinary fit bodies were ‘how to Jogging properly’!

Miami is fabulous and I think the secret of its recipe is the influence of the Cuban culture. This laid back and friendly atmosphere in an American context is a good combination. The alarming point is that despite this city has red flag concerning the floods there is no precaution about the future and the threats that the global warming poses on these cities, which are a few feet above the sea level!

p.s If you like some more Miami art deco architecture myy friend Despina has done good job on her blog! Enjoy it!

At Ernest Hemingway’s Key West Home

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 It’s common truth that every person when he is exposed to something new tries to bring in his own experience to make sense the new situation he is into. The same happened to me when I stepped into Hemingway’s home in Key West (the island at the far end of the USA  and 90 miles from Cuba). To say the truth,  I didn’t expect that this house  will stir some details of my own personal memories. I remembered the day that my mother  bought – from her cousin, a salesman in a publishing company in Greece – all the series of Hemingway’s books which were leather-bound in red colour with gold letters on the books’ spine and cover.  That time, I was around 16 years old  and I had a vivid memory of my mother lying in her bed and reading one of the book of the series, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”.  Our conversation was about the translation, I believed then that the cause I didn’t enjoy reading this particular title was the translation but my mother had a different opinion and for sure experience, she was  avid reader and she was taking great pleasure by reading it.  This title  among others – “Death in the Afternoon”, “Winner Take Nothing”, “To have and Have Not” –  had been written in this house.  Hemingway with his second wife Pauline have resided for 9 years in this house and he wrote the 70% of all his work.  This impressive Hemingway’s estate  is supposed to be the largest house in town comparing to the relative small houses in Key West.

 

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Hemingway’s House from outside,  at Whitehead Street.

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The entrance

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The stair at the front entrance leads to the bedrooms upstairs.

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One of his magnificent balconies.

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One of the descendant of Hemingway’s cats. Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat,

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Kitchen as it was in Hemingway’s time there.

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One of his living room. Hemingway was avid collector of Spanish furniture of 17th & 18th century.

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Pauline’s boudoir.

Hemingway’s studio where he was working everyday from 9-12 pm.

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His typewriter.  “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed” Hemingway.

 

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One of the corner of his studio. Above his armchair and below his desk.

IMG_7318The swimming pool where all the parties were taking place. Pauline was the best party’s organizer according to the curator of the House.

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His third wife Marthe Cellhorn (Cuba years)                                                                                                 Hemingway’s books

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The first wife Hadley Richardson (The Paris year) and his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer (Key West Years).

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Whitehead street and below is the old lighthouse as a view from Hemingway’s house.

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Below one of the small house in Hemingway’s neighborhood.IMG_7077

Visiting Hemingway’s house in Key West was one my finest days in this beautiful  island. I had the impression that  is the Cuban influence that gives such a vibrant colour not only to this American island but to the whole area including Miami.

The website of the house is http://www.hemingwayhome.com/.

p.s One of his book about Paris!

12241552_997162850345433_4712333655832055710_n“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Deauville in the movies

Belle Epoque and Deauville are two words chained together.  Someone who visits Deauville can feel strongly the joie de vivre of this era. The magnificent architecture of the houses, the well maintained  Promenade des Planches for big walks along the beach and the fact that the beach closets named after the Hollywood stars – a landmark for recognising the place as the setting for the film “Un Homme and Une Femme” by Claude Lelouch – show the prosperity of the place and the reason why the creative people used it as a setting of their work. For quite a long time, I had a very vivid memory of Jean Louis Trintignant’s racing car speeding on a huge sandy beach, somewhere in France, and meeting up with Anouk Aimee. That time, I was quite young and didn’t question about the name of the place,  only later in life  when I saw  “Private Lives” by Noel Coward in the theatre, I kept in my mind the name.  Deauville was the resort for the  international bourgeoisie of that time and it was connected to major European cities with fast trains. It was really well maintained place for  leisure and the   two main casinos in the area  kept entertaining the bourgeoisie. The Casino in Deauville was the original Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. Deauville was the setting of the film “Coco before Chanel” with Audrey Tatou and the birthplace of Chanel’s Clothing career. As well as, the town has been mentioned in one of the chapters of  Proust’s in Search of Lost Time.

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Le Promenade des Planches: The beach closets dedicated to the stars of Hollywood.

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Deauville Corniche.

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Deauville’s Townhall.

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Deauville beach.

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Casino Royale, Deauville

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Mansions along the beach of Trouville.IMG_4962

 

 

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A library at the Plage of Deauville.

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Shopping  in Trouville is a totally different experience from Deauville.

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A view of Trouville from the boat.

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Deauville has kept its international profile by hosting the American Film Festival and each year troops of celebrities come to visit the resort. Perhaps, Deauville’s  aura is due to the myth and exclusivity that stills offers to its residents.

For cinephiles and bookworms places like Deauville are a bonus for reviving our imagination even further. Somehow, it works as historical archaeological sites of the modern times!

Amsterdam : New Hype Sightseeing

If someone was asking me which is my favourite city in Europe, the answer would be Amsterdam. The reason is simple and straightforward, it’s a humane city with all the weaknesses and strengths that this characteristic entails.

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In Amsterdam at the moment, there are some new sightseeing  and if someone wants to be and feel  cool , he/she must visit them.

The new Anna Frank Museum is at the top of the list, taking into consideration the two new books, the new museum and the upcoming new film. Average waiting time, one and half hours in the queue. Not too bad!

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Some years ago  AF  museum was located in the High Street, now in the same premise is  the museum of Amsterdam . (Pic. above).

 

P1100074Rijksmuseum entrance – restaurant and shop.

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Night Watch by Rembrandt.

Rijsksmuseum : The building’s refurbishment is super with first class restaurant-quality and service deserve many stars. The art exhibition  is unique from Vermeer to Rembrandt and the coolest thing is that you can take photos of anything you like! You can take pictures of Rembrandt’s Night Watch and make it yours! How cool is that?

For coffee or lunch,  my old-time favourite  “Cafe Americain” at Leidseplein is a constant value.

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Tilting buildings.P1100149

The area with the canals  including the Vondelpark are the most expensive properties.

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And the new hype in town is the new self-service of hot food. I think this is super idea! No talking, no queues, no waiting, just the right coins and there you are, with a sausage or croquettes in your hands.

When I’m talking about Amsterdam for some reason comes to my mind the lyrics of the song “A windmill in Old Amsterdam” –

-They sang every morning, “How lucky we are
-Living in a windmill in Amsterdam, ya!”

IMG_5884“In the month of July” by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel – Rijksmuseum

And don’t forget to buy the  hype memorabilia:

If you are collector, like me, the Starbuck city mug.

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and the delft porcelain Christmas ornaments.

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Christmas is coming!