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mosaic road
Melbourne, Australia
Recent Activity
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Safi, like so many Moroccan towns is trimmed with bright blue. Shutters, doors, walls, ceilings, porticoes, ledges, arches, all blue. The colour choice is outstanding and I unfailingly love it but why so much blue ? The reasons are four fold it seems. Firstly, the colour is chosen for its anti mosquito properties. I don't know how this actually happens or if it actually happens. What if the humble mozzie is colour blind ? Secondly, the blue in Chefchaouen was said to be introduced in the 1930s by Jewish refugees as it represented heaven and the sky. This blue trend... Continue reading
Posted 4 hours ago at mosaic road
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The medina in Safi dates back to the twelfth century so there are many elements of classic Islamic architecture everywhere including the arch. The arch was used for structural and decorative purposes. These early architects, influenced by the Byzantines, favoured greatly the horseshoe arch but I think the ones I saw in Safi are called ultra-semicircular ( I may well be wrong) !!! They create long arcades through the medina winding in many directions, all enhanced by daubs of blue paint, blue doors and blue sky. Continue reading
Posted 6 hours ago at mosaic road
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I don't on the whole take photos of people's faces in Morocco. It's not particularly respectful or polite and it is intrusive. Yesterday in Safi was a bit different. The charming gentleman with the bunch of lettuce greeted me, quite surprisingly and literally , the second I entered the medina, launching into lengthy introductions in rapid French and we became friends immediately. The second gentleman holding a beautiful platter ( that I bought) was Hachim, a designer and potter that we met in the ceramics cooperative. He is clearly talented and launches a new design line every month. The sweet... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at mosaic road
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Today I went on a day trip to Safi, a big town a good two hours drive from Marrakech. It is not on most itineraries but really that should change as it is well worth visiting. It is the home of amazing ceramic and pottery artisan outlets plus has a big fishing industry meaning fresh seafood for lunch. It is also a main centre for phosphate export and so security around the harbour is really tight . Passports were needed to enter the port area and photography banned. By extreme contrast, the old medina dates back to the 12th century... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at mosaic road
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In 2014 a film was made about the life of Yves St Laurent and a lot of the filming took place in Marrakech and in the Marjorelle Gardens. YSL bought these gardens in 1980 in order to stop them becoming a hotel. He and his partner moved into the villa and then set about making some of the gardens private and the remainder becoming the major public attraction that they are today. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at mosaic road
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I like the city of Melbourne but I don't love it like I love European cities. Melbourne city is full of charmless skyscrapers , roadworks and choking traffic. All cities have problems but the wonderful old European architecture and the gorgeous bursts of floral colour everywhere go a long way to compensating for uglier issues. Amsterdam has pots and baskets of flowers just everywhere enhancing the already stunning canalside houses and buildings. Every time I visit Europe it is this colourful wow factor that casts it's rainbow spell over me ensuring my love affair with the cities, towns and villages... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at mosaic road
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The 12 acres of the Marjorelle Gardens are planted out with endless succulents and cacti. They sit amongst a ground covering of terracotta coloured gravel and are generously spaced out so each can be seen and appreciated as an individual botanical item. Potted plants dot the pathways, the vibrant coloured pots luring the eye. Interesting to know that quite a big team of gardeners, 12 in fact, carry out what must be unending work and maintenance. Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2016 at mosaic road
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And I never tire of it !!! The first time I visited these gardens I just could not stop taking photos and since then, nothing has changed. Every time I am there I am just totally allured by this verdant but prickly garden world. The 12 acre gardens took forty years for the creator Jacques Marjorelle to complete and then they were sold to Yves St Laurent in 1980. How lucky we are to have this landscaped oasis in the middle of the Marrakech mayhem. Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2016 at mosaic road
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I got quite a surprise to find that electric cars share the bike paths in Amsterdam. They beetle along amongst all the cyclists and scooter traffic. I found out that there are at least 559 charging stations in Amsterdam alone for these electric cars . But what is really amazing is that of 2025 the Netherlands has banned the sale of petrol and diesel cars with Amsterdam aiming to be Europe's first emission free city. I can quite see myself in one of these battery cars, maybe in pink with furry dice hanging from the from mirror !! Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2016 at mosaic road
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The canalside Western Church or Westerkerk is the largest church in Amsterdam with incredible views from the 85 metre high bell tower. It is a Protestant church, built in 1619, and seen as the city symbol. Entry is free and you may get a surprise by the modest interior when so many European churches are so richly enhanced. Rembrandt was buried here but was so poor his remains went sadly into an unmarked mass grave. There is a plaque inside the church as a memorial to this great artist. Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2016 at mosaic road
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River barges fascinate me and I have, where possible, sat for a long time just watching them and the other river traffic in many countries. My favourite spots have been in Bangkok and in Campbell River in Canada where so few roads mean that everything including the school bus in for repairs travels by barge. The barges in Amsterdam could barely fit my photo frame and were laden and quite fast moving. Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2016 at mosaic road
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When the sign says No Photos, well it sort of makes me want to get my camera out especially when you are surrounded by such vibrant color and fabric. I went into this hammock shop in Amsterdam and just loved all the swinging chairs and hammocks. It had me measuring up in my mind the size of my balcony but then my thoughts sadly turned to my two, already overstuffed suitcases. Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2016 at mosaic road
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Blue and White ceramic souvenirs overflow out of the stores in the Netherlands. All are to represent the classic blue and white Delftware that has been made for the last three and a half centuries. The Delftware production began in the 17th century when potters started to copy blue and white Ming Dynasty vases, embellished with dragons and flowers. Then when a major Chinese Civil War slowed the original production then the Delftware copies came into their own and were exported everywhere. Delftware thus became a household name and now collectors pay high prices for their original ceramics. Even Vermeer... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2016 at mosaic road
I am sure they are amazing. Next year I am going to see them for sure. Sent from my iPad
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2016 on Cheese and Clogs, part seven at mosaic road
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Although we pair clogs always with Holland this is not entirely accurate. The clog has been worn for well over 800 years in much of Europe and even Britain, usually seen as the footwear of the working class. These original clogs were made from a single woodblock with alder, birch or willow being the preferred wood type. They were worn by both men and women and sometimes they were varnished in black with coloured designs. Very few early examples remain as worn out clogs made excellent firewood. They really have made a bit of an impact and influence our fashion... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2016 at mosaic road
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Every big city seems to have touristic horses and carriages waiting (lurking) to take visitors around the sights of the city, usually at great expense. While I have mixed feelings about horses pulling people in carts , the beautiful draught horses in Delft were clearly looked after very well. They were certainly glossy and robust and as working horses they were up to the task. It's not always thus in Marrakech, where there are almost more caleches than tourists and they can be hailed in the street like a taxi. I worry that these horses have a tough life although... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2016 at mosaic road
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Living in a windmill was one of my childhood dreams followed closely by wishing I lived aboard a house boat. The canals of Amsterdam are fully of moored houseboats used as permanent homes. I really do envy those with a watery address being able to fall asleep with the lapping waters just inches away from their pillow. Houseboat and barge life still seemingly includes patios, pot plants and pets with some boats more glamorous than others. Yes I have been on a cruise ship but I really want to experience life on a barge, moving or moored. No choice, I... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2016 at mosaic road
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So many waterways in the Netherlands means abundant birdlife, even in the cities. The waterbirds I saw in and around both Delft and Amsterdam seemed at ease with city life and people, happily cohabiting. The green surface algae plus the waters would provide great insect eating for them but I do wonder if there are any fish in those slow moving canals ???? Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2016 at mosaic road
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As a child, a windmill was the most romantic thing I could ever imagine seeing. I wanted to live in one, have blonde plaits, wear clogs and pick tulips. Well none of that came to pass !!!! Recently in Amsterdam I went to see this very old chalk mill Krijtmolen d'Admiral, built in in 1792. Although it is working today, no one has lived in it since the 1950s. It has been restored and a volunteer miller makes the sails turn. It is called an octagonal smock windmill with gallery for those who want the specifics and is now the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2016 at mosaic road
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I thought the flower market in Amsterdam would be a riot of floral colour but it's really more a bulb and souvenir market. Maybe it's a seasonal thing. While its called a floating market you enter all the firmly anchored and permanently sited stalls from the street side so no chance of seasickness, not even a wobble. The assortment of bulbs, mainly tulip, was just incredible as was the choice of tulip related souvenirs. I doubt I could take such a plant type thing of any sort even in a sealed tin back into Australia where we have to keep... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2016 at mosaic road
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The people of Amsterdam, like most of Europe, really enjoy their short summer and make the most of it. They truly love and live an out door life with cafes, pubs and bars everywhere. Seating spills out right to the edges of the canals with vast umbrellas providing shade. Floral colour splashes adorn boats, railings, tables and window boxes. I never can get enough of this totally European charm. Boats, both moored and cruising the waterways, are wonderful floating restaurants. Menus are very international but I did spot a lot of gourmet burgers, crispy chips and beer. Touristic prices prevail... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2016 at mosaic road
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Everyday I considered going on this rooftop swing, everyday I found reasons not to do it. The main one being total fear. This swing and panoramic roof deck had only been opened two days before I came to Amsterdam. The A'dam Lookout and 360 Degree Amsterdam Sensationl Swing would be an incredible experience if you are one of those gungho height lovers but I am a self confessed white knuckled nervous nellie where extreme height is involved. Maybe next time !!!!!!! Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2016 at mosaic road
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Tulips and Holland just go hand in hand for me, just like the red poppies of Flanders and the cherry blossoms in Japan. Synonymous. The Dutch tulip season is April and May, in the European springtime. Although I missed this special time, there is no shortage of tulips in the shops. They are very colourful and are wooden or silk and made in China. Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2016 at mosaic road
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Each day in Amsterdam we took the three minute ferry ride across the waterway to Central station and the city. As the pier gets closer the view is of a mass of bikes. Across the country they are lined up or parked (and packed) in tiers. Not surprising, as there are approx 13 million bicycles in the Netherlands, almost one per head of population and about 15,000 of these are fished out of the canals and waterways per year .Talk about finding a needle in a haystack when it was time to go home after a long day at the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2016 at mosaic road
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At this time of year, many of the canals and dykes in the Netherlands are thickly covered with a bright green algae. When I stood by the dyke at the bottom of the Captains Cottage garden, the algae is so mossy and dense that I wondered at first if it was a fake velvety lawn.The ducks love paddling through the green carpet as mosquitoes abound ( the cottage provides a mosquito net to sleep under ). I noticed no smell whatsoever although these waterways can be very still. I think it would be pretty horrible if you fell in !!! Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2016 at mosaic road