One of the first things we did when we arrived in Prague was to set off in search of all things antique and medieval – in other words, we made our way over to the Old Town Square. Anyone who has been to Prague will be able to tell you about the footwear required to be able to deal with those cobblestone streets. (I bought a pair of shoes in Prague and they were some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned! ) Walking towards the square, past bohemian crystal stores and assorted galleries and museums, we felt like we were winding through a labyrinth.
The Royal Exhibition Building was built in 18 months for the purpose of hosting Melbourne’s 1880 International Exhibition, and it then held a subsequent Centennial Exhibition in 1888. Both the building and the surrounding gardens were designed by architect Joseph Reed, and they were inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2004. The building is constructed in the shape of a cross with a majestic central dome, and large archway entrances with fanlight windows on each side. When it was built it was the largest building in Australia and the tallest building in Melbourne.
We had set out on a day trip from Auckland to go and see a thermal village in Rotorua. It’s a bit of a hike, but there were three of us to share the driving so we took the opportunity. About halfway there we ran into some road work and had to go on a detour through the countryside. As we were driving along we were all thinking to ourselves about how much it looked like the scenery from the Hobbit movie. One of us wondered out loud and then we all said we had been thinking the same thing. So we did a quick search on Google and found out that we were, in fact, very close to the movie set! Since we had no pressing deadlines to meet (the absolute bliss of being on holidays) we changed course and stopped in for a visit at the movie set in Matamata in New Zealand, to see what we could see.
As I was walking around the city of Perth, admiring the buildings, I glanced down a laneway and a burst of colour at the end caught my attention. I went back to the laneway, later on, curious to see what it was. To my surprise, many of the walls of the buildings in the lane had interesting pieces painted on them. What a find, and completely by chance, which made it so much fun to see!
Many cities are now embracing the street art culture and providing spaces – legal walls – where street artists can create their works. Street artists have their own style, some of them becoming independently famous, who are then commissioned for legal murals and works.
When you hear the word “Santorini”, images instantly comes to mind. Cascading whitewashed buildings with perfectly sculpted walls and arches decorating the inside edge of the crater of an active, though presently dormant volcano. Views out over the Mediterranean blue of the mostly underwater caldera. When you arrive by water you are cruising across the inside of the volcano.
The Hotham Valley Railway at Dwellingup is a place that you can go to experience what rail travel was like in the golden age of steam. The team of volunteers work hard to give you an enjoyable day out. The town of Dwellingup is a 40 minute drive from Mandurah, Western Australia.