Cities of Kings

Cities_Of_Kings_Cover_2a.225x225-75I have to admit to being a little nervous when I was approached recently for my views on the above book, Cities of Kings.  I have followed Bespoke Traveller for quite some time and didn’t want to spoil a good friendship.  I needn’t have worried. Atreyee Gupta and Jesse Japitana have done a great job.  Their passion and enthusiasm for architecture and history transmits readily to this self-publication, and I am delighted to be able to heartily recommend it.

London is a city which captured my imagination as a girl, and it has never really let it go.  I visit infrequently these days, but when I do it conjures the same excitement and sense of pride I felt back then.  I delight in the architecture, old and new, and in that skyline, pierced anew by gravity-defying creations.

With Paris, I have only a fleeting acquaintance.  That same starry-eyed girl boarded a plane and wandered the banks of the Seine with the same enthusiasm she had bestowed on the Thames.  Sadly, I have never been back, but reading Cities and Kings I feel the need to return more than ever.

St. Paul's Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge- courtesy of Mike Bradley

St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge- courtesy of Mike Bradley

In the book the two cities are compared and contrasted and their architectural histories told.  Detailed photographs accompany the text, and I learnt many little intriguing facts.  I hadn’t realised how ignorant I was of parts of my own history! The stories of the kings and queens and their passions are expertly woven into the fabric of London and Paris.

I love it when enthusiasm for a subject shines through as it does here.  I don’t want to reveal too much and spoil a good read, but you can be sure that you will be taken to The Tower, and stroll in the gardens of Hampton Court.  In Paris, I particularly enjoyed my visit to the Louvre, and to the lesser known area of La Defense.

The book is concluded with a practical section on visiting and getting around in the twin cities.  All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read.  You can purchase the book on Amazon Kindle or at the Apple iBookstore.  I think it would make a rather good Christmas present.

Meantime I’m thinking that Paris would make a fine destination for our Silver Wedding next August.  What do you think?

Six word Saturday

6ws-participating-in-bannerBarcelona- a feast for the senses!

You knew I'd get there, didn't you?

You knew I’d get there, didn’t you? Fabulous Casa Batllo!

I’ve been overwhelmed by all your birthday messages and good wishes, and would simply like to say thank you to my wonderful blogging friends.  I will be slow getting back to you as I have a zillion things to do and 600+ photos to sort through.  I just wanted to let you know that Barcelona fully lived up to expectations, and to share a few thoughts.

I've never seen anything more beautiful than Parc Guell!

I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than Parc Guell!

Or heard anything more noisy than these geese gaggling!

Or heard anything more noisy than the geese, gaggling at the Cathedral!

Or been more surprised by a hospital!

Or been more surprised by a hospital!

Or loved detail more!

Or loved detail more!

And patriotism!

With a dash of patriotism!

Or loved Christmas decorations more, even before they've been lit!

Or loved Christmas decorations more, even before they’ve been lit!

Or taken a more wonky photograph in a famous loo!

Or taken a more wonky photograph in a famous loo!

Or loved a theatre more!

Or loved a theatre more!

Or climbed more steps!

Or climbed more steps!

Or seen more boats!

Or seen more boats!

And definitely not bigger or more smiley boats!

And definitely not bigger or more smiley boats!

But you know what the finale is, don’t you?  Never have I been more in awe of a piece of architecture!  It is magnificent!

The Basilica of Sagrada Familia

The Basilica of Sagrada Familia

Expect to be bored lots more in the coming days!  I had the BEST time.

Thanks as always to Cate for letting me abuse Six word Saturday.  The links or header will take you there to join in the fun.


Sunday Post : Architecture

Architecture : what a huge subject that is!  It’s Jakesprinter’s theme for this weeks Sunday Post, and already I’m struggling!  I mean, how many of you know a song with “architecture” in the title?  The following will be a silent, contemplative post.

What does architecture do for us?  Shelters us, gives us a place to work, to be educated, to worship, to shop.  It enables us to cross from one shore to another.  It expresses both our practicality and our creativity.  Formidable, constantly moving on.  Old and new, both are capable of amazing me.

The battlements and reconstructed “old town” in Warsaw- both old and new

The prettiest of patios in Cordoba

The rooftops of Porto

Thatched housing in the north of Madeira

How about a nice place to work?

Wonderfully elaborate Town Hall in Wroclaw

Or to study?

University buildings- Wroclaw wins again!

Starting out at the “smiley” local school

Where would you prefer to worship?

The tiniest of Greek Island churches?

The cathedral in Porto

Or Wroclaw’s Ostrow Tumski- stunningly ornate!

Shopping- as important to some as religion.  There’s no lack of choice here either.

Lello’s amazing book store in Porto

A simple shop in the Polish suburbs

Or a trendy new shopping centre in Warsaw

I can’t choose between these bridges.  Tradition or modernity.  Can you?

The beautiful approach to Cordoba and the incomparable Mesquita

The Infinity Bridge, Stockton-on-Tees

It seems we are only limited by our imagination.  That doesn’t seem to be a problem for Jake.  I was sold from the very first time I saw the flying dragon logo.  Click on it, or any of the links to see his interpretation this week, and maybe join in yourself?

I’ve been amazed already by some of the entries this week: