Travel Ahh… Temple “Tufts,” “Curls” and Pagoda Points

kyoto pagodas at night

Kyoto, Japan 

Asia (Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia) 

One of the reasons I love Asia so much is because of the architecture — particularly when talking about temples and pagodas. Part of it is the atmosphere created by the devoted, everyday individuals and families who come to worship. I appreciate the sense of calm that pervades along with the burning incense, circling and wafting up to the temple ceilings and then on up to the skies. But also, I really love the tufts, curls and points of the building edges, sides and roofs. I’m sure there are probably more technical terms for these elements of the designs, but the soft, almost dreamy, connotations of “tufts” and “curls” seem quite fitting.

Vietnam (Cham Island, Hoi An)

Indonesia (Bali)

Japan (Kyoto, Osaka)

Vietnam (Hoi An)

Vietnam (Hue) 

Vietnam (Hanoi)

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Gimme Shelter — Or Something to Lean On

© Stephanie Glaser 2012

Salida, Colorado, USA. This is a classic, highly photographed scene in the small mountain town. The old school kayaks against an aging brick wall of a local building are postcard ready. Located along the Arkansas River, Salida, is a boating town (river rafting and kayaking), so this is a fitting image.

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The Travel Ahh…Rooftops

© Stephanie Glaser

Rooftops have always captured my attention like these in Florence, Italy (above). Maybe it’s the expression “a roof over your head.” Perhaps it’s that you know underneath is a home or business. A rooftop represents not only shelter, but people to me.

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Gimme Shelter — How about a Castle in Visegrád, Hungary?

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

Visegrád, Hungary, 2006. For a wedding setting, it’s hard to beat a medieval castle and citadel built in the 13th century on a high hill above the Danube River. My friend Rob and his Hungarian fiance, Kate, got married here. Most of the wedding took place at the citadel. The crumbling walls added an ancient feeling to the ceremony. At one point, Visegrád was the royal seat of Hungary, and the castle was King Matthias Corvinus’s summer abode in the earlier 1300’s.

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Gimme Shelter — Colorful Colorado Mountain Community

© Stephanie Glaser

Crested Butte, CO. Although the silver and coal miners didn’t pick the pretty colors, they built some cute buildings back in the day. (And, surely, they referred to them as “cute.”) Colorado mining towns make me smile. Their historic districts, many of which have been restored, offer nostalgia and postcard ready photos.

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Gimme Shelter — In a Gaudí, Please

© Stephanie Glaser 1995

Dr. Suess. That was my first thought when I saw Antoni Gaudí’s buildings in Barcelona for the first time — especially Casa Batlló (above). After seeing Gaudí’s creations, I started paying more attention to architecture. These marvelous structures capture imagination. I love them. They also capture memories — especially the special cathedral, La Sagrada Família, which reminds me a drip castle that you can make at the beach by letting wet sand dribble from your hands into a pile. 

All three buildings featured in these photos are part of Gaudí’s works listed as World UNESCO Heritage Sites.

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Gimme Shelter — The “Bonsai Tree” Temple in Bali

© Stephanie Glaser

Pura Taman Ayun Temple — or the Royal Temple of Mengwi in Bali, has structures that remind me of neatly groomed bonsai trees. I realize that does not sound technical, but who wants to sound technical when talking about such a spiritual and serene place? Balinese Hindu Temples have a calming effect — especially since the settings for many of these religious sites involve water. This beautiful open-air temple complex includes a moat, garden, terraced courtyards and holy shrines.

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Gimme Shelter — Enchanting Medieval Buildings and Swans, Too?!

© Stephanie Glaser

Just to clarify, I did not put the swans in the canal for this shot. They swam into view just to prove what a fairytale setting Bruges/Brugge really is.  I don’t use adjectives like “charming” and “enchanting,” but you really have no choice when talking about this beautiful medieval Belgian city.  It is charming and enchanting —  however, maybe not as “happily ever after” when it was the setting for the 2008 film “In Bruges” with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Actually, it was still enchanting even in the dark comedy.

© Stephanie Glaser

A dove — seriously? This town won’t quit with the “happily ever after.” © Stephanie Glaser

Gimme Shelter — Cool Structures: Can I rent a Rubik’s Cube?

© Stephanie Glaser

These cool buildings are in Rotterdam. I came across them while I was updating a chapter on The Netherlands for a travel guide in 1995.  Known as “Kubuswoningen,” this neighborhood of cube houses, designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom, definitely are a tourist attraction.

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Gimme Shelter — Cool Structures and Statues

© Edward Schuck

Travel Oops is introducing another new feature — it’s not actually about Oopses, either. I wanted to include photos of architecture in the blog, since buildings can be such beautiful sights. So here’s the first cool building to feature: Uspens ky Assumption Cathedral Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, in Kiev Ukraine.

This is one of the many gorgeous cathedrals in Kiev. The golden onions are so striking especially against a vivid blue sky. Because of seeing so many 1980s movies with Soviet villains and sinister settings, I was constantly amazed at the beautiful colors I saw in Kiev when I visited in 2006. You almost go there with the impression everything will be grey, steel, cement and dark. Or course there were the Soviet cinderblock buildings, but the wonderful sensory details are so prominent in Ukraine.