Jacek Proniewicz travel blog

picture and movies from my travel

Posts from the ‘architecture’ category

Shorncliffe Pier,Queensland Australia

Shorncliffe Pier is a historic pier in Shorncliffe, Queensland, Australia, situated near Saint Patrick’s College and lower Moora Park. The pier with its white faded timber railings, colonial street lamps spaced out along the stretch of pier, and resting shelter towards the end was a much visited attraction for families, residents and tourists to the area. Reaching 351.5 metres out into Bramble Bay it is the largest timber pier in Brisbane and one of the longest recreational piers in Australia. The renewed pier was reopened to the public in March 2016

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Glenorchy and Skipper Canyon,New Zelland 

Glenorchy, a true slice of New Zealand paradise, sits a spectacular 45-minute drive northwest of Queenstown at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu.Surrounded by magnificent snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes and rivers, ancient beech forests and at the edge of Mount Aspiring and Fiordland national parks, the frontier town of Glenorchy has provided the backdrop for many films, including The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. There are a range of accommodation options as well as numerous activities that will get you out into the great outdoors for which this area is famous. There are also food and beverage options, a new camp ground and general store and a friendly community.

.The nearby settlements of Kinloch and Paradise are also known for their stunning scenery and tranquil setting. The area is also the gateway to several world-famous multi-day hikes including the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. For walks closer to town, there are well-graded walkways that lead to points of interest including the Glenorchy Walkway, Whakaari Conservation Area and Mt Judah, where the remains of scheelite mines can be found.

Explore Glenorchy’s natural beauty
There are a number of exciting ways you can explore the beauty of this pristine area. Take the sites in by horseback and ride through braided rivers, native forests and across open fields. By water you can journey into the heart of glacier country with a jetboat, canoe or kayak. Take a stunning scenic flight into unexplored wilderness or experience the thrill of a skydive over landscapes that have remained untouched for centuries. Or grab a backpack and hiking boots and use Glenorchy as a base for one of the many spectacular walking tracks including the Routeburn, Greenstone and Caples Tracks. Anglers will find salmon in the local rivers, while hunters enjoy seeking out a wide variety of game in the surrounding hills. There are also farm tours available and off road four wheel driving and photo safaris. 


Skippers Road clings to the side of Skippers Canyon, which drops vertically to the Shotover River, once known as “the richest river in the world”. Rental car companies won’t allow their vehicles on this narrow, unsealed road, but there are plenty of local operators available to take you up the canyon. If you want to test your fitness, mountain biking is also an option.

The road was built during the gold rush, when a precarious pack track was the only access to Skippers township and the Upper Shotover diggings. Constructed between 1883 and 1890, the Skippers Road was considered a major engineering feat in its day. One three-kilometre stretch of the road involved hand drilling and blasting solid rock to create a platform 183 metres above the Shotover River. This daunting task required workers to hang on ropes high above the raging river. This section, aptly named Pinchers Bluff and the Devils Elbow, is a highlight of the road to Skippers.

Some people are lured up this precipitous road with adventure on their mind. There’s rafting on the Shotover River, jetboating with Skippers Canyon Jet and 4WD adventures to Skippers. Others want to discover the amazing Upper Shotover scenery – dramatic schist bluffs and rock tors stand like sculptures in the tussock landscape. The road commands views of the Richardson Mountains to the west and the Harris Mountains to the east

Dunedin railway station 

Built in Dunedin in 1906 when the city was New Zealand’s leading commercial centre, this magnificent railway station remains, fully restored to its former glory.An excellent tourist excursion service is the only train now using the station. Much of its ground floor is used as a restaurant, and the upper floor houses an art gallery and a sports hall of fame.

In an eclectic, revived Flemish renaissance style, (Renaissance Revival architecture), the station is constructed from dark basalt from Kokonga in the Strath-Taieri with lighter Oamaru stone facings, giving it the distinctive light and dark pattern common to many of the grander buildings of Dunedin and Christchurch. Pink granite was used for a series of supporting pillars which line a colonnade at the front of the building. The roof was tiled in terracotta shingles from Marseilles surmounted by copper-domed cupolas. The southern end of the building is dominated by the 37-metre clocktower which is visible from much of central Dunedin. The sheer size, grandiose style and rich embellishments of the station earned architect George Troup the nickname of Gingerbread George.

The booking hall features a mosaic floor of almost 750,000 Minton tiles. A frieze of Royal Doulton porcelain runs around the balcony above it from which the floor’s design (featuring a locomotive and related symbols) can be clearly seen. The station’s main platform is the country’s longest, extending one kilometre.

The building’s foundation stone was laid by the Minister of Railways Joseph Ward on June 3, 1904. The Prime Minister Richard Seddon was also present. The station was opened by Ward, by then Prime Minister, in 1906. The construction of the building was kept within budget, and cost £40,000.

Created to be the jewel in the crown of New Zealand Railways, the Dunedin Railway Station has an atmosphere and character unique to any public building in the country, and is regarded as the most photographed building in New Zealand.

Kommetjie

Kommetjie is a small town near Cape Town, in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It lies about halfway down the west coast of the Cape Peninsula, at the southern end of the long wide beach that runs northwards towards Chapman’s Peak and Noordhoek.The area is a popular spot for surfing, since powerful waves from the Atlantic Ocean rise up over rocky reefs formed by hard sandstones of the Table Mountain Group. Wherever the bottom is rocky, the shallower waters are thick with giant kelp forests.

Kommetjie is famous for its excellent crayfishing despite recent changes in fishing quotas which have seen a drastic reduction in the daily catch allowed.

Cala Bassa Beach

One of the most beautiful coves on the west coast with the famous Cala Bassa Beach Club, easily accessible by ferry from San Antonio. 

  

  A popular beach near San Antonio which draws tourists daily and locals on weekends, Cala Bassa Beach truly offers something for everyone. It is reachable by car, boat and bus, with a range of useful facilities and wooden walkways providing access for the disabled and prams, making it easily accessible to all ages.

Cala Bassa Beach is surrounded by a wooded area of ancient, gnarled Sabina trees, and boasts clear, turquoise waters and soft, pale golden sand. It’s a safe bathing spot for kids, but not exactly a ‘sleepy’ beach, as there is a range of watersports on offer for the adrenalin junkies – including jetskis.  
    
    
    
 

Soller, Mallorca Attractive rural town in the west of Majorca

image imageSet in a lush valley of orange groves between the mountains and the sea, Soller is popular with day trippers who arrive on the vintage train from Palma and seem to do little but sit outside the cafes in Placa Constitucid soaking up the atmosphere and the sun. With several tapas bars, a fine selection of pastry-shops, local ice-cream and freshly squeezed orange juice, there is little temptation to move on.

Soller lies a couple of miles inland from its port, Port de Soller. There is a vintage tram that runs from the town to the port for those who don’t have a car. Soller hosts many fairs and festivals throughout the year – ones of note include the Apropa’t A L’Art (art weekend) and the Moros y Cristianos Fira & Firo in May.

A word of advice: if you are planning a day trip, come here by train from Palma, rather than car. There is a road tunnel on the Palma road (with a pretty steep toll, €4.70 each way April 2012) through the mountain if you do drive. The alternative is to drive up the Coll de Soller, with its 57 hairpin bends, one of the most twisty drives in Mallorca (although views from the top are pretty good!). It’s also very popular with cyclists who are not allowed through the tunnel and who seem to enjoiy the thigh-busting climb! The train journey is a delight, and passes through wonderfully scenic countryside. The train has real character and is an attraction in itself, so sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Things to Do in Soller

Many people come to Soller to enjoy “The Great Outdoors”. The surrounding countryside is so beautiful, it’s almost a crime not to be outside to enjoy it! Hiking is a major draw for visitors who are spoiled for choice when it comes to hiking trails. You can choose from coastal walks to heading deep into the Tramuntana mountain range.

The trails are well maintained and sign-posted. The famous ‘dry stone wall’ trail runs from Andratx in the south to Pollenca in the north of Mallorca, and is over 50km in length. Mountain refuges dot the trail so hikers have place places to stay en-route. Alternatively, use a local hiking guide such as Tramuntana Tours or Mallorca Hiking who can arrange all sorts of ways to discover the area.

Both road cycling and mountain biking are extremely popular ways of exploring the mountains around Soller. A guide for mountain biking is particularly recommended as much of the land in the area is privately owned. The roads from Soller up into the Tramuntana range provide great challenges for the road cycling enthusiast, with plenty of bends, ascents & descents. you can hire bikes and get information on cycling routes from Tramuntana Tours.

Tennis is a popular activity in Soller and there are public tennis courts at the Paddle & Tennis Club in the Argeles area of Soller (no website!). Shopping is not a major deal in Soller – there are a few gift shops and some lovely delicatessens.

Of course, being so close to the coast there are a heap of nautical activities to enjoy too. Boat trips up and down the coast start in Port de Soller and are a wonderful way to view the coastline with it’s majestic and dramatic scenery. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can charter a boat with or without a captain. It is also possible to SCUBA dive in the waters up and down the coast.

Port de Soller also has a couple of beaches if you prefer to take it easy, and the promenade is lined with cafes for refreshments. The beaches are quite small and narrow and do tend to be busy during the summer months. The sand is a little bit gravelly, but the sea is calm and shallow and fun to play in. Sun loungers and canoes are available for hire.

Soller has a number of satellite villages which are worth having a look at. Fornalutx has been voted the prettiest village in Spain and lies a couple of kilometres up the valley from Soller. En-route, you also have the chance to pass through Biniaraix, a tiny and sleepy hamlet.

 

The Pont du Gard is a Roman monument built halfway through the 1st century AD. It is the principal construction in a 50 km long aqueduct that supplied the city of Nîmes, formerly known as Nemausus, with water. Built as a three-level aqueduct standing 50 m high, it allowed water to flow across the Gardon river.

In essence, the bridge is constructed out of soft yellow limestone blocks, taken from a nearby quarry that borders the river. The highest part of the structure is made out of breeze blocks joined together with mortar. It is topped by a device designed to bear the water channel, whose stone slabs are covered with calcium deposits.

In designing this three-storey bridge, which measures 360 m at its longest point along the top, the Roman architects and hydraulic engineers created a technical masterpiece that stands today as a work of art.

As a result of numerous scientific studies, we now know that an impressive volume of rock was needed to complete the construction.

Moreover, archaeologists also uncovered evidence of how well organized the project was. They found numbering on the stones, points of support for scaffolding, and evidence of the use of hoists.

Celles,Lac du Salagou

Celles is a commune in the Hérault department in southern France.The original village sits on the bank of Lac du Salagou. The French authorities are allowing this village to decay and all buildings except the town hall and the church are in ruins. It is a popular place for fishing and picnics. 

    
    
    
   

Lac du Salagou

The Lac du Salagou is a large lake near to Clermont l’Herault in the Herault department of Languedoc Roussillon. Well known in the area for the vivid colours of the lake and its surroundings it is very popular for various water sports, walking and cycling.

The Salagou lake was created in 1968 when a barrage was erected across the river Salagou in order to allow a diversification of local agriculture and regulate the river Salagou which was very prone to flooding in autumn. The lake covers 750 hectares and has become a popular tourist spot.
The earth surrounding the lake is extremely rich in iron giving it its distinctive orange-red colour. This combined with the deep blue of the lake and the greens of the surrounding trees and fields forms a wonderful patchwork of colour which takes on different forms and combinations around each different curve of the lake.
It is possible to drive round the lake to see the many different views but if you have the chance use the ‘route forestiere’ to walk or cycle round the lake and really have the time to admire it. Unfortunately my trip in November didn’t allow me to capture on photo the wonderful colours that shine out in the sunshine usual to this part of France.
SalascIf you are driving to the lake pass first by Moureze to see the very different scenery of the Cirque de Moureze. Even if you haven’t time for one of the walks amongst the dolomites the drive from Moureze to Salasc on the southern side of Lake Salagou takes you through part of the dolomite-filled landscape.
Salasc like the other villages around the lake offers a pretty stopping point for lunch or a coffee if you have forgotten to bring a picnic to eat on the edge of the lake.
Continue around to the unusual village of Celles. Thought to be in the zone to be flooded the village of Celles was evacuated but the lake stopped short of the village.
Celles became a ‘ghost town’ though now its church and marie appear to have been renovated and contrast bizarrely with the surrounding abandoned houses whose roofs have collapsed and whose walls are gradually falling. Perhaps the village is in the process of being re-populated.
The views from the patio area in front of the renovated church and marie are very nice.
  

Cirque de Navacelles 

The Navacelles cirque is located between the limestone plateaus of Le Larzac and Blandas, between the departments of Gard and Hérault, and is a listed Grand National Site, forming an impressive natural amphitheatre with its tall limestone cliffs. The beauty of the place can be fully appreciated from the panoramic viewpoints of La Baume Auriol and Blandas. At the centre of the cirque, the picturesque village of Navacelles is particularly photogenic, with its waterfall and spectacular environment.       

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