One of the most important things a city should provide to its residents is, in my humble opinion, plenty of open and green spaces. London is no stranger to parks as it seems every where I turn, I'm in some sort of garden or park. I find it quite soothing to sit amongst the trees, read a book, or enjoy some time with friends. My next couple of posts will be about the beautiful green spaces of London.
1. Hampstead Heath: It is in Zone 3 so a bit farther out of the city center but nonetheless, it is my favorite park so far. It's rolling hills, ponds, trees, and views of London offer something for everyone. John Keats, the 19th century poet, lived in a home nearby and walked through this heath and may have composed several poems here.
If there is one place in London that has enough space for people, it is Hampstead Heath. Once away from the entrance and the path, one can truly be alone in this park. I stopped by a bench and sat under a giant tree, listening to the birds and the movement of the grass with the open expanse of sky before me. It was glorious. Big benefit: One can walk up to Parliament Hill and get a view of the London skyline, spotting all the buildings and all the cranes building up the newer buildings.
Dodging loads of tourists at huge train stations has been something of a norm for me my entire life. However, movement, the pulse of a city, is something I find incredibly exciting. And London is a city that moves and moves fast, by rail, by tube, by cycles, or by foot.
London's St. Pancras and Kings cross stations are beautiful structures and thousands of people with many different languages navigate their way with numerous pieces of luggage on a regular basis. The movement does not stop.
Similarly, Trafalgar Square (more a circle actually) is in constant motion. I stood at the top of the national gallery and shot this video below with my iPhone 6.
Check out the video on my Twitter page;
I am fascinated with history and with it, the evolution of government. Naturally, a tourists visit to London included a trip to the parliament and the infamous Big Ben clock tower. The building represents one thousand years of British government; think of how many important pieces of legislation went through those walls. If only those walls could speak.
Lining the Thames river on both sides are a series of docks that have been turned into commercial/public green spaces. Tourists rush to the edge of the banks to take in views of the parliament and the London eye, armed with their selfie sticks. There are so many people, it's like equivalent of visiting Times Square. Hilariously, there were two places that offered "New York" food, burgers and NY pizza, neither of which I had any desire to eat. Traditional British food itself is not too appetizing, which is my theory as to why restaurants are so successful in the UK.
The Thames river reminds me of the Hudson, green and gross. It's no wonder I love this city so much, it reminds me of home.
I am currently in England for a couple of weeks and I will be blogging my experiences for you!
It has been one week since my arrival in London and it has been a week of history, learning, and adventure. Not surprisingly, it is easy to fit in as a New Yorker. The movement of pedestrians, especially in and out of the Underground is similar to our movements on the subway.
The tube (undeground) is an extensive network that I quickly got the hang of. People move fast here, it almost feels like everyone is racing each other. The bankers all wear a distinct blue suit that I have now dubbed "banker blue."
I love the history of London, the different distinct architectural styles, the old buildings mixing with the new, the cafe culture, the art, and how one does not need a car to travel and live comfortably here. Everything is new and foreign to me at the same time.
I'll bring you new posts daily on my trip in London and my journey along the way.
Vase with arabic writing
Repetitive motifs in ceramics were most popular, and still are, in the Islamic art scene. Religious art was decorated with geometric patterns and arabic phrases. These three examples are located in the British Museum in London. Notice the use of the color cobalt blue; it was an expensive pigment to decorate with therefore those who owned/patronized these items were particularly wealthy.
I look to geometric motifs when thinking of different henna designs. It amazes me to know that some of these patterns are designed with such precision.
Vases at the British museum in London.
A couple of years ago I took a trip to visit a friend in London. We got a chance to see the famous British museum and the Islamic art exhibit there was gorgeous. I realized that i use many, many Islamic art motifs in my henna designs and now I look to them for inspiration. The floral patterns and geometric patterns and intricate mathematical algorithms look amazing on these mosque lamps and look just as stunning on henna patterns on ones hands!
The mosque lamps below were my favorites. They were lit up and looked exquisite in the light. The style of writing is beautiful.
If you would like to know more about Islamic Art - check out the Islamic Art exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I love to travel. I've had the pleasure to travel to Europe, South America, and Asia. I'll be putting up some pictures as soon as I can. Here, I begin with Dublin, Ireland.
Dublin - June 2009
We had great weather when visiting Dublin, it was sunny, warm, and inviting. I stayed at a hotel in downtown Dublin and for the most part we were able to walk around the city to see it. We were able to rent a car to go out to visit Trim Castle and the mountains. The landscape changed so suddenly in Ireland. From the coast, one was able to see the mountains in the distance. The landscapes were beautiful, the buildings were too. The churches were gothic like and had scary dungeon-like basements. The buildings that lined the river were all rectangular in shape and in an assortment of colors.I like celtic designs and try to incorporate them into henna patterns. The swirly patters in this image below are particularly cool, this passage tomb at Newgrange is dated back to 3,200 B.C. You can find out more about Newgrange here at their website, http://www.newgrange.com/.
I'll be adding pictures and commentary of the things I love. I am an ordinary person in an extraordinary place. There is no special purpose to this blog other than to project what I am thinking of at any given moment.
All the photos are mine (unless stated otherwise). Please do not use without permission. To learn more about me, check out my linked in profile below.