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The Reclining Buddha

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The Reclining Buddha or Phra Buddhasaiyas is 46 meters long and 15 meters high (150 ft by 49 ft). Sihasaiyas refers to the sleeping/reclining posture of a lion.  

Phra Vihara, the hall of the Reclining Buddha was built in 1832 during the reign of Rama III. The figure is made with lacquered and guilded stucco over a brick-based corpus.

The Buddha’s head rests on two box pillows inlaid with glass mosaics and is supported by his right hand.
The feet of the Buddha is 5 meters in length and 3 meters in height (16 ft by 9.8 ft). Notice his toes which are all even in size and height.
The soles of the Buddha's feet are inlaid with mother of pearl and have 108 panels showing the auspicious symbols with which he is identified. These auspicious symbols can be grouped into three categories: symbols of fortune and prosperity such as the lotus, attributes of greatness of the king such as the throne, and religious cosmology such as the ocean and heavenly forest. There are two circles, one on each fo…

University of Zurich Faculty Law Library

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In what used to be the courtyard of the University of Zurich Faculty Law Library, Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, created the additional space the library needed in unconventional fashion. He built a modern wing in stark contrast to the staid building designed in 1908 by Hermann Fietz. Calatrava's design consists of 6 oval rings around an elongated glazed skylight which illuminates the galleries and courtyard. The rings are lined with maple wood that add a rich tone finish to the design and define its space between the glass dome and the white stone floor of the ground floor.

The glass domed copper roof floods the library with natural light.
Study spaces are formed around the balustrades on each gallery, taking advantage of natural light. 
A closer look at the graceful curve of the dome.
The galleries float above the courtyard.
Horizontal windows cut across the outer shell of the galleries.
Rather than cover up the original courtyard, Santiago Calatrava decided to keep it and tur…

A Tale of Travel Gone Wrong

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A travel tale gone wrong After a thoroughly good morning of sightseeing around the fairy tale town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I walked back to the train station to catch the 3:06 p.m. train to Würzburg which was my home base in Franconia. I was early so I took the opportunity to sit down and rest my aching feet inside the train station where it was warm and cozy. The train arrived on time and we took off for the hour ride home. Or so I thought. Soon after we left the station, I heard an announcement in German which I didn’t understand completely but from which I inferred that something wasn’t quite right. After Steinach where we had to change trains, there was another announcement and in Uffenheim, we were all asked to get off the train. I gathered through an English speaking passenger that we were going to be picked up by a bus as our train could not continue due to an obstruction at one of the stations up ahead. 
We waited for the bus. And waited some more. There was nowhere to sit …

The Fairy Tale Town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber has been on my travel bucket list for years. And I finally got there last November. It is an enchanting place. With its half-timbered houses, clock towers, colorful façades, schneeballs and beer steins, Rothenburg ODT oozes with medieval charm. 
It's no surprise that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I was partially filmed in Rothenburg ODT.
This is a common dilemma in Rothenburg ODT. Which direction to take? It's hard to choose because every cobblestone street seems to be competing for the best dressed street award. And they are all winners in my book. 
After walking half a day, an inviting table for two with colorful flowers to warm a cold November day.
I love how these two half-timbered buildings anchor a street that leads to another intriguing square.
The Plönlein (Little Square) is the most photographed square in Rothenburg ODT. But I found more picturesque neighborhoods than this. That's the beauty of Rothenburg ODT. So many choices to get…

Geneva, Capital of Peace

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In the city that boasts 1000 delights, there remains hundreds of discoveries to make. So each time I pass through Geneva, there's always something new to discover. Recently, I visited the European headquarters of the Palais des Nations where important discussions are held throughout the year to keep the fragile peace that binds our nations. 
In front of the United Nations building is the wooden sculpture, Broken Chair by Daniel Berset, a Swiss sculptor. It is a reminder of the victims of landmines, cluster bombs and the ¨desperate cry of war torn populations¨. Rising to a height of 39 feet tall, it dwarfs visitors who pose by those long legs. Broken Chair was crafted by Louie Gèneve. 
Melancholy is the most poignant sculpture I've ever seen. Nothing speaks of emptiness more than the gaping hole through which one can see the peaceful lake in the background. Melancholy was created by Romanian artist, Albert György, who experienced this void when his wife passed away. 

The Jet d'…

Frankfurt am Main

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The last time I was in Frankfurt am Main was to drop off our rental car and catch a flight home. This time around, I was planning to stay in Frankfurt for a couple of days before leaving for the U.S. But as luck would have it, I had to change my itinerary and stayed a little bit longer than expected. Which was a good thing. Because Frankfurt has changed in the years since I visited and I had a lot of catching up to do.
Most of Frankfurt was destroyed during World War II. But its historical center was painstakingly reconstructed in the 1980s from original floorplans. These pretty half-timbered buildings on the Römerberg in the Alstadt (Old Town) provide a rich contrast to the city of skyscrapers. 
This building in the Alstadt has an unusual roofline. The grey-tiled roof flows into the dormer windows like a wave.
The Römer with its three-gabled façade has been the City Hall of Frankfurt since the 15th century.
The Gothic-style Frankfurter Dom or the Imperial Cathedral of St. Bartholomew is …

Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart

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When I stepped off the elevator on the 8th floor of the Stadtbibliothek (City Library), I unconsciously said ¨wow¨. I had only seen the library in pictures and was captured by the design. Seeing it for the first time in person was truly a wow moment. It appeared I wasn't the only one who felt like this. I noticed that other people stood rooted to the spot just outside the elevator doors and were  staring at the expanse of sleek white space and books in colorful binding neatly stacked on shelves against the walls. 

Launched in 2011, the Stuttgart City Library was designed by Eun Young Yi, a Korean architect from Yi Architects of Cologne and Seoul. He describes the Stadtbibliothek as a "homogeneous, calm, monolithic building that contains a great many of the secret values of  our civilization. These values are neutralized and polished to the point where they possess a universal value that applies to all ages so that only our pure spirit are projected onto the material".

The …

Sculptures that Stand Out from the Crowd

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Melancholy. Albert György. Bronze. Lake Geneva. Geneva. Switzerland

Before I embark on any trip, I always check the net for public art or street art in the cities I plan to visit, especially places I have been lucky to visit a few times. These searches give me options which I may otherwise have missed since these works of art are seldom listed on the "must see" lists. On my recent trip to Europe, I had the opportunity to see these sculptural pieces that beg explanation, are meaningful, controversial, poignant, thought provoking and Instagrammable (lol). These discoveries were lessons in art appreciation and added mileage to a deeply satisfying trip.

Nothing represents emptiness better than this sculpture about melancholy. 

Inverted Collar and Necktie. Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen. Polymer concrete, steel, fiber-reinforced plastic. Westendstrasse 1. Frankfurt am Main. Germany.

The tie as a "traditional part of office attire, its loosening could signify the relief f…