Day 180: Wedding at Bangalore Palace, Bangalore, India
Today my post features some images and a video of an Indian wedding we saw at the Bangalore Palace.
It was so colourful and noisy – had it share!
Day 177: Charlie’s Italian Restaurant, Darwin 1978
This post is about my love of coffee, in particular a cappuccino, from where it all began – celebrating my 12th birthday at an Italian restaurant in Darwin – Charlie’s.
Now I may have shared with you my penchant for a good coffee, particularly a cappuccino, but I am by no means a purist. I understand that an authentic cappuccino does not have chocolate on the top, and if this is the case, it is not the cappuccino I love.
What I love, is a strong coffee, topped with foaming frothy milk and drowning with chocolate powder. Around the outside of the rim is a crust of coffee, making the foam a taste sensation of bitter and sweet. It is the coffee of my childhood, of Italian cafes in Darwin and Brisbane in the 1970s and the 1980s. Moreover, it was not the coffee we had at home, which was flavourless in comparison (though my Dad still swears by International Roast).
My moment of truth happened when I was 12 at Charlie’s: my parents asked me after dinner if I would like a coffee and that is what I ordered – a cappuccino. It was nothing short of a sublime sensory experience – its aroma and flavour sang and I loved mixing the frothy milk into the rich dark coffee. From that first meeting, I know I had found something very special and delicious.
Charlie’s also had a reputation for his Cordon Bleu and Spaghetti, but my mum excels with these dishes – but a cappuccino was a new experience and one that I have loved now for over 30 years. Ironically I drink black coffee at home but I still love a cappuccino when I buy coffee – it just seems special.
Who else loves this kind of cappuccino? Would love your coffee stories 🙂
Day 175: Tallinn, Estonia
It is now more than 10 years since I visited the lovely city of Tallinn and it remains in my mind as one of the most beautiful examples of a medieval walled city. In 2004, I was very fortunate to go there to present a paper at the ISEA2004 Symposium, which was an amazing event in itself – see this summary by Brisbane media artist Keith Armstrong. I also wrote a review of an artwork presented by Trish Adams Wave Writer: Vital Forces (PDF), which was published in Eyeline magazine.
For a long time it was under Danish rule also being the birthplace of the Danish flag:
On the slopes of Toompea hill between the city wall and Lower Town is an open, garden-like area that happens to be the legendary birthplace of the Danish flag.
This relaxing spot is called the Danish King’s Garden because it was supposedly here that King Valdemar II of Denmark and his troops camped before conquering Toompea in 1219.
13th-14th-century Tallinn was part of the Danish Kingdom, marking the beginning of seven centuries of foreign rule in Estonia. The majority of the town’s population was formed of ethnic Germans who called the town Reval – a name which Tallinn was known for many centuries to come.
Mr Wikipedia says:
In 1285 the city, then known as Reval, became the northernmost member of the Hanseatic League – a mercantile and military alliance of German-dominated cities in Northern Europe. The Danes sold Reval along with their other land possessions in northern Estonia to the Teutonic Knights in 1346.
It is a definitely place with some very rich history. I love that the town has undergone many name changes over the years:
In 1154 a town called Qlwn or Qalaven (possible derivations of Kalevan or Kolyvan) was put on the world map of the Almoravid by the Muslim cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, who described it as a small town like a large castle among the towns of Astlanda. It has been suggested that the Quwri in Astlanda may have denoted the predecessor town of today’s Tallinn
The origin of the name “Tallinn(a)” is certain to be Estonian, although the original meaning of the name is debated. It is usually thought to be derived from “Taani-linn(a)” (meaning “Danish-castle/town”; Latin: Castrum Danorum). However, it could also have come from “tali-linna” (“winter-castle/town”), or “talu-linna” (“house/farmstead-castle/town”). The element -linna, like German -burg and Slavic -grad originally meant “castle” but is used as a suffix in the formation of town names…The German and Swedish name Reval (Latin: Revalia, earlier Swedish language: Raffle) originated from the 13th century Estonian name of the adjacent Estonian county of Ravala. Other known ancient historical names of Tallinn include variations of Estonian Lindanise (see Battle of Lyndanisse), such as Lyndanisse in Danish, Lindanas in Swedish, and Ledenets in Old East Slavic. Kesoniemi in Finnish and Kolyvan (Колывань) in Old East Slavic are also other historical names.
One of the things I also remember was the great antique and secondhand shops and I found a lot of Soviet memorabilia, which tells a story about another layer of Tallinn’s past. There was also a great market, where I some beautiful souvenirs. Here is a photograph of the Christmas market, which looks just magical. I was there in September, so didn’t see any snow.
You can also access an online 3d app that shows you Tallinn Old Town:
Tallinn Old Town is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The aim of the 3d.tallinn.ee is to allow anyone interested in this Medieval pearl to access the Old Town by using 3D computing technology.
World and Its Peoples, Volume 8 of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. Marshall Cavendish. 2010. p. 1069. ISBN 9780761478966.
Tallinn History http://tallinn24.info/tallinn_history.html
Augmented Reality component for new project in Amager, Copenhagen
Walking Backwards into the Future
Augmented Reality in Copenhagen, by Tracey Benson
This article documents the waypoints of the tour of Dragør titled Walking Backwards into the Future being presented as part of Cultura21 Eco Island, Dragør, Denmark. The Walking Backwards into the Future: Cultura21 Eco Island, Dragør, Denmark proposal details the project goals and the context.
You don’t have to be in Dragør to experience this work. You can also use the app with the landmark building images in this blog post.
There will also be a printable version of the map for Walking Backwards into the Future.
Please note that this article and map is a work in progress!
Walking Backwards into the Future uses augmented reality, and to view it you must have an internet enabled mobile device running iOS or Android (tablet or smartphone). You must also have the “Aurasma” app installed.
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New AR work in development, which explores Dragør, Amager in Copenhagen.
Walking Backwards into the Future
Augmented Reality in Copenhagen, by Tracey Benson
Proposal for Mapping Amager and Sharing Copenhagen: AR guided tour and presentation
Walking backwards to find the future combines a guided walk around the island of Amager with the use of augmented reality. This work has been created by Australian based media artist Tracey Benson to explore the transect sites of Dragør, Amager as a potential tourist. This work seeks to build knowledge of the location from afar – past journeys and memories, present events, spaces, places and histories. The work would be ready for use by participants at the Dragør/Tårnby transect and formally presented at the Eco Creative Camp by the artist.
Tracey has developed a number of augmented reality works which focus on walking and local discovery, with the most recent project Finding the Ghosts of K Road being presented as part of ADA Mesh Cities…
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About Tracey’s latest Augmented Reality project being presented in Auckland next week
You don’t have to be in Auckland to experience this work. You can also use the app with the landmark building images in this blog post.
*Note: This work is still in progress – any feedback would be welcomed.
Finding the Ghosts of K Road uses augmented reality, and to view it you must have an internet enabled mobile device running iOS or Android (tablet or smartphone). You must also have the “Aurasma” app installed.
To install Aurasma:
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Day 87: Pushkar, India
I am still continuing my daydreaming about India and today will have a look at Pushkar – a town famous for its annual two-week camel fair.
A website promoting the event says:
Held each November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon, Pushkar Camel Fair is one of India’s most highly-rated travel experiences, a spectacle on an epic scale, attracting more than 11,000 camels, horses and cattle and visited by over 400,000 people over a period of around fourteen days.
For visitors it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the colour, spectacle and carnival of one of the last great traditional melas, which brings livestock, farmers, traders and villagers from all over Rajasthan.
What is really interesting is that during the camel fair, the town’s population swells from 15,000 to 200,000 during the two weeks. Visitors are accommodated in tents, though from what I understand, this is glamping at its best. For those initiated to glamping, it is camping with style – a lot more effort to set up but usually with all the comforts of home, just under canvas.
I also love the etymology of the word Pushkar. Wikipedia says:
Pushkar in Sanskrit means blue lotus flower. Hindus believe that the gods released a swan with a lotus in its beak and let it fall on earth where Brahma would perform a grand yagna. The place where the lotus fell was called Pushkar.
Pushkar is also one of the oldest cities of India. The date of its actual founding is not known, but legend associates Brahma with its creation. It is also one of the few places in the world where they are temples to Brahma and the Brahma Temple in Pushkar is very famous, being built during the 14th century CE . Although Pushkar has many temples, most of them are not very old because many were destroyed during Muslim conquests in the region, causing many to be rebuilt. Pushkar is also considered one of the five sacred dhams or pilgrimage sites for devout Hindus.
We are very much looking forward to visiting Pushkar, it sounds like a paradise for photographers and the thought of the camel fair with its colour, movement and dust is really enticing.
Al-Hind: The Slavic Kings and the Islamic conquest, 11th-13th centuries, p.326
Where would you like to go today: Pushkar Camel Fair http://www.kashgar.com.au/articles/where-would-you-like-to-go-today-the-pushkar-camel-fair (accessed 27 August 2014)
Day 86: Kochi, Kerala, India
Today, I am staying in the region of Kerala to explore the coastal city of Kochi. Although Thiruvananathapuram is formally the capital of Kerala, Kochi is considered the financial capital of region. Kochi has a population of more than 2 million, making it the biggest urban centre in Kerala. It is also one of the major tourist destinations in India.
One of the events I am drawn to is the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, held in December. I am also curious the explore Kochi as one of my good friends loves it so much she spends 4 months a year based in Kochi.
The Biennale sounds like a fabulous event. Here is some information from the website:
The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art being held in Kochi, Kerala.
The first edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale was set in spaces across Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands. There were shows in existing galleries and halls, and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings and disused structures.
Indian and international artists exhibited artworks across a variety of mediums including film, installation, painting, sculpture, new media and performance art.
Through the celebration of contemporary art from around the world, The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to invoke the historic cosmopolitan legacy of the modern metropolis of Kochi, and its mythical predecessor, the ancient port of Muziris.
I love the idea of the engaging the ancient world and culture through contemporary art and emerging media, very appealing. I think it would be an amazing experience to witness the biennale.
The story of the ancient city of Muziris is also fascinating. Located 30 km from Kochi, Muziris was a prosperous seaport and financial centre in the 1st Century B.C. It is believed the city was washed under the sea during the 1341 AD Periyar river flood. Muziris was a key link in the Indo-Roman Empire and Indo-Greek trade routes and drew legions of Roman, Greek, Chinese, Jewish and Arab traders.
Something else I find really interesting is that Kerala and Kochi are world-famous for the ancient healing art of Ayurveda. This 5000 years old healing tradition is known to heal chronic illnesses naturally. Apparently there are hundreds of government-run and private Ayurvedic hospitals and treatment centres are spread across the state that offer Ayurvedic treatment for almost every health condition. This is also something that I am drawn to as I have had an interest in Ayurveda for many years and would love to learn more about this natural healing tradition.
The more I learn about India the more curious I become, I can’t wait to experience some of these places for myself. I am sure it will be an incredible journey.
Day 85: Kerala, India
Earlier this year I wrote about Thiruvananathapuram, the capital city of the Kerala region, which is situated near the southern tip of India.
This region of India is quite different from the majority of India as large parts of Kerala did not come under British Rule; even though it was the place in India where European colonisation first started. The Portuguese were the first to discover a direct sea route between Lisbon and Kozhikode in Kerala, and this marked the beginning of European colonisation in the country. Soon the Dutch, French, Italians and British were all drawn to the wealth of spices and silk, coming with the intention of forming colonies.
Wiki Travel says:
Large parts of Kerala were not subject to direct British rule. Malabar was a district of Madras Presidency under direct British rule, but Tiruvithamkoor (Travancore) and Kochi (Cochin) regions were autonomous kingdoms ruled by Maharajas during the period of the British rule in India, and were known for their progressive attitude which resulted in various welfare reforms, particularly in the areas of education and health care.
I imagine that this part of India might be quite different culturally with the Portuguese influence and history.
It is said to have a very diverse ecology, with beautiful beaches and rain forests as well as spectacular hills, like in this image of Munnar above. Kerala, is very close to equator and has a tropical climate. Kerala experiences heavy rains almost throughout the year, and is considered one of the wettest areas on the earth.
One of the reasons I am attracted to Kerala is the fact that people in this region of India still live a largely traditional lifestyle. I think it would be wonderful to witness a site in India where much of the rich culture and heritage is well-preserved. From what I understand India is a country of great contrasts and many cities are fast becoming contemporary urban centres. It would be refreshing to experience a place where traditional lifestyles are still maintained.