Tag Archives: Walking

Missing in Action

Dear readers, it has been some time since we have posted a blog.

Although we have been missing in action online we have still been having some adventures. For example, Tracey was in Norway for three months doing some creative research into her ancestry. Her project Waters of the Past has resulted in some wonderful collaborations and connections. The project was also presented in a number of exhibitions and symposium, such as Balance UnBalance 2017 and RIXC Open Fields 2017.

Tracey’s project was also featured in the Drammen newspaper. Please don’t ask for a translation ūüôā

We had an amazing time in Norway, the highlight of this was our fjord journey up the west coast to Troms√ł – more on that later ūüėČ Here is some teasers:

This year we don’t plan to go too far from home ground. We have lots of short trips planned and we look forward to sharing with you some of the great places we enjoy here in the Australian Alpine region – better known by Aussies as ‘the high country’.

We will publish a new article from us each month as well as feature some guest writers. Contact us if you would like to submit something for publication.

Ps – we are now also in Instagram – follow us at geokult_travel

An article about Tracey
An article about Tracey
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The Snæfellsnes and journey to the centre of the earth #SIMResidency

Yesterday was an amazing day as I set off with some of the artists from the SIM Residency on a road trip to the Snæfellsnes peninsula, north-west of Reykjavik.

Our first stop was the historic town of Borgarnes, where we went to the Settlement Center. We had a lot of fun in the exhibit, where there are some 3d fibreglass interactive maps, a bow of a ship that moves and some great information about the early days of the Icelandic Sagas and the creation of the parliament in Iceland¬†in 930AD (located in √ěingvellir). Lots of buttons were pressed and plenty of laughs were had on the recreation of the viking boat. We also took a few pictures of the fjord behind the museum.

From there we headed to Stykkishólmur, where we enjoyed some great fish and chips on the wharf before heading to the Library of Water and checking out the incredible church.

We took our time heading west, taking lots of photographs along the way before stopping at √ďlafsv√≠k and checking out the triangle church.

Everywhere we went there were lava fields – I was amazed at how soft they felt – I always imagined them to be really hard. I think they would be dangerous to walk on as you could fall through the sections that are sparsely covered, or covered in moss.

The next stop was at the Saxhóll Crater, where you walk 300 metres up a flight of stairs to arrive at the top of the crater. There are fantastic views of the surrounding landscape, especially the Snæfellsjökull volcano.

The¬†Sn√¶fellsj√∂kull volcano, glacier and surrounding landscape was the inspiration for Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, which incidentally was one of my favourite books as a child. Although we were keen to go to the glacier, we were informed that it takes about five hours, you need shoes with metal spikes, an all-wheel-drive vehicle – none of which we had. We also learnt that much care was needed as there were cracks in the glacier as it is summer. We decided that it might be better to go with a guide another time.

On the way back to Reykjavik,we were so lucky to see some Gray Seals at Ytri Tunga. When we arrived we were told by some other tourists that there was only one on a rock, but we thought it was worth walking along the beach anyway. When we got close to the rocks we saw the big one basking on a rock and then over the next 20 minutes around half a dozen appeared. Also the sun was just gorgeous, sparkling and golden as it was reflected on the water. Here is a short video of the seals Рit is bit wonky as I only had my phone with me.

After leaving at 10am, I finally arrived home by around 1.30am – a huge day and biggest thanks to the awesome driver Ella <3. It was an amazing day and a taste of what an incredible place Iceland truly is.

Kirkjub√łur, Faroe Islands

Yesterday the TCP crew went on a bit of an adventure to Kirkjub√łur, a historic village located on the southern point of Streymoy Island.

Kirkjub√łur village is considered the Faroes most important historical site and has a number of ruins dating back to the 1100s.

Kirkjub√łargar√įur (Faroese for Yard of Kirkjub√łur, also known as King’s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world, if not the oldest according to Wikipedia.

The old farmhouse of Kirkjub√łur dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up.

The ruins of the Magnus Cathedral (Kirkjub√łm√ļrurin), built by Bishop Erlendur around the year 1300 is very impressive. The medieval building was never completed and still remains unfinished and without a roof.

The grass roofs of the traditional houses are very beautiful and something I have not seen anywhere else.

What I am finding even more beautiful is the landscape of rocky outcrops, cliffs and islands jutting out of the sea. It is the stuff of dreams and magic and we can’t wait to experience more of this beautiful place.

Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

The past couple of days we have been slowly orienting ourselves to the Faroe Islands and our next month as part of the Clipperton Project (TCP). At the moment we are based in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroes.

Tórshavn is a really gorgeous place Рlots of interesting things to photograph!

To give a little bit of a cultural context – the Faroe Islands have been a self governing region of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. It has its own parliament and its own flag. The Visit Faroe Islands website has some great information about the history of the Faroes:

According to stories passed down for generations the Irish abbot St. Brendan in AD 565 went in search of The Promised Land of the Saints. One of the stories told of a visit to “The Islands of the Sheep and the Paradise of Birds” situated several days’ sailing distance from Scotland. Based on this story and archaeology excavations there is good reason to believe that Irish monks were the first settlers in the Faroe Islands.
In the 9th century Norse settlers came to the Faroe Islands. These were mainy farmers who fleed from Norway and ended up in the Faroe Islands in search of new land. The special constitutional status of the islands was originally founded on the ancient viking tradition from the 9th century AD (all free men convened at the Althing, later called L√łgting, in the capital T√≥rshavn). From the latter half of the 12th century on – when attached to the medieval Norwegian Kingdom – they further developed their own culture, language and other social institutions, while at the same time adapting constitutionally to the surrounding political contexts of coming and going empires reaching out from the Scandinavian heartlands.
Little is known about Faroese history up until the 14th century. The main historical source for this period is the 13th century work Færeyinga Saga (Saga of the Faroese).

Anyway, we have only just started our journey with TCP – will share more soon!

Exploring Christchurch

My journey to Christchurch to work on a book project is my first time travelling to the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Although I have been to NZ a few times over the last decade, I have never ventured any further south than the region of Taranaki.

Christchurch, as many readers would know, was devastated by an earthquake in February 2011. It has been a difficult and expensive process to rebuild the city and although a lot of progress has happened, many heritage buildings may never be restored just because of the sheer cost.

Today I spent the day walking around the city centre and also rode the inner city tram which was a really nice way to learn about Christchurch. It is a little pricy at $20NZ, but you can hop on and off all day. The drivers also share a lot of local knowledge so I think it is worth the money.

There are some fabulous¬†places to visit when in Christchurch. I had a great time exploring the Re:START¬†markets. The market stalls are mainly set up in shipping containers and the area was the first to be reopened after the 2011 earthquake. There are some great shops with lots of local products. My favourite shop has to be¬†HAPA¬†– I just love all the handmade jewellery, ornaments, cushions and knick knacks. Unfortunately my budget is very tight this trip so no spending sadly though perhaps this is a blessing in disguise ūüôā

The other place I enjoyed visiting is the Canterbury Museum, which is free entry and open 7 days a week. There are some great exhibits, including a replica of the street from the early 1900s. It is also worth noting that the museum is located close to the Botanic Gardens which is a lovely  place to walk around.

Street art is in abundance in the city centre, making the cityscape lively and colourful. It is also a nice distraction from the many damaged buildings and empty city blocks.

It will take a long time for Christchurch to rebuild entirely, but what I find inspiring¬†is that the residents of Christchurch¬†are helping to shape the future of the city. For example, many people love the shipping containers at Re:START, so they may become a permanent fixture. Also the community has asked that the city’s skyline have less high-rises in the future, so the only high-rise buildings that will exist into the future are the ones currently standing.

There are some great art and technology projects that have focused on the city:

  • Soundsky: Artist/designer Trudy Lane and sound artist/musician/developer Halsey Burgund have been the main coordinators of the project to-date with significant input from Michael Reynolds of A Brave New City, and increasing numbers of local artists interested for their audio works to join the environment.
  • Sensing City: The Sensing City Trust is a non-profit organisation working with Christchurch stakeholders to help them understand how data can inform decisions about city management. The Trust has two active projects – one focussed on the impact of air pollution on respiratory disease, and the other on cyclists generating data to inform cycleway development.
  • SCAPE Public Art installs free-to-view contemporary public art in Christchurch city. Their vision is for Christchurch people to be excited, engaged and stimulated by the contemporary public art that is well-regarded and known by the national and international art world.

 

This evening as I write this post a small shake has been recorded south of Christchurch – though only 2.4 magnitude. I did not notice anything ūüôā In any case, I am very much looking forward to¬†working on the ADA book project and learning all about booksprinting!

365 Places: Fort Cochin

Day 182, Fort Cochin, Kerala, India

Fort Cochin is such a fabulous place, I don’t know where to begin to describe how wonderful this place really is.

There are many layers of history and culture in Fort Cochin, making it a fascinating visual feast in an architectural sense. Elegant 15th Century Portuguese Mansions sit side by side with English Colonial Style buildings and colourful shacks painted many different colours. There are some beautiful churches, mosques and Hindu temples, again, sitting peacefully side by side.

The thing that is most wonderful is the people. Their warmth and good nature melts religious differences, making this community one of diversity and harmony. Many other countries could learn from Kochi people.

Here are a couple of maps that track some journeys around Fort Cochin, with links to my EveryTrail maps.

Cruising Fort Cochin
Cruising Fort Cochin

This is a combination of an autorickshaw ride and walking around Fort Cochin.
Cruising Fort Cochin at EveryTrail
http://www.everytrail.com/iframe2.php?trip_id=3047286&width=400&height=300EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond.

Jewtown
Jewtown

This was an autorickshaw ride to the shopping centre of Jewtown.
Journey to Jew Town at EveryTrail
http://www.everytrail.com/iframe2.php?trip_id=3048045&width=400&height=300EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond.

Over the next 9 days we will be exploring this fascinating place in some detail, so hope to share lots with you!

365 Places: Filling in Some Gaps

Days 91 to 174

Today’s post is a feeble attempt to try and catch up from over three months of not writing. The bad habit of missing days started with a day here or there but now I find that I haven’t written for weeks. There is really no excuse, perhaps except that I have been caught up with a number of art projects, which should count for something ūüôā

My subject today is the place I live, the capital city of Australia, Canberra. As an attempt to make up for missing 84 posts, at the end of this post are 84 places worth visiting around the region, some of which have already been written about. Although it is a numbered list, it is not a list of best to worst, it is only as list of places as they came to mind.

Last week Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory was determined the best place in the world to live, according a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Canberra led the regional ranking while Australia topped the overall country rankings, followed by Norway.

The OECD ranked 362 regions of its 34 member nations in its survey. Seven areas were assessed: Health, Safety, Access to services, Civic engagement, Jobs, Education, Environment and Income.

image from http://www.oecdregionalwellbeing.org/region.html#AU8
image from http://www.oecdregionalwellbeing.org/region.html#AU8

One of the things I love about living in Canberra, is the many bushwalking trails both in Canberra and in the region. Only yesterday, we walked up Mt Majura, to do some exploring as part of a project I am developing for Long Time No See? On our way back down the mountain we came across some other walkers who were doing the Centenary Trail, having walked from Parliament House. This trail certainly looks challenging and perhaps something to pursue.

Here are some images from our walk.

My list of places to check out:

  1. National Art Gallery
  2. National Portrait Gallery
  3. Mt Ainslie
  4. Mt Majura
  5. Mt Stromlo
  6. Black Mountain
  7. Canberra Museum and Art Gallery
  8. Tilley’s, Lynham
  9. Ricardo’s, Jamison
  10. Lido Cafe, Belconnen
  11. Sanur’s, Belconnen
  12. Turkish Delight, Belconnen
  13. Canberra Contemporary Art Centre
  14. Gorman House
  15. Old Bus Depot Markets
  16. Canberra Trash and Treasure Market
  17. Brindabella Hills Vineyard
  18. Surveyor’s Hills Vineyard
  19. Edgar’s, Ainslie
  20. Jewel Of India, Civic
  21. Cotter Dam
  22. Casuarina Sands
  23. Mt Taylor
  24. Kismet, Manuka
  25. Rock Salt, Hawker
  26. Namadgi National Park,
  27. Tidbinbilla
  28. Braidwood
  29. National Library
  30. Essen Cafe, Civic (Great Coffee)
  31. Gus’ Cafe, Civic
  32. Adeche, Civic
  33. Indo Cafe, Civic
  34. Banana Leaf, Civic
  35. Canberra Hand Made Market, Civic
  36. Street Theatre, ANU
  37. The Gods, ANU
  38. PhotoAccess Gallery, Manuka
  39. M16 Gallery, Fyshwick
  40. Lavviz, Melba
  41. Barat’s, Belconnen
  42. Thai Foot&Spa
  43. Central Cafe, Queanbeyan
  44. The Q, Queanbeyan
  45. The National Film and Sound Archive
  46. The Parlour Room, New Acton
  47. Elaine’s Pies, Dickson
  48. Kaldi, Civic
  49. Book Lore, Lyneham
  50. Questacom, Parkes
  51. The Arboretum
  52. The Yacht Club, Yarralumla
  53. The Ottoman, Barton
  54. The Old Stone House, Bungendore
  55. Carrington Inn, Bungendore
  56. Gunna Doo Pies, Bungendore
  57. Lake George Hotel, Bungendore
  58. Bungendore Wood Works Gallery
  59. Murrumbateman Field Days
  60. Jeir Creek Wines
  61. Gallahger Wines (Great Wine)
  62. Poacher’s Pantry
  63. Pankhurst Wines, Wallaroo
  64. Ruchi, Belconnen
  65. Indian Affair, Civic
  66. Coppin’s Crossing
  67. Black Mountain reserve
  68. Wallaroo Wines
  69. Chairman & Yip, Civic
  70. Courgette Restaurant, Civic
  71. Silo Bakery, Kingston
  72. Delhi 6, ANU
  73. Pork Barrel, Parkes
  74. Book Plate, NLA, Parkes
  75. Lemongrass, Woden
  76. Belluci’s, Woden
  77. Mee Sing, Lyneham
  78. Suko Thai, Yarralumla
  79. Beaver’s Gallery
  80. Jerrabombera Wetlands
  81. Sage Restaurant
  82. Kingsland Vegetarian, Dickson
  83. Cholos, Dickson
  84. Two Sister, Lao Thai, Dicskon

There you have it. 84 places well worth going – to eat, drink, walk and play ūüôā

365 Places: Karangahape Road

Day 88: Karangahape Road, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

In an earlier post, I spoke about a forthcoming augmented reality project that I will be presenting as part of the ADA Mesh Cities Symposium in Auckland. The project titled Finding the Ghosts of K Road will explore Auckland’s oldest street, hopefully uncovering some of the ghosts of the past though the imagery of the old photographs of the streetscape.

Tivoli Theatre: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W1606
Tivoli Theatre: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W1606

Something that has been really wonderful about developing this project is the help and support I have received from some of my artist friends, who have generously shared stories about K Road. For example, Trudy Lane shared some very interesting information about some of her ancestors who lived in the area. The story below is very sad about the loss of a number of her ancestors. Trudy writes:

My Great Great Grandfather ‚ÄĒ Captain William Solloway Lane ‚ÄĒ died at sea in 1893, failing to return from a voyage to Tasmania. With him on board was his wife Lucy‚Äôs sister-in-law and her youngest sister. She was pregnant with twins at the time. 3 days after giving birth to them, Lucy died. One of the twins also died two days later.
Captain William Solloway Lane, died April 1893
Christina, born 11 April, 1893
Lucy Lane, died 12 April, 1893

In the material she sent me was a story of how this tragedy impacted the then small community of Auckland. I have transcribed this text from the images below:

This sad chronicle so moved everyone in the then small town of Auckland that people lined the streets from Ponsonby to Symonds Streets as the funeral cortege for Lucy Chiffinch Lane and her baby passed by.

Here are the images from Trudy.

Trudy also informed me about the work of historian Edward Bennett, who has done extensive research on K Road. I have subsequently been in touch with Edward and he has been a great source of guidance for the walk, and hopefully will be our tour guide on the day!

The walk is scheduled for the 12th September and will start at Artspace in Karangahape Road at 15:15.

Here is the map – in progress:

I am really grateful for being guided by the experts for this project, people who have an intimate knowledge of K Road. It really helps me to get a better sense of the place I am exploring, which I hope will result in a richer experience for people doing the walk.

It is not long until we will be in Auckland for the Symposium – can’t wait!

References
http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=HNS18930412.2.18&srpos=7&e=——-10–1—-0captain+lane–

The Soul of Nature: Alam Jiwa

Images: Garry Benson
Text: Garry Benson

Nyuh Kuning (Yellow Coconut Village)
For the 10th year I’m home – at blessed Alam Jiwa in the traditional Balinese woodcarving village of Nyuh Kuning. It’s just a short walk through Monkey Forest to Ubud, the world-famous arts and crafts capital of Bali.

Image Credit © Garry Benson
Image Credit © Garry Benson

Surrounded by shimmering rice fields with a view of sacred Mount Agung, the village is a showcase of traditional Balinese culture. Alam Jiwa translates as ‘the soul of nature’ and is a total of eleven beautiful two and three-story stone ‘apartments’ running along the border of the rice paddies.

Image Credit © Garry Benson
Image Credit © Garry Benson

The owners of Café Wayan, Ibu Wayan and Pak Ketut have created an ambience reflecting the beautiful nature of Bali. The secluded setting of the six Alam properties in Ubud and a hotel in the Gilis all feel like retreats Рyet also a connection to interact with Balinese culture.

Image Credit © Garry Benson
Image Credit © Garry Benson

It’s just a short walk from Alam Jiwa to the Monkey Forest, the home to over 300 macaque monkeys. The Balinese believe these monkey to be spiritual beings who are protective guardians of the temple ‘Pura Dalem Agung’. They have free reign in the village of Nyuh Kuning.

Image Credit © Garry Benson
Image Credit © Garry Benson

The overwhelming feeling of staying at Alam Jiwa is being part of a family. On arrival I’m always greeting with a huge vase of tropical flowers with a typical message ‘Welcome home to Garry Benson’. I know the staff and their families, and to see their eager faces and smiles when they welcome me back are wonderful.

Image Credit © Garry Benson
Image Credit © Garry Benson

My hour long morning daily walk in Nyuh Kuning village is always a buzz. After 10 years I know a lot of the locals who smile & wave and sometimes chat. Just one of the paved streets about half a kilometre long had a total of 126 different sculptures.

Image Credit © Garry Benson
Image Credit © Garry Benson

Each Balinese compound has its own temple dogs or guards, but the outstanding one for someone with a mudbrick house is this one. Beautiful stone mosaics, and dozens of small sculptures embedded in the walls.

The village is intentionally ‘house proud’ and the villagers vie with each other to have the most beautiful entrances. The main streets of the village abutting Monkey Forest are all paved and decorated, with a soccer field, a temple complex and local school. It’s almost a model traditional Balinese village and a wonderful place to stay, to walk around and enjoy the numerous restaurants etc.

Image Credit © Garry Benson
Image Credit © Garry Benson

It’s amazing that this traditional woodcarving village has such a wonderful array of stone sculptures, carved wooden doors and offerings, a constant joy to crazy photographers like me!

365 Places: Sanur Beachfront

Day 52: Sanur Beachfront, Bali, Indonesia

Today was our first day back in beautiful Bali and we spent a very relaxing day walking along the beach, getting a massage, swimming and eating some yummy Indonesian food.

While we were walking I photographed some of the interesting stone carvings, doorways and views of the beach. There are also a few pics of our gorgeous room at the Paneeda View Beach Hotel. Hope you enjoy ūüôā