A first visit to the wetlands in Cardiff Bay, a bit of bird spotting to do.
The Mallard Guard, they will not pass.
A grebe, crested, I think..
After the spot the bird walk, over to the Millennium Centre for an unusual concert but not before clocking this guy on the wall. The apparent fire was caused by the spot lamp/sun combination giving him light. Is the Welsh Dragon a he? Could well be a she.
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales has it's very own recording /broadcasting come concert hall in the Centre, The Hoddinott Hall. The performance we listened to was part of the Vale of Glamorgan Festival for which the classical concerts feature only the works of living composers. This can throw up some most unlikely combination of performers. For us, a Frenchman Alexandre Bloch conducting a Welsh orchestra in a piece by a gentleman from China, Qigang Chen. Oh, and a Welsh choir for sake of completeness.
Well, it seems that I have been making model buildings for longer than I thought. Brother Mark and I were into construction from very young, as evidenced by this pic he sent me recently. These we made for our model railway.
The recently refurbished home of the Girl with the pearl.
Here she is. The actual painting.
On the opposite wall, another of Johannes works, View of Delft (1660 - 1661: "He took a turbulent reality, and made it look like Heaven on Earth.")
The Mauritshuis was built between 1636 and 1641........ that is 377 years ago. OK, the building was extensively damaged by fire in 1704, but hey, the place is not leaning over and is as impressive a place to be in as the amazing art it is home to.
This modest looking building house's one of the most extraordinary works of art, a 360 deg panorama, 14 mts high and 120 around.
The work was created by Hendrick Mesdag with his wife Sientje plus three other local artists, Bernard Blommer, George Breitner and Theophile de Bock. Together they completed this work between March 1881 and August the same year, an amazing feat by any measure. What I particularly found endearing was the reason driving the urgency to complete the endeavour. Den Haag council were proposing to 'develop' the area pictured, the dunes and the fishing village of Scheveningen, a local beauty spot. Hendrick as not a happy bunny about the impending desecration of this scenic place and put brush to canvas to protest. His effort prevailed. Respect!
A detail from the painting. In the foreground real sand, fishing net and anchor. Turely amazing.
A day in the city. Trams galore, I have never seen so many on the move.
The railway station seems to be the centre of it all and one of Amsterdam's most impressive buildings.
As you fight your way through the crowds, you cannot help but notice that most of the buildings lining the streets are a bit out of kilter.
With the streets occupying less area than the water, or so it seems, and the 'ways' than man can walk being divided in to pavement, cycle, road and tram lines with no obvious barriers in between, you have to keep your wits about you all the time.
The Van Gogh museum on the left, the Rijksmuseum behind, niether of which we got to visit as the tickets were sold out for the next two days. Lord knows what the city is like in summer. Not a place for a claustrophobe, that's for sure.
The town square with market in full swing. And, no, that is not the next rocket to Mars, despite appearances.
Where your front door opens on to water.
The Little Street. Johannes Vermeer was born in Delft in October 1632, and whilst non of his original works are to be found here, there is a museum with copies of his paintings accompanied by explanations as to how he produced them. Also the messages conveyed, hidden in plain sight, contained.
Most interesting for me was the multiple perspective he used in complosing the image.
As an example, three vanishing points were used to construct this piece. Some of the 'messages' in his paintings were also fascinating to read. Vermere Centrum in the St. Lucas Gilde building, well worth a visit if you are ever in Delft.