Posts tagged “Outdoor Sculpture

Urban Garden.130

Welcome to a visual tour of Monte Palace Tropical Garden, Madeira. As these first photos show you, it’s a remarkable place with a tremendous mix of art, architecture and vegetation from many parts of the world. Seeing the old original hotel juxtaposed against classic Japanese torii-style temple architecture (as in one of these photos above) , I initially wanted to be snooty and think things like “what a hodge podge this place is.” Oh, for at least a minute or two, how my inner intellectual purist side SO wanted to go snarky critic 😊.

But…I could not. So in love was I with the beauty and loving care visible in every path, every fountain, every sculpture and corner of the garden, every bed of plants and each vista. So impressed with the range, breadth and sheer number and scale of plants, sculpture, fountains…everything…that I just wanted to stay there forever and enjoy the peace and beauty. It’s such an inspiring place, done with such care and attention (many employees visible everywhere, doing maintenance and gardening, running shuttles for those who want to visit but aren’t up for the walks up and down hill), that I was among many who clearly came away inspired with wonder and pleasure.

Its museum building houses two floors chock full of unique African Stone sculptures from Zimbabwe and elsewhere, of a style and beauty that I hadn’t yet seen at other museums or countries I’ve visited – as well as a floor of geodes and other minerals for which I just didn’t have time. Its walks host a lovely series of commissioned (must be) tile art showing the historic kings & queens or Portugal plus its republics, as well as an overview of Madeira’s history, and then a dazzling range of contemporary and historic decorative tiles from around Portugal. These and more you will see in photo galleries below. Thus, the beautiful and unforgettable Monte Palace Gardens gets its own special entry and inspired me to revive my Urban Garden series even more than the other lovely gardens of Funchal had already prompted. (For those paying attention, you’ll notice here as well as in yesterday’s Botanic Garden post that those traditional A-frame houses from Santana also merit a place in each; and I still have more to show you from Santana itself, when I get caught up.) I hope you enjoy these photos even a small fraction of how much I enjoyed my five hours there.

Small Wonders.153

I’ve decided that when there aren’t so many flowers in bloom, small wonders can include lovely designer flourishes such as this statue – which I’m guessing must depict some fairy tale? – which adorns a bridge over a canal along one of my favorite walking and biking streets here.


Urban Entrances.51

Urban Garden.120

These are all from a lovely morning walk in the Wiener Stadtpark (Vienna City Park) before setting out on our longer exploration of the whole Schönbrunn complex. Our hotel was just next to this park, which is smack in the heart of the city. Seeing how many monuments with sculptures of Vienna’s great composers (including Schubert, below), or other artistic flourishes such as the other sculpture below — entitled “freeing the spring” (more or less) and apparently depicting two men working to remove a stone that’s blocking a well or spring — reminded me that quite aside from being for centuries an important center of power in Europe, Vienna was also / has also long been a leading center of culture for centuries. In that “spa” building shown above are frequent waltz events, the waltz being probably the form of music and dancing most closely associated with Vienna.


Urban Canals.104

City Views.125

A modern angel with a daytime moon, next to Zwolle’s 600-year-old church.

City Views.124

It’s Rotterdam, what can I say?


Urban Garden.83

City Views.81

City Views.65

Hi everyone – we’re back :-). We’ll kick off with more winter light photos, whether light as art and human ingenuity, or light as those rare blessed moments when the sun manages to cut through these cloudy, flat grey days here along the North Sea coast. You’ve seen these butterflies before, when I noticed them on a dawn bike to the office, shortly after the Amsterdam Light Festival opened for this year’s covid-affected version.

Having waited in hopes that some friend might want to walk the route with me, finally last Saturday I bought my online map and covered about 75% of these art installations on foot during a bloody cold walk for which I stupidly went under-dressed. Unlike many of the photographers I saw, I don’t have a tripod or a real camera…so pardon the poor quality. I hope the enjoyment I and the many other viewers clearly felt walking this route and taking in the many artistic celebrations of light will shine through nonetheless.

City Views.52

City Views.36

Turns out this Artzuid thing was already happening when I landed, and the day I finally noticed it was the second to last day! It’s Amsterdam’s (the Netherlands’s_ biennial outdoor sculpture exhibition, in parks belts along some lovely lanes not far from my place. Wish I’d found time to tune in before…guess I’ll try again in 2023 :-).


Lake Living.20

A Few Days in LA

Back in June, shortly after returning home from the task of clearing my mother’s house and depositing some of her things at my brother Steve’s house, I flew down for a couple days in LA. The main purpose was to visit dear friends and pick up a car from them, with which I then drove back home to the bay area and renewed my acquaintance with that quintessentially American experience, the long road trip in a big car on good roads with music blasting and the miles going by rapidly out the window. It was lovely. Even more lovely were the the (too) few days I enjoyed in LA with a few friends. Several hours one day were spent with a visit to the Getty Center, perched on its hilltop in the Cahuenga pass – the first time I’d been up there since a wonderful trip with Mom in early 2013, during which we watched an outdoor dance performance taking place all across the sprawling grounds and gardens. (See photos of that performance, and of Mom enjoying the grounds with our cousin Pat, here: Since then, they’ve added more outdoor sculpture around the gardens which I (and Mom) always loved…meaning she’d have loved it all even more now, so I made sure to enjoy it extra much in her memory :-). It was also pride month, and Santa Monica marked the occasion with seasonal lighting on the Third Street Promenade. Capitalism at its best, eh?