Showing posts with label architecture. Show all posts

Boston Public Library

We have been looking for a place that would appeal to adults and the kids. The weather forecast was hot and humid so we would prefer to be indoors. Since we are staying in the Back Bay area, we need something close. The Prudential Mall is out of the question. The Boston Public Library in Copley Square checks all that requirement.

Built in 1895, the library design is based on the Renaissance style similar to Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. It includes a large reading room and an open air central courtyard. It was the first urban library building in the nation.




MIT Museum and around Cambridge

There were so many museums to visit in Boston but we only can visit one for this trip. I don't want to cram all activities with kids in tow on a hot summer season. It is a recipe for meltdowns. I like to take my time looking at exhibits and read some facts or details on display.





We chose the MIT Museum in Cambridge. It would be a good reason to walk around the area beyond Boston. Another reason was to open up possibilities of learning science and technology for our kids.


Seen at Gyeongbokgung Palace


The Gyeongbokgung Palace was originally built in 1395, it was the royal palace and center of government during the Joseon Dynasty. It was destroyed by the Imjin War and was abandoned for two centuries. Later it was restored to its original design that incorporated the traditions of the Joseon era.


Gwanghamun gate. I have been here a couple of times but it felt like seeing this place with fresh eyes. I forgot how magnificent this place was.


Trip to Gyeongju


Before the Joseon dynasty, there was once an ancient kingdom referred to as Silla. It was composed of three kingdoms that unified the Korean peninsula. Gyeongju was its capital and it became one of the prosperous and wealthy city of its era. Political instability had contributed to its decline until it was succeeded by the Goryeo dynasty.


There were two options on travelling from Busan to Gyeongju, it is a choice between bus or train. You can easily catch the train from the Busan Train Station and the bus from the Bus station one subway stop from Beomeosa. If you ask me, it is better to take the bus since the bus station in Gyeongju is in the middle of town compared to the train station which is located on the outskirts. If you count local traffic, it is another 45 minutes of travel time.

After we got off the bus station, we are all hungry and would like to start our second leg of our trip with a full belly before heading back to Seoul. We chose this non-descript place that serve the usual Korean food. We ordered a simple Seafood Pancake and Tofu Stew. But while we are waiting for our main meal, here is the ban chan (side dishes) spread they provided us. This is local food at its best.


Beomeosa Temple

Beomeosa Temple means the temple of heavenly fish. It is said that a gold fish came from the sky and settled on the well on top of Mount Geumjeongsan.


The original temple was built 1,300 years ago until it was lost during the Japanese invasion in 1592. It was renovated in 1713 and became one of the most delicate architectures in the Joseon era.


Franciscan Monastery, Washington DC

Tucked in a quiet neighborhood in Washington DC is a Romanesque monastery. Completed in 1899, the Mount St. Sepulchre has 15 chapels and has grounds that were replicas of the Lourdes Grotto and various shrines of the Holy Land.



The Mount - Edith Wharton's former home



The Mount is a house museum in the Berkshires that is formerly owned by the novelist Edith Wharton. Built in 1902, she designed (with the assistance of Ogden Codman Jr.) this house based on 17th century design with Italian and French influences. The property has been declared as a National Historic Landmark and it is open to the public that welcomes 40,000 visitors each year.

Random Photo: Byodo-In Temple



Every time we were in Oahu, we make sure to stop by the Byodo-In temple. We walked around, rang the bell and fed the fish on the koi pond. Next time, I have to note that we need to bring an insect repellant. The mosquitos here are borderline aggressive.

Bonjour Paris: Day 6 (Last Day)

It is our last full day in Paris. We decided that this day should be a bit more relaxed and prepare for the long journey back home. It is also our last chance is getting souvenirs.

Our first stop was to pick up some sweets and chocolates.


Bonjour Paris: Day 5

After waking up refreshed and ready for a good bout of sightseeing. Our goal today is to visit as much of the iconic places and probably do some shopping.

First stop was the Eiffel Tower. It is my second time to visit the Eiffel Tower and it felt like I am seeing this place with fresh perspective. The first time was a night visit when we were on a Contiki tour. The bus dropped us close to the entrance. I didn't even recall how the area look like since it is dark and we were following the tour guide.



























The tower had lights that dazzles in the dark night. I remember looking up the whole time on our way to the elevator. We didn't notice the lines to go up and was probably on a fast track since we are part of the tour group. Once were done, we head back straight to the bus.

Korea series: Insadong

We woke up listening to a local news channel and heard that the Vietnam president is in town for a state visit. He was there for a proposed joint venture project with the South Koreans. Ho hum.

We got out of the subway in Insadong and the first thing we noticed was a motorcade with a limo in front with Vietnam and South Korean flags. Walking through the shops we saw a bunch of people staring at a small shop. We saw folks in suit with an earpiece and they look so serious. They finally started to move along and we saw a group of well dressed women shopping.It is expected that Insadong has been the first place to visit on most foreign dignitaries.

Insadong is the main art and antique district in Seoul. It used to be the a wealthy district during the Joseon era till the Japanese occupation. Wealthy residents were forced to sell their belongings and hence the district became an antiques alley.


Chez Dumas

Alexandre Dumas, the author of classic stories The Man with an Iron Mask and The Count of Monte Cristo built his dream home. It is a chateau of Gothic and Renaissance architectural style in 1846 where he entertained notable and illustrious guests in style.

Nothing much had been said to what happened to the property after the author died in 1870. But about a century later, the property was in the verge of destruction to give way to a large housing development. In 1970, a preservation committee was put together and restored the chateau in its former glory.

Ch√Ęteau de Monte-Cristo

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Back in 1903 a pastor named Reverend Goodwin in the nearby Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg had a vision of restoring the old colonial capital of Williamsburg in its former glory. He championed the cause and led a successful fundraising efforts in restoring old church and historic buildings. 

On one of the fundraising events he attended, he happened to sit in the same table with a wealthy philathrophist named John D. Rockefeller Jr. From that event, Reverend Goodwin was able to signed up the generous patron and he and his wife became the primary patrons of the historical restoration project which would become a foundation for Colonial Williamsburg.

Most of the original buildings in the historic area were non-existent and were burned down long time ago. The old colonial structure was reconstructed by using old architectural plans and made it look like how it was during its 1700's heyday.  

As the motto for Colonial Williamsburg: "The future may learn from the past."

The Governor's Palace.

Photoblog: The Getty Museum

Location: Los Angeles, California

A Richard Meier designed building. It has a great collection of European paintings and sculptures. Admission is free except for parking which cost about $15 but parking on Saturdays after 5 pm is free.


The Village Inn - Englishtown, NJ

We visited a historic house in Englishtown Boro that was originally built in 1726 as a tailor shop. Then by mid 1700's it was converted as a tavern. It used to have a reputation of serving one of the best fare in the area. It was a popular carriage stop that it became a major rest area when travelling from New York to Philadelphia.

A major historic event happened here where records show that General George Washington drafted the court martial papers for General Charles Lee in the Village Inn during the Battle of Monmouth.


Taken in the back area. The second floor was added early 1800's.


Trinity Church - New York, NY

If you are in downtown NYC, it would be impossible to miss the Trinity Church at Rector Street. It stands in front of the Wall Street area as it overlooks the New York Stock Exchange building.


A good impression - Princeton, NJ

From all those time that I lived in Central Jersey I haven't ventured out to Princeton University. I always heard of the ivy league school and was awed with its reputation. It hadn't dawned on me that walking inside the campus gives you the effect of transforming you on a different world. The more I walk around the campus, the more I want to know the university grounds and its history. Now that summer has just started, it might be a good idea to start.



The House on the Mountain


The only way Joe was able to convince me on going for a long drive to Orlando was to stop by Charlottesville, Virginia to visit the Monticello. It is known as Thomas Jefferson's masterpiece. He was one of the most influential people in American history having the one to draft the Declaration of Independence and the Louisiana Purchase and the founder of University of Virginia.

After serving as the 3rd President of the United States, he chose to retire in Virginia in a great mountaintop mansion that he designed and built. Monticello was originally designed following the English Georgian style till he came back from Europe. He completely changed the whole structure and followed the Neo-classical style which is popular during 16th century France and Italy.

After Jefferson's death, the estate was inherited by his daughter Martha whom sold it to a U.S. Navy officer till it was purchased back by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation.

The Monticello is open to the public, it now serves as a museum.


The plantation garden.

Casa Loma - Toronto, ON

Casa Loma means "castle by the hill", built by the Canadian financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt in the early 1900's. He is one of the richest businessman in his time and built the biggest house in Toronto.

After he lost his fortune from bad investments, he sold the Casa Loma to the Canadian government and auctioned off the rest of the furniture.

Exterior & Garden area


This reminds me of Scottish castle. You are allowed to climb up the servants area up to the tower.


Hearst Castle: Exterior

The Hearst Castle is one of the popular tourist destination in California. It was previously owned by the newspaper magnate, William Hearst. The castle is designed by Julia Morgan who was previously known as a pool designer. If you noticed, the outdoor pool is the best area in the property. Eventually, the design will be copied by the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.


Facade.