miércoles, 27 de junio de 2018

Places, Time, and Friends.

Albi, Millau, Nimes, Arles,

and lots of towns in southern France.
Its countryside alone but cultivated.
The nut and Oriental plane trees,
aligned along both side of the roads,
one tree every 4 or 5 meters

The Roquefort area

where boxwood is a wild harsh bush.
The high caussades or plateaus,
and the deep valleys,
like the Gorges du Tarn.

My dear friends in France,

Francoise, and Francois,
family, friends, travel and work,
Alice and Paul, recently wed,

Paris, its parks,

the Tulleries and Versailles,
Brancusi's atelier next to the Pompidou,
Marly neighborhood,
the Saint Chapel,
probably one of the best interior I have enjoyed,
together with the Pantheon of Agrippa
that Hadrian built to honor him in Rome,

The banks of the river Seine,

The Louvre collection of Cycladic Art
Egyptian toys of the times of the pharaohs,
and Assyrian Giants,

The Celtic endless lines of menhirs in Carnac, Brittany

Italian gardens,

Castel Gandolfo (that I have seen only in TV)
Il Giardino di Boboli in Florence,
the gardens next to Lago di Garda
and the banks of the river Arno in Rome,

Most of the houses of Palladio...

in the north, or in Mira near Venice,

I am sad to say I do not know Milan,

find too many tourist and non-Royal city life
in Florence and Venice,

Roma´s suburbs very ugly and full of cars,

except for the Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli,

Napoli too folkloric like Andalusia in Spain,

Sicily, for me unknown is very attractive,

its Greek temples in the midst of nature still intact,
as is the adobe architecture in Mali or Yemen,
that I enjoyed in books,
as Rick Joy houses in southern USA,
or Rural Studio's works in many places,
Katsura Imperial Villa in Japan,
or the Cistercian Abby of Le Thoronet, in France,

The Parthenon will never be too obvious,

Athena's Cycladic Art Museum,
the island of Sifnos walls,
its hills of aromatic herbs,
the cicada's call under the summer heat,
the empty marble sand beaches,
and the Geometric Tombs
in the island of Naxos,
crossed by marble paths,

Greek music and coffee in bars,

And in Meteora,
monasteries atop the hills,

The Khan Al - Khalili market,

and the Ibn Tulun Mosque, in Cairo,
The Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqarah,
the Temple of Aswan and the upper Nile river,
and the oasis of Siwa, in Egypt,

In the Marrakech Souks Morocco

the adobe towns in Ourzazate,
the palm groves in the many oases south of the Atlas,
that I crossed off-road one night
in a small rented Honda car,

The palm silk Bedouin carpet

that my son brought me as a gift,
when he had given away all his belongings even his shoes,
to people he considered poorer than him,

Carpets, that by night are tent's roof, walls and floor,

and by day camel saddles,

A donkey that crosses vastness,

its hoofs seem not to touch the ground,
its driver sitting across looking sideways,
like one who is not riding at all,

The walls of Aran an island in front of Scotland,

another place that I only know in books,
the wonderful paths opened up
in the Welsh and British country sides,
the mystery visible in Stonehenge,
and in the giant horses of Salisbury's hills,

The London markets at dawn,

the bars where they serve grilled lobster
or the best steaks out of New York's Palm restaurant,
or Tuscany's truck drivers picks along the roads,

The British Museum collections,

the toy store at Regent Street,

The many Manor Houses gardens, all around,

Sir John Soanes' house in London,

My old friends in Cataluña:

Toñaco and Margarita, and their beautiful family,
his taking care of my brother and son,
when they needed most,

The island of Menorca,

where their white house stands
close to the sea and sandy cove beaches,
The deep harbor of Ciudadela and Mahón
one of the largest natural harbor in the world,
the white washed Mediterranean cubic houses,

The sea food restaurants in Barcelona,

our old studio in the Sarriá Dessert,

Toni Gomá, and our tours to buy LP's in Andorra

where we discovered Keith Jarrett, and ECM,
one of the best jazz music labels that I know,
or see movies forbidden in Franco's Spain
in Amalie Les Baines in France,

Carlos Miquel my first Catalan friend,

and partner in crimes against architecture,
when we mixed ignorance with too much work.
But shared also decency
to leave our good position,
to go back to basics and ethics,
and his beautiful wife, Maria Emilia,
-where are you now?-
who saved my daughter Paula
from drowning in Menorca
when she opened up the cap
of her inflatable lifejacket,

Carlos seems dead,

but he is only invisible to us,

Alberto Ezquerdo,

Jorge Roqué
Allois Linder, Ximena, and their beautiful family,
our out of ski treks and mountain trail,
our Christmas in Llesui,

Maria Carrera, farmer, writer and wise cooker,

who lives in Llesui,
a small stone middle age town in the Catalan Pyrenees,
where we use to go with family and friends,
very happy altogether,
as my two daughters and I remember so well,
and one can see in a pretty movie,
that Toñaco filmed then.

Camilla and Erwin Hamm, and their beautiful daughters

Charlotte and Clea,
-named after one of protagonist of the Alexandria's Quartet -
the unforgettable weekends at their house
in another small middle age town, Peratallada,
in the Alt Empordà, north of Barcelona,
talking around their generous table,
listening to j. j. Cale or Randy Newman,
and walking in the countryside
collecting wild asparagus…

The work and ethics of the Catalan architect,

José Antonio Coderch,
his Ugalde House in Costa Brava, Spain.

Francisco Medina, Paco,

and his three beautiful ladies in Madrid,
our enthusiasm to build a vine arbour
to cover up an 80 apartment building we did in Madrid,
with climbing plants,
together with Toñaco,
that its inhabitants now want to remove,
because they consider it too dangerous,
Oh God!

The sea food restaurants they call, Port of Madrid,

The Escorial, Philip II‘s palace next to Madrid,
the Prado Museum huge Velazquez paintings,
and Goya´s cry for life in his “dark" period,

Ribera del Duero Tempranillo red wine,

and Bread with Tomato,
everywhere in Spain,

Castilla's vastness crossed by the Road to Santiago,

Seville’s holy week,
the last great catholic rite still alive in occident,
evening tapas and the flamenco dancers,
the boxwood scented walled gardens
and old town squares quarters,

El Caminito del Rey,

a real beautiful land's art work, in Andalucia,

The palace of The Alhambra in Granada,

with its Ambassadors Lounge,

The Cordoba mesquite,

The Cartuja de Granada

where the monks talk
throughout their bells ding dong,

Dipoli Student's House in Espoo, Helsinki,

one of the most beautiful contemporary architecture I ever saw,
by Reima and Rari Pietilä,

Otaniemi's University Center in Helsinki,

and a Student's Housing by Alvar Aalto,
and the Krasge Chapel,
another interior full of suggestions,
in the MIT, Boston,USA,
by Eero Saarinen,

The wonderful Chapel of Resurrection in Turku,

and The Burial Chapel in Parainen, Finland
by Erik Bryggman,
with a glass wall overlooking a walled garden...

The Pavilion of the Nordic Nations

in the Gardens of the Biennale, Venice, Italy,
1958-62 by Sverre Ferhn.

The beautiful wood Finish and glass crafts,

The Danish, Swedish and Finish,

Falun Red painted barn and houses,

Isak Dinesen’s Oriental Tales,

The copper roofs of Stockholm,

the Swedish archipelago,

The island of Gotland in the Baltic sea,

where I sailed as a crew member of the Caleuche,
Hernan Cubillos' Swann 49' sailing boat,
together with Pete(Federico Gili),
Pato (Patricio Kelly),
and Huaso Piñeiro,
When I was 26...

In Mexico,

the Ball Courts, - Salas de Juego de Pelota-
at the Mayan cities of Uxmal and Chichen Itza in Yucatan,
and Monte Alban in Oaxaca, Mexico,

The monasteries' courtyards in Puebla, Oaxaca, etc.,

The Citadel,

and the system of squares that form the Avenue of The Dead,
in Teotihuacan, Mexico,

The Hotel Camino Real,

And its big golden high relief, by Mathias Goeritz,

His own house,

the Public Park and Fountains and Demonstration Gardens
in Gardens of El Pedregal,
the Plaza y Bebedero in Las Arboledas,
and a Nuns Monastery Chapel,
which name I can't recall,
all by Luis Barragán, in Mexico.

My friends in Monterrey and Puebla,

Cristina Montejo, Jesahel
Miquel Adrià,

Antonio Garza,

Gilberto Rodriguez,
all great architects,

Eduardo Padilla,

The Master who asked me the impossible task,
of lecturing students in Monterrey,
under a big photo of his friend Luis Barragán.
His son Ricardo Padilla,
and his three beautiful ladies.

The Coyoacan Neighborhood in Mexico City,

and the walled second story terrace
at a friend’s house there,

My friends in Palo Alto, California,

Bob Weir and Tita Weir,
the most generous ones.
One of a kind to say,
don't worry, we will take care.

The outskirts of San Francisco

the most beautiful place one can imagine
that does not end in awful suburbs,
like Rome, Paris or Barcelona,

San Francisco's Golden Gate,

and Bay bridges,
maany bridges in Portland, Oregon,
in Manhattan, N.Y.,
and in Seattle, Washington State,

As in England,

parks and water ways all around the USA,

My dear friends in Memphis, Tennessee,

Bruce Hopkins, his wife, his sisters
and especially his mother,
where we spent three months
for our youngest son treatment
when he was only four...
its beauty being to be kind and good
with the others they do not know.

The spirituals sang in the Baptists churches,

The big trees under which
the good is hidden,

In Cusco, Peru,

many of the last rural communities
that inhabit the land, may survive,
keeping exchange as a way of trade
without money
and the greed and speculation
that comes with it,
They save their hard work weaving textiles,
that take them sometimes two months.

Women are always weaving in beautiful places

overlooking the valleys,
and even spin the wool while they walk.

In Cusco, Peru, there is a culture

that understand territory as such,
and makes it human with sculptures
carved in situ all around in big stones,
It also makes fruitful a poor steep land,
building terraces, Andenes,
that gave name to the Andean Mountains,
and that one can admire almost up to the top of the hills,
keeping cultivated land from being wash
by heavy summer rains…

The best terraces or terraces, were built

only for the pleasure of cultivating flowers,
showing the Andean people,
their own splendor.

As is was shown in the main Cusco Square,

that it is said to have been filled with sand,
brought in Llamas backs,
fifty kilos at a time,
only because they will.

There is a lot to say about the Andean Highlands

in Argentina, Salta, Jujuy, etc
and about the Highlands,
and Chiquitanía lowlands
in Bolivia.

The endless Patagonian plans,

the shepherd, his poncho,
his horse, and his dogs,
his endless job,

the cold,

and after all of that,
the campfire, the roast lamb
and rounds of mate shared,
silence uninterrupted as cold,
friendship, or solitude,

The puesteros, men that live in posts,

huts in remote areas of Patagonian sheep farms,
all alone except for their horses and dogs,
what an exceptional world they are!

Hudson reflects it in his book

“Days Of Leisure In Patagonia”,

The great horseback rides with my sons.

At first in Chile's Araucanía, a vast lake country
where we had a house, Quinta Chucao,
at the Calcurrupe river mouth in Lake Ranco.

Later in the remote vastness of stay Las Cumbres

wich belong to Chicho Vidal, a gaucho
who used to see extra-terrestrials landing there,

El Descampado de Atacama

or Big Atacama Open Space,
full of well kept secrets
in its absolutely dryness,
every human step engraved,
everything made saved forever
but dead,

But, there is water at the foot of the Andes,

where some Atacameño towns were built,
like Tulor, two thousand years ago,
or dead were mummified
more than eight thousand from now,
during the Chinchorro Culture,

The many rural neighborhoods or "ayllus",

dispersed in the Oasis of San Pedro de Atacama.

El Salar de Pintados,

its hillsides full petroglyphs,
giant figures made with stones .

And last but not least,

Chile’s Center Valley fruitful countryside:
our pré -salé or salt meadows sheep farm,
La Rinconada de San Juan Arriba,
next to the sea,
an hour and a half from Santiago,
an elected lonely and silent place,
without electricity or cars,
where we grill country poultry,
fish, tender lamb, or angus meat,
and potatoes, every evening
over the campfire,
watch stars,
listen to night birds or foxes
court or hunt in the dark,
stay in respectful silence
or talk over a glass of wine,
after a hot tub bath,
opened up to what may come:

the night

the rain
the wind,

still there is life,

I feel I have to say to myself.

Un abrazo,

Germán del Sol

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