my travels to Salt Lake City and throughout the west were extremely jam packed with landscape sights and scenery. in every state, there was at least one view that astounded me, simply because it was something that i had never seen before in an urban environment. who knew that snow capped mountains and giant hills with monuments could surround a largely spaced suburban city? definitely not me! but i thought the landscapes of Salt Lake were so beautiful and inspiring which made me jealous of SLC´s residents. normally, i do not like suburban areas but the mountainscape created such an astonishing view for the city to become bearable. there was hardly any visible transportation on the ridiculously wide streets, multiple vehicles passed by the intersection every second, and there was at least ten feet from the sidewalk corner to an adjacent building corner. so much space! and it was an interesting difference from Syracuse, a mixed (sub)urban area. throughout the rest of the western trip, more mountains and wide canyons shaped expansive farmlands and grassy fields. most of my time was spent watching from the window of a bus (roadscapes!) and every half hour, the landscape outside would change. this timelapse of developing landscapes in height, function, form, material, measure, etc was absolutely fascinating and made me wonder who i would be if i grew up and lived in these areas. also, the bus view redefined topography when roads turned and circled around these mountains, giving perspectives of varied proportion. for me, it is hard to believe that these types of spaces exist especially since i have only really been exposed to eastern american nature all my life. during the entire trip, watching these ´natural´ roadscapes pass by was truly my most favorite pasttime. if you have not yet tried observing the roadscapes, you may find that it is better than watching television and/or listening to music. if anything, it is certainly worth trying and there is really so much to get out of just staring out into the space. next time you are in a vehicle, try interpreting the area and see what you find. how was this land formed? what once happened within this area? what can be done, redesigned? what potential do you see for this land?
first, i want to apologize for not being able to post as much this summer as i did last summer. despite being caught up entirely in my travels to Iceland this past summer, i still do have a lot to say about my experience with Reykjavík. i can´t stop thinking about my summer and all the fun that i have had, i really miss each and every little detail of my time in Iceland. because of this trip in Iceland and all the people i have met, i have discovered a possible future occupation for myself. Iceland has opened up my eyes to ecotourism, a subject that is not yet a word but holds so much potential for a green and promising sustainable future. ecotourism is simply a take on tourism but adding ecological practices and awareness of the landscape for interested tourists. last fall (2012), my studio worked on a semester long project on Montezuma National Park, focusing on different aspects of ecotourism. i had not realized how powerful and interesting this subject was until i actually got a chance to experience an Icelandic company manage the idea itself. although i worked as a marketing intern, i was still able to explore the country as an tourist and learn about ecotourism. looking back at the Montezuma projects we produced, i realized how important and beautiful ecotourism could be for landscape design and ecological distinctness. hopefully in the future, i look forward to traveling all over the world and continuing this message of ecotourism for everyone and the environment.
now, i want to talk about my study abroad requirement for my major. i know, it is the epitome of awesome. i posted about festival of places back in may (http://sigursaudfe.tumblr.com/post/49409478064/festival-of-places-2013-travels-included) and talked about my potential interests in Berlin, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic. this year, however, Cape Town, South Africa is on the list and i am beyond excited for this chance to experience Cape Town as a resident. since i am looking forward to studying ecotourism for the rest of my life, Cape Town is becoming the best place for this scene. not only does South Africa provide a large growth in tourism and economical benefit, but the country is surrounded by beautiful varied landscapes and ecosystems. compared to Iceland, South Africa is almost similar in its different environments in such a small space. i certainly look forward to viewing this space and finding recognized pieces of Icelandic home in Cape Town :)
as for other news, i have done some side traveling myself through school. as a class, we have taken numerous field trips to select areas all over New York state for various projects. these trips are interesting because they keep revealing new aspects of New York to me constantly. every time i think i know what New York state is inside and out, a different perspective is shown visibly and surprisingly. this is what i get from living in Manhattan my whole life! ;D some of the places i visited with my class include CIcero, NY; Canandaigua/Brewerton, NY and Cazenovia, NY. pictures of these locations are at my studio assigned website of victoriakam.weebly.com, so feel free to check them out! also, our studio class took a weekend long trip to Boston, MA so i may have pictures from that experience again too! we did not attend as many events as i had with my mother back in winter 2012, but i had a different experience with my classmates. we also lived in a holiday inn somewhere in Cambridge which definitely marked my time in Massachusetts of fall 2013 as a new one. i will discuss my experience with colleagues in another blog post soon. thanks for reading and sticking around! :)
Seine River is an incredible body of water, since it stretches from Source-Seine of northeastern France into the English Channel (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seine). water has always been a source of comfort and relaxation in designs, due to its peaceful movements and sounds. however, i did not realize how much it drew people together until i visited Paris. of course, the design structure of the Seine River itself has multiple reasons to this one extraordinary factor. the River carries throughout Paris and divides multiple islands of the city from each other, thus causing people to explore and observe how to reach these different lands. overpass bridges from one island to another connects travelers and also displays viewpoints down towards the water. people are welcome to sit and enjoy passerby, street entertainment, and other views across the bridge. one of the more beautiful aspects of water and the River itself is the reflection of light, of course. in image three, the sun is slowly setting which creates yellow hazy glows floating off of the surface onto faces of those passing through. this natural activity produces psychological relaxation and appreciation for aspects of true nature in an urban environment. sunsets are usually affiliated with seascapes or suburban settings but improvising the sunset on a river surrounded by buildings and bridge overpasses can both bring thoughts out of the city and into to the city while respecting those two spaces together. this beautifully structured river is truly an amazing work of art and should be varied in other cities as well. no wonder those parisians are so carefree in their choices and freedom; they are exposed to these spectacular sights every day :) Seine River also poses as the main transportation route throughout the city for all types of water vessels. the River alone can be hierarchy to main streets simply because it carries directly throughout the city. of course, parisian streets are more used than Seine River but a direct path route within the entire city is not easily attainable. but it is interesting how boats and ferries traveling along Seine River will view different perspectives of Paris extensively from the water. lastly, these specific water landscape perspectives appear to change significantly in terms of infrastructure, people, water, buildings and other elements around the River. as seen in image two, the bridge overpass has a cross wire design atop concrete blocks, which represents a form of later technology regarding cleaner and different materials. this bridge is a wild comparison to that of the bridge seen in the background of image three. although the light changes visual perception of the bridge, the structure is still a physical stone structure without any other visible materials. the bridge shows an older portrayal of material and aesthetics, thus producing views along Seine River as a transcendent timeline of not only structural and object change but also cultural, industrial and social change. Seine River shows various important facets throughout time which is something that is shown in many designs but should just be as visually exemplified.
well, it has been three days since i have left Iceland after staying for three months and i cannot describe how much i miss the country. i am sitting here in my parents´ apartment in New York City and continuously dreaming of stepping out onto the calm streets of Reykjavík again. i have never felt as drawn to a place as i have to Reykjavík and it may most likely be because of the new environment and ideas of making steps toward change. growing up in Manhattan with billions of people can force kids to become independent at an extremely young age. that experience is capable of making people dwell on being alone all the time and then wanting to become alone all the time. this is not the case in Reykjavík- people travel in groups everywhere and thrive on being among others all the time. moving from one of the largest cities in the world to a small city in a country with a population of 320,000 was one of the greatest and most influential choices i have made in my life. i would not consider myself an extremely social person but this change helped me expand my personality around a completely different environment thus enforcing the concept of how change is always good and sociologically beneficial. this entire discussion is probably confusing and without purpose but in order to pin down the reason why i loved living in Iceland so much was probably the beautiful difference of the repetitive environment i lived in up until high school. it is true that i was alone most of the time during my stay in Reykjavík, but i enjoyed it because of the country´s spectacular culture, language, customs, spirit, etc. i met some incredible people at the bars, clubs, work, on the streets, tours, and in passing. i lived with some very interesting people that helped change my perspective on how to live outside of a regularly comfortable space. it may sound so difficult and so hard to get used to but in reality, these hard hitting impacts can mold your outlook and help you expand in so many variations. if any of you are ever given the chance to live in another country all by yourself, go for it. constantly consider building yourself as a person everywhere you go and use that to your advantage. after looking over all of this text, it would seem that i was just be easily influenced by my experience in Iceland but i really do value my time spent in that country. i am willing to travel everywhere and feel the same way i do about Iceland for every country. but i cannot stress this enough: change and difference is healthy and helpful; go value and treasure those chances in life.
so sorry for all these empty promises - meant to write extensively about travels throughout Iceland but failed to have any type of energy. maybe the trip is finally catching up to me haha after the end of my first week in Reykjavík, Iceland! within the first four days after arriving, i was given the chance to explore the city. most of the time, i visited museums and walked aimlessly along the streets. in fact, i tried to visit at least one museum per day :D i started with the Icelandic Phallological Museum (www.phallus.is) on the first day and the curation was astonishing! the first image is of a giraffe penis, one of many other animal body parts viewed within the museum. on the second day, i went to the Volcano House (volcanohouse.is) which displayed volcanic rocks in such remarkable ways that all detail within each rock is captured, as seen in image three. for the third day, i visited the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum (www.artmuseum.is) which was being renovated so I got free admission! all of the sculptures were exquisite and had incredible meaning with familial relationships and gender equality, seen in image four. afterwards on the same day, i headed over to the National Gallery of Iceland (www.listasafn.is) to view their landscape painting exhibits called ‘treasures’ and other fascinating exhibits including work from artist oppy de bernardo. many of the landscape paintings captured intricate details in color palettes which was mesmerizing to view for each work of art, especially if there was a lot of variety of colors in each painting. one particular piece by þórarinn þorláksson stood out to me in with each of those elaborate aspects (image eight). many of his paintings filled the walls in that particular exhibit which really helped viewers become lost within the brushstrokes and lightings. the museum even had a childrens’ section in which kids could interact with each other while creating pieces of art, which seemed especially interesting simply because the museum was not exactly a large space. however, after walking around Reykjavík and observing the commmunity, i noticed that the majority of the residents were young families. it is definitely interesting how Reykjavík itself has developed into a very strong family oriented urban area, which is not uncommon but maybe different from what i thought of at least the entire city. on the fourth day, i went to the National History Museum of Iceland (www.thjodminjasafn.is). this museum covered the migration of vikings to Iceland and how their civilization developed in various environments through religion, politics and social behavior. i really enjoyed the details of the structure and how the curation played into the various subjects. some topics may have seemed a bit dry but after speaking to my roommate about the museum, he believed that the exhibits really described the whole progress of the country´s structure which could help anyone understand all of Iceland a lot more. however, my favorite part of the museum was the visiting exhibit of knitted pieces from the Home Industrial Company, or Heimilisiðnaðarfélag Íslands (www.heimilisidnadur.is). after hearing about lopapeysas and seeing a billion pictures of them, it was nice to actually see some in person in both human and mannequin form, seen in image five. i also quite enjoyed studying the different patterns and colors for each sweater. overall, this post is way overdue but visiting museums in a blind rush is how i usually go about traveling and am so glad I made it a point to see each one within my first week of arrival. if you ever come to Reykjavík, definitely go visit each of these museums; you will appreciate all of it!
out of all the destinations my family and i went to on cruise Carnival Miracle (summer 2012), the city of Nassau is the most urbanized which would make sense since it is the capital of the Bahamas and located on the island of New Providence. after visiting the other two port stops, Nassau’s city development combined with exotic beaches created an ethereal landscape. luckily, my dad and i were able to view this stretch in the best way - riding segways up and down boardwalks and exploring open field lots, as seen in image four! the vehicle was really hard to maneuver at first and i struggled with staying in vertical positions without falling dramatically, which meant that i never let go of the machine no matter which way it threw me. there were also some weird worm bugs from the open lots that latched onto my clothes and skin whenever i got close to the ground, which was basically every time -.- they were particularly interesting simply because they resembled inchworms with mouths; one end would literally part in half and then close entirely in simultaneous patterns. my dad freaked out because he “saw the parasites on discovery channel and knew they could burrow into my skin and live off of me.” i wasn’t going to take any chances so we picked off all of them before any full on commitment was made. as for the rest of the city, Nassau had a lot of european influenced structures such as french balconies and random assortments of classic lamp posts. with a history involving fires caused by spaniards, occupances by both spaniards and french and then by english and americans, Nassau was bound to have a variety of different cultures mixed into the landscape. before my dad and i went on our little segway excursion, we visited the Pirates Museum (http://www.pirates-of-nassau.com/museum.htm) we were joined by a very friendly tour guide who acted as captain blackbeard and he let us go into the Museum for free, so nice! unfortunately, i do not have any pictures of our explorations in that space. despite all of these secretive european influenced structures, there were also many traces of american styles in the city as well. our first encounter to american style included the Government building in Parliament Square, seen in image one. this building is of neoclassical style and was created under the impact of loyalists from southern United States. despite american traits, the building’s front entrance still had a very lovely display of various european representatives, including queen elizabeth ii and christopher columbus. one other famous building in Nassau is the extravagantly classy Crystal Palace Casino (http://crystalpalacevacations.com/). my family and i did not visit this building, although i am positive they would have loved it. after seeing some pictures on the casino’s website and online, i would love to go too! just to catch the beautiful views. last of all is everyone’s favorite unique chain restaurant, Señor Frog’s! shown in image seven (http://www.senorfrogs.com/) apparently this restaurant is also in the United States, but i have only seen it on port stops on cruises. however, i have only eaten there once and it was a free meal along with the chosen excursion. their food is pretty decent from what i remember, although the restaurant is more geared towards bar hoppers looking for a fun time. unfortunately, i was always too young to join in the adult related excitement. i hope to visit Nassau again someday, maybe to gamble away at the Crystal Palace Casino or grab a meal and drink at Señor Frog’s, just to experience something i heard everyone talk about once they got back onto the boat. maybe that’s why cruise trips are so special, they create idealized vacations that really take people out of their regular everyday environment and take them for a spin on freedom. for a week, we can explore these chances and have a time of our lives. cruises are much more exceptional than people make them out to be. here’s to endless days of sunshine, sand, food, exhilaration in the near future :D
festival of places 2013: travels included Santiago, Chile; Prague, Czech Republic; Berlin, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Lisbon, Portugal; Ponce, Puerto Rico; Barcelona, Spain; Oyster Bay, New York (USA) and Buffalo, New York (USA). i previously mentioned this SUNY ESF event two months ago in an update post (http://sigursaudfe.tumblr.com/post/43201801587/lost-iphone-and-new-travels). this is the first and only year i have pictures of the festival, although i highly regret it because the event comes out to stunning results each time. instead of taking photos with a regular camera and changing the blog context of only iphone photos, i decided to take photos of the event’s decorations long afterwards. fortunately, many of the students kept their artwork created for the event. above are some images of how the students went about representing their study abroad location. i’m not sure where the two pictures of statues are from in the fifth image but i am guessing Lisbon, Portugal (?). the graffitied post is from the Berlin, Germany group; the BCN sign (image four) and “l’ovella negra Barcelona’ sign (image eight) are from, of course, Barcelona, Spain; and the papier-mâché cow is from Prague, Czech Republic - although this cow was made many years ago by another Prague group from a previous festival of places event. the way these artistic structures are placed now represent memories and sense of loss in its new environment, an environment that was not originally meant for these items. no one is looking at these pieces anymore but they still trigger pieces of memories from that one event two months ago. they are still special to those who traveled this past fall and those who built the sculptures. to me, they are special simply because my future in two years are founded off of these next travels and events. but the memories and photographs are what helps keep these images alive and special. festival of places is a wonderful six hour gallery exhibiting those emotions and making sure detail is vibrant in mind. this occurence is more or less why i keep a blog of all travels - it helps keep my remembrances existent and continuous forever. i love that people read these pages and yearn to make their own/gain some new influences and impacts from travels. i also read other travel blogs to determine my next goals of where i would like to go and what i would do, just so that the memories of travel will always build but nothing will disappear. thanks again for reading, everyone - i truly x10 appreciate what travels make of memories and so glad that discussion of spaces can somewhat encourage all of these factors.
yesterday, my construction materials class had a field trip to Franklin Square in Syracuse. Franklin Square is a residential and commercial community that used to be a former industrial neighborhood (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Square,_Syracuse), which is interesting because these types of communities are usually extremely privatized, but both the trees and renovated industrial buildings create a magnet for old styled landscape lovers; thus counteracting the idea of communities. our time during the trip was spent mostly in the centrally placed plaza area which clears a space for interesting perspectives of these industrial buildings and expanse trees. although the plaza presents beautiful atmosphere with its ornamental pear trees and bradford pear trees, both plant structures have unfortunate distinctive smells of semen and rotting fish. however, the gorgeous views the trees provided made up for such scents. another fascinating aspect of these trees is the accumulation of fallen petals stretched across road edges and inconspicuous corners. the petal colors create a hidden line that constantly defines the entire space as well as initiate acknowledgement of familiarity and recognition. these plants are most noticeable during springtime and will eventually represent types of homeland for Franklin Square residents. also, another factor is how the color of the pear trees reflect against the skies of Syracuse. despite the change in weather, the city usually throws in a mix of stormy skies and clear blue skies within a few hours. this could also just be my camera, but the contrast between bright pink against blue (image one) to white against light grayish white could change and reflect any emotion evoked within the landscape but still provides that excellent view. lastly, our professor talked about the use of different materials identifying change and pattern in the space as well as how the pergola defines light and relaxation. it would be intriguing to see the pergola structure within a wintry landscape, especially since the trees would be barren but can still be viewed through the pergola gaps. lastly, the seventh picture shows some black lichen on a rock wall structure along Onondaga Creek near the Square. we did not get to talk about this lichen but the fungi was quite solid and smooth. none of it fell off after touching the weird bumpy texture which made me wonder how long the lichen had been there and how much longer it would last on the rock. amongst all of these intricate details within Franklin Square, it is safe to say that the residents are extremely lucky to live in such an incredible space! i hope to live someplace like the Square someday :)
my sister kat is a music business major at New York University and has been attending many concerts in the city this past year. i have accompanied with her to three of the most impressive and exciting concerts in my life, the xx at Terminal 5 in first row (summer 2012), of monsters and men at Terminal 5 in second row (fall 2012) and purity ring at Webster Hall in third row (winter 2013). concerts are interesting because they include various types of people of all ages and personalities. at the xx concert, kat and i stood in front of this one girl that complained about everything; being in close vicinities with other people, waiting for the performance, people she thought were annoying. aso she openly and loudly stated that she was ‘so glad she didn’t have to pay for the concert’. and at the of monsters and men concert, there were so many extremely excited people of all ages (even some <10 kids!), but the majority was mostly teenagers of high school variety. i would say that of monsters and men is the most well known and performance advertised band out of the above three maybe due to their single of ‘little talks’ on itunes. but that first statement is debatable, there is definitely a large appreciation crowd for each of these bands :) personally, i have known of monsters and men the longest and the best but that is only because they are from Iceland (!!!) and most of their songs and nonmusical activities portray Icelandic epithets. one of their opening acts was sóley, who is also from Iceland! her accent was purely adorable and she was so sweet. but everyone in the audience got way antsy and started talking during her songs, which made it hard to listen and appreciate the performance. it was a shame, because i really love her songs and wish i could have heard it clearer, especially since kat and i were in the second row. there was so much energy during of monsters and men’s performance; everyone sang along and the bandmembers led, entertained and encouraged us to rejoice in their melodies. lastly, purity ring was also extremely impressive especially in their instrumental set up; they created a beautiful light show that synced with their music. i actually have videos of these performances, i will definitely put them up when i get the chance! the group’s ability to create a musical lighted soundscape was not only ethereal but also admirable and inspirational. if any of these bands are performing soon nearby, please go see them! all of them cover combinations of genre so there is no excuse ;) there won’t be any regrets, i promise!
Muir Woods is quite indescribable. this national park was featured in the most current planet of the apes film with james franco and freida pinto (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1318514/?ref_=fn_al_tt_4), which i saw after i went to San Francisco in early summer of 2011. although the film showed beautiful scenes of the park and city, it did not capture underlying essence of Muir Woods as a whole. upon entering the park, my great aunt and uncle drove me and my mother along a path with constant winding ridges with unbelievable views. unfortunately, i did not consider at least taping the drive which is a shame because all of my pictures did not come out to par. but there are still many remarkable landscapes within this exceptional park, a place i still consider as one of the most extraordinarily magical places in the States despite the fact that i have not visited a large portion of North America. for one, Muir Woods holds a large collection of redwood trees that resemble tall, overbearing giants reaching out towards passerby. each giant parents collections of elves that travel aross mossy rocks placed significantly along Redwood Creek seen in the first image. these elves live within small huts located inside redwood tree barks and communicate in spaces underground. Muir Woods hides its magic from viewers but the national park’s powers are clearly visible in its stunning landscape. my great aunt and uncle could not understand what was so mystifying about each particular tree as i ran back and forth along the pathways and snapped multiple pictures of each tree. “they are all the same!” they exclaimed. i agreed to disagree; seeing how the trees transform and evolve develops different personalities for each one. i admire the lumpier bumps in the fifth image and upturned roots intermixing with ferns and other types of plants in the second image. according to Muir Park’s website thorugh the national park service, (http://www.nps.gov/muwo/), the trees range from 800 years old to 1200 years old. the forms these trees have taken over the years have caused them to split into halves (image six), grow variious mosses (image seven) and fallen onto the forest floor, which Muir Woods keep in order to provide nutrients for wildlife and well as absorbing rainwater. even if the trees are no longer standing, they still play significant roles in the landscape and for the park’s habitats. imagery of life and mysticalities are everywhere and although these pictures capture a lot (even a ginormous banana slug in image eight!), visiting this park is so much more worth the shock factor. and it is only seven dollars upon admission ;) not bad for an extremely beautiful national park.