two days in Valencia

Along the streets of Valencia you can see the legacy of many architectonic styles from the gothic, renaissance, baroque, neoclassic, modernist, to bauhaus, constructivism, brutalism, and… well some things by Calatrava too.

The city seems big but not too big, modern but not too modern, opulent but not too opulent, burgeois but not too burgeois. It has it all but nothing becomes invasive. It may be that it is January, but Valencia still seems to belong to its citizens and not to the tourists. And I long with melancholy for this to stay this way, despite being an impossible act of balance in a world of seismic schockwaves of tourism.

The defensive Torres de Quart in the west-end of the old city of Valencia were made for one clear purpose. Being there you cannot help but imagine soldiers loaded with bows and quills hurrying upstairs, dropping boiling oil through the outlet above the doors, atop the towers scouting the horizon with squinted eyes under the sun of the afternoon.

The building of the Lonja de Valencia feels at the end game of commercial opulence but still displaying its former functionality: the polished by use floor tiles, twisted solomonic columns, gothic arches. A photographic feast indeed.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, coal heating envelops the city of a particular smell and dust

the old town and the townspeople gone

Since the majority of native townspeople–being of German origin– had to leave the city of Cesky Krumlov in the middle of the 20th Century and the soviet years ignored it with contempt, this jewel of European Renaissance, turned asian tourism Mecca, struggles to redefine its “raison d’être”.

As the sun sets in the evening the unlit windows of the old town in the foreground tell me a sad story of forfeited past. A city who lost its townspeople, and became an empty shell preserved with UNESCO funds to one day hopefully rekindle life.