FRAGMENTS_ CCB in Lisbon

During my last visit to Lisbon, I made a quick stop at the CCB in Lisbon’s parish Belém.  I visited this cultural center once before, during my Erasmus in 2012, and absolutely loved it, so I couldn’t resist paying it a second visit after I discovered the MAAT.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go inside and check out the current exhibition (I had a plain to catch), but I did take a closer look at the architecture and was pleasantly surprised.  Due to the winter light, the building seemed to be dressed in soft pink tones, which worked beautifully with the CCB’s surrounding greenery and the building’s composition.  Just in case you have plans to visit Portugal’s capital, don’t forget to check out my city guide for more tips on what to do in (and around) Lisbon.

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FRAGMENTS_ the french west coast

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Our road trip from last summer brought us to the french west coast after we visited the impressive villa cavrois.  We barely made any plans for this trip (we literally decided one day ahead that we’d drive through France), but Etretat was on the top of our list right from the start. With its stunning cliffs (including several natural arches) it is a however one of the most popular destinations at the french west coast for tourists.  We had no desire to spend our night among the crowd, so we headed to a camping that still had a spot for our tent in the nearby village of Yport.  Boy, was that a good choice!  The campsite (and thus our tent) turned out to have a breathtaking view over Yport and its beach.  We spent our days here reading, indulging in crêpes and baguettes and exploring the beach and the typical French village, before we headed to Paris.  However, that’s for another post.  For now, I hope you enjoy these photos of our stay.  More photos of our trip can be found here on the blog or here on instagram.  Are you inspired yet to take a trip to the french west coast yourself?

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FRAGMENTS_ villa cavrois

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This summer, my friend Lies and I opted for a budget holiday, driving with our tent through the North of France, exploring both architecture and nature, while ending with a bit more luxury in Paris (hello hotel panache!), where we would meet up with our friend Eline.  The first stop on this roadtrip was Villa Cavrois, an impressive modernist mansion  located in Croix, just over the Belgian border.  This “modern château” was designed in 1929 by Robert Mallet-Stevens for the wealthy Paul Cavrois (a textile industrial), his wife Lucie and their seven children.  The architect also designed the entire interior of this 2800 m² mansion, and opted for luxurious materials such as marble and precious wood, while never losing sight of functionality.  However, after being occupied by the German army during world war II and an unsuccesful architectural intervention, Villa Cavrois was abandonned and vandalized.  Luckily the French state realized the value of this building and bought the property in 2001, with the goal of restoring it to its former glory.  13 years (!) of research and 23 million euro (!) later, Villa Cavrois is restored back into its original state of 1932 and open to the public. 

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FRAGMENTS_ botanical garden in Cologne

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It’s no secret that I’m rather fond of botanical gardens, so it shouldn’t surprise you that when I planned to visit Cologne, the first thing I looked up was if the city had a botanical garden.  Wandering through the lush gardens, exploring its stunning greenhouses and reading while enjoying these exotic vies turned out to be a perfect way to spend my afternoon.   What can I say, I just never get tired of botanical gardens!  So here are a few fragments of Cologne’s most peaceful hideaway, hopefully this dose of greenery brightens your Sunday!

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FRAGMENTS_ Kolumba

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Ever since I set foot in Cologne’s Kolumba museum five years ago, I’ve been in awe with this architectural masterpiece by Peter Zumthor.  When I planned to spend a couple of days in Cologne this summer, the first thing that popped into my mind was that I’d be able to revisit the Kolumba, which I still remembered as one of the most impressive buildings I’ve visited.  Curious whether or not it’d live up to my memories, I couldn’t wait to pay this museum for religious art a second visit.  Built on the ruins of a gothic church, the building forms a stunning play on the contrast between old and new, light and dark, matte and reflective surfaces.  Needless to say,  I was not disappointed by my second visit at all. 

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FRAGMENTS_ KölnSkulptur #8

FRAGMENTS _ Kölnskulptur #8 - Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles

This summer, I felt the need to escape our little country on my own for a few days.  When choosing my destination, I was looking for something not too far away so I could easily reach it with blablacar, not too expensive, not too touristic and preferably not in France, as I already planned to go there a few days later.  Keeping all of this in mind and considering tips from friends, I decided on Cologne.  I had already been there five years ago during a school trip, to visit what has become one of my favorite buildings, but didn’t really remember the city itself.  Cologne turned out to be wonderful and exactly what I needed. (Would you like to see a city guide?) I enjoyed the sun (36 degrees!), sipped on iced lattes, wandered the beautiful green streets of the city, caught up on my reading, admired that favorite building for the second time (I’ll show you the photos in a blogpost soon) and visited the most beautiful musea Cologne had to offer.  One of those was the Skulpturenpark, a parc that hosts biennial series of sculpture exhibitions.  The current exhibition, KölnSkulptur #8 will be on show until June 2017 and made quite the impression on me.  With works by Dan Graham and Sou Fujimotto among others, it’s no surprise that I shot nearly a whole roll of film here.  I hope these fragments of my visit give you an accurate impression of the hours I’ve spent enjoying this beautiful parc.

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FRAGMENTS_ Existenz Maximum 2015

FRAGMENTS_ existenz maximum 2015

Whenever Existenz Maximum takes place, I always try to make some time to see what the first Master of architecture students in Leuven have achieved, and it’s never a disappointment.  I’m just showing you a few fragments of last year’s edition in an abandoned school building (above left you see my photos at the expo about 20 years of Existenz Maximum) in hopes of getting you excited about the upcoming project week filled with architecture related lectures, workshops and good times.  Looking at the program that they just released, discovering this year’s edition is a must if you’re spending time in Leuven next week.   And while you’re at it… try visiting these places too.

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FRAGMENTS_ work/travail/arbeid

FRAGMENTS_ work travail arbeid - by Hannelore Veelaert via au pays des merveilles-1One of those little joys in life, to me at least, is picking up freshly developed photos.  The cashier handing that envelope over, your anticipation growing while you still have to pay, walking out the shop while trying to contain your curiosity, wondering how the photos of your endeavours turned out and which adventures you totally forgot about.

Ever since I started blogging again, I’ve been shooting less on film, which meant this particular roll of film took me quite a long time to finish and by the end I barely remembered what I had photographed in the past months.  One wonderful memory this roll of film brought to mind, was my visit to Wiels to see Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s  Work/Travail/Arbeid.  This particular project embodies a mix of an exposition and a performance, as she reinterpreted her work for Vortex Temporum to match the impressive space of the contemporary art institution Wiels.  Work/Travail/Arbeid was set up to be a nine hour performance where the dancers and musicians moved from space to space and that for nine weeks in a row.

I could have spent a whole day watching this performance, but I’ll have to do with the memories and these photos to relive this breathtaking experience.

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FRAGMENTS_ Portugal

FRAGMENTS_ Portugal - by Hannelore Veelaert via au pays des merveilles-22While I’m writing this from my new home (more on that later!), my latest trip to already seems so far away even though it’s been only three weeks.  As you might have seen on instagram, I traveled to Portugal to spend Christmas with my family in my parents’ holiday home and to reconnect with old friends in Lisbon, where I studied one semester.  Together with my parents and sister, we enjoyed the view from their home (see the first photo, taken from my bedroom), explored medieval town Obidos and treated our dog and ourselves to a refreshing walk on the beach of Foz do Arelho.

In Lisbon I met up with Jaka to catch up on everything that happened since our last encounter, stroll through the beautiful streets of the city that I love so much, drink coffee, do some reading in my lovely room for the weekend, relax and discover new places such as Café Da Garagem, with its stunning windows that offer a breathtaking view over the city.  (Speaking of discovering new places: I’ve update my city guide for Lisbon with my latest discoveries!)

After handling deadlines at work and struggling a little bit with my health, I decided to bring my film camera instead of a digital one, to give myself a true break from daily life and enjoy this beautiful country that feels like my second home to the fullest.   Lisbon always manages to ease my mind, but being able to leave everything behind for a short week gave me the necessary energy right before  moving into a new place.

While I’m slowly getting settled into my new home, I’m looking forward to get back to regular blogging again, especially since I still have a ton of photos and an interesting interview to share… Soon!

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FRAGMENTS_ The Sahara of Lommel

lommelse sahara - by hannelore veelaert via au pays des merveilles-7There’s a little piece of paradise in the east of Belgium: the Sahara of Lommel.  After a short walk through the forest, the pine trees reveal a breathtaking view on ponds surrounded by a sand plain, making it hard to believe you’re still in Belgium.  Surprisingly, this nature reserve was formed by the remnants of sand mining and pollution from a former zinc factory.  Its fumes caused the old vegetation to disappear and revealed a sand plain instead.  The current pine forest was planted to ensure that the sand plain wouldn’t expand and the old sand pits were filled with water, completing the stunning picture that is the Lommelse Sahara.

Although this location is often used as a background for photo shoots or movies, when my friend Lies and I visited, it was a particularly quiet day on the Sahara.  Combined with the moody weather (that later cut our visit short with a hail storm), the desolate plain and forest made for quite a photogenic walk.  If you’re still deciding on what to do this wonderful Sunday, I think I’ve made the decision a little easier for you… Lommel calling!

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