Beautiful Moroccan tiles and mosaics – A photoblog

Morocco is a beautiful country. The stunning Moroccan tiles and mosaics mesmerized us during our holiday. These ceramic patterns made every place we visited a total charm. find the best ones here.

Morocco is undoubtably a beautiful country.  From the delicious food, warm people, and stunning architecture, there is something for everyone to enjoy and appreciate.  What struck us and totally mesmerized us during our 17-day holiday were the beautiful mosaic tiles.  These ceramics, commonly called zellige, made every single place we visited a total charm.  It’s just one of the 1,001 reasons we loved Morocco.

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One of the many beautiful mosaic fountains in Fez, Morocco

This type of tile dates back to the 10th century, the zellige is a piece of historic art that originated in the old city of Fez, in Morocco and parts of Spain.  In fact, Fez is still known to produce tons of tiles and ceramic pieces that are sold all throughout Morocco and the world.  For our trendy readers, the tiles have actually made a comeback over the last few years, so feel free to decorate your whole place in intricate geometric patterns and vibrant colours.  We know we sure will when we have another home one day.

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The hypnotic patterns on the walls and floors of the mosque in Morocco

We say the tiles are mesmerizing, because the signature Moroccan look is a web of complex geometric shapes in vivid colours, placed in a geometric pattern.  They incorporate a variety shapes that join together in a mathematical fashion, often, surrounded by a very symmetric frame.  They create a hypnotic effect, almost like a kaleidoscope.  Why all these mosaic patterns?  Because according to Islamic tradition, you could not portray living things in the rules of design.  Plus, the mosaic tiles act as an beautiful backdrop for meditation and religious ceremonies.  Win-win!

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A fountain in the ablution room of the Hassan 2 Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

Back in the day, the colours were your basic white and brown.  But today, you find mosaics, tiles and ceramics in all the colours of the rainbow.  Or actually, mainly in the colours that represent the four elements – fire, water, wind and earth, so basically, in tones of brown, white, green, saffron, blue and black being the signature hues.

Zellige is known as “the prince of tiles,” and can be viewed inside ancient tombs, palaces and temples throughout Morocco.  Still today, these patterns are regarded as a symbol of sophistication, wealth and power for royalty and religious establishments.  We sure saw a ton of it throughout the country, and can’t wait to decorate our next home in this style.

The beauty around Fes

Intricate details on a door Fez Morocco

Carvings on wall fez morocco

Yellow blue zellige Mosaic fez morocco

Star zellige mosaic fez morocco pattern

Zellige mosaic details floor fez morocco

Yamanda Fez riad mosaic details blue white morocco

Yamanda fez riad carving details patterns morocco

Yamanda fez riad lamp pattern details morocco

morocco pattern on doors mosaic

Bahia Palace, Marrakech

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic ceiling

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic carving ceiling

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic floor

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic pattern wall

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic pattern

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic pattern zellige

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic fountain

Hassan 2 Mosque, Casablanca

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco chandelier details

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco mosaic patterns

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco carving details patterns

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ceiling dome

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco arch details

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco arch hallway

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco fountain

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco zellige mosaic details

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ablution entrance

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ceiling details

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ablution hallway

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ablution fountains arch

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco hallway

Hassan 2 mosque door sun casablanca morocco

Mosaic details hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco

Hassan 2 mosque door casablanca morocco girl on phone


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Spanish architecture – a photoblog

There are so many reasons we fell quickly in love with Spain, even if we only spent a short time. One of the main reasons was for the Spanish architecture. Gothic, renaissance, modern, whatever you are into, you will find it here.

There are so many reasons we fell quickly in love with Spain, even if we only spent a very short amount of time there on our holiday with Derek’s parents.  The amazing food (holá tapas), the good wine (vino tinto por favor), the sweet people (¿Qué tal Maria?), the vibrant city life (la vida loca, claro) and above all, the Spanish architecture. Gothic, renaissance, modern, whatever you are into, you will find it here.

One of our favourite things to do when we get into a city is to walk around, usually in search of some cool street art.  There’s nothing better than exploring a city by foot.  It’s the perfect way to take in the sights, sounds and be truly immersed in the life of the city.  After spending 8 months in Asia where the best way to get around was on a scooter, using our legs was a welcome change.

Arch bridge Barcelona

To see the locals interacting with each other, the warm greetings in the morning, the laughs that get louder with each glass of wine, the knowing glances as mobs of tourists take over the same spot every single day.  To be part of this is really amazing.  What could add more to the beauty of these magic moments than the stunning backdrop.

We spent about 10 days going through 3 cities in Spain: Barcelona, Valencia and Málaga.  We walked through the cities, taking it all in and falling in love with the beautiful architecture.

We’re even talking about Gaudí’s masterpieces like the‎ Sagrada Família or ‎Casa Batlló in Barcelona.  We’re not even thinking about Calatrava’s and Candela’s City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia.  We’re talking about those everyday sights, just gazing up at the balconies, the bay windows, and the fancy facades of buildings.

Gaudi's Casa Battlo in Barcelona

From the gothic beauties, the renaissance stunners and modern knock-outs, each city has a perfect mix to satisfy architecture buffs.  So if we have one piece of advice for you in Spain, it’s simply to look up!

Beaautiful facades balconies Valencia

narrow streets of Malaga

Streets of El Masnou near Barcelona

Mercado Central Valencia

bay window spanish balconies valencia

vibrant street valencia spain

balconies wooden frames valencia spain

look up valencia spain

balconies green frames valencia spain

archway cafe malaga spain

spanish bay windows valencia spain

corner building malaga spain

beautiful balcony valencia spain

malaga city hall spain

beautiful balcony malaga spain

la calle larios lamppost balonies malaga spain

renaissance balconies blue building malaga spain

beautiful building orange malaga spain

beautiful simple balconies malaga spain

vibrant narrow street malaga spain

spanish flags balconies malaga spain


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Spanish architecture a photoblog

Berlin Street Art – A photoblog

A photoblog about the best street art in Berlin, Germany. Find out where to see the best pieces around the city.

Graffiti is probably one of the world’s oldest art forms, as the markings on cave walls prove.  Sure, you may argue that those carvings are far from the graffiti that we see on our streets, but we beg to differ.  It’s one of the first forms of artistic expression and human creativity, a way to describe what was happening at a given time, and to leave a legacy for others to remember a specific moment.

We’re huge fans of street art.  We’re fascinated by the way artists can capture such truth and beauty and lay it on the wall for others to admire.  Some risk their lives to create this art form, to make a mundane grey wall stand out and become a true work of art.  Wherever we go, we love to see and capture the work of local artists and learn more about their art.  One of our favorite museum expositions happens to be Art from the Streets at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum.  We also loved Penang and Chiang Mai, because of all the fun and interactive art on the streets.  It’s one of the reasons why we were excited to discover Berlin too.

The German capital has been dubbed the “most bombed city in Europe” and even “Graffiti Mecca”.  Although graffiti is illegal in Berlin, it still offers a ton of beautiful pieces to discover.  This may come from its dark history, when not too long ago, the Berlin wall was used as a canvas for some remarkable pieces conveying profound messages of peace and hope.  Graffiti and street art played essential roles in shaping the identity of the city.  We even wonder if they played a role in Berlin being named a UNESCO City of Design in 2006.  It’s probably also one of the things that draws millions of tourists to the city every year.

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If you want to take in all the street art, there’s a few ways you can do it.  There’s an amazing gallery called Urban Nation, that has some pieces to show, and it’s free to get in.  You can also check out the free East Side Gallery, where parts of the wall have been decorated by artists.  It’s the longest open air art gallery in the world at 1.3 km long.  If you want more details on the pieces, there are a ton of paying street art tours you can join.  Or like us, you can just walk around, search for the pieces and take it all in.

With all the stunning pieces around town, it’s easy to see why Berlin is still considered to be an important reference in street art and graffiti, not only in Europe, but all around the world as well.

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Penang street art – A photoblog

A photoblog about the best street art in George Town, Penang, Malaysia. A handy map to find the best pieces.

One of the main reason people choose to visit Penang is to see the street art in George Town.  And we can’t blame them.  The scene here is so cool and hunting down the art is so much fun!  There are a ton of maps available that show you exactly where all the art is, but if you want to have some fun with it, just walk around and see what you find.  That’s what we did.  So of course, there is a ton more artwork out there to discover, but let’s leave some for you to find!

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Before you get started, here’s some history on how this whole art scene movement got started.  Back in 2009, George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage city held a contest to revive its vibe and create an outdoor living musuem.

The winning idea was from local artist Tang Mun Kian, under the theme “Voices of the people“.  You can find 52 steel-rod sculptures around the city showing elements from the everyday life of locals.  The streets of the city are named after the trades, people and events that give a unique spin to each street.  Having these sculptures at key areas puts the story back into the city and brings it to life in such a fun way.

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There are many other artists who have contributed to the art around the city.  The most famous are the interactive art pieces created by Ernest Zacharevic or the beautiful murals by Julia Volchkova and Louis Gan.

The works that Zacharevic were commissioned in 2012 by the Penang Municipal Council.  He called the body of work ‘Mirrors George Town’ which include about 9 large scale murals in different location of the old town. His paintings represent characters and scenes that celebrate the energy and playfulness of life in the inner city.  His work has truly transformed the vibe of the city, but they are quickly fading, so we’re quite lucky to have seen most of them.  Some are already gone, but make us wonder if they will be replaced.

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But that’s not all.  There are also 12 murals depicting cats and dogs all over the city.  These were drawn at the George Town Festival 2013 and were dubbed ‘101 Lost Kittens’.  This is the work of a group of artists by the name of “Artists for Stray Animals”.  Their objective was to create awareness for the needs of strays, which are all over the city.  Their message was to help protect animals and get people to foster a love for pets.  This is totally a message we can get behind.

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The street art vibe is so alive in the city that even hotels, bars and restaurants that have participated in the fun.  We can totally appreciate the work that everyone has put into making the city a true living museum.

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If you are looking for more things to do in Penang, you can check out our City Guide with tons of tips and tricks on how to make the best of your time here.


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Discover the beautiful street art in Penang, Malaysia. Includes some tips and tricks to ind the best art in Georgetown. www.wediditourway.com

 

Lights, camera, BIFF! The Busan International Film Festival took us by surprise

One of our favorite finds in Busan, South Korea, came almost by accident.  I say almost, because it is a big deal in Busan, but we had no clue it was going on when we were in town, despite the fact that we always check and see if there are any festivals going on before we visit a city.

Often, we even go so far as picking cities because a festival is going on.

So when we found out that BIFF, the 22nd annual Busan International Film Festival was going on from October 12th to the 21st, we were very excited!  We do love ourselves a good movie, after all.  I have a soft spot for old gangster movies, circa Goodfellas, Scarface and The Godfather, while Carine is a sucker for comedies and dramas, like the Matrix, Fight Club and The Incredibles (of course neither of which are comedies or dramas…).

Being from Montreal, we have our own film festival, but it pales in comparison to other International Film Festivals.  The closest comparison in our eyes would be the bigger Toronto Film Festival.

Well, we were in luck, because BIFF has films from all over the world, for all types of movie-goers.  This year, it boasted over 300 films from 75 different countries, 99 of which were world premieres.  On the judging panel, is the award winning writer and filmmaker, Oliver Stone.

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BIFF red carpet / © Asia One

We loved the vibe of Busan from the get-go.  We stayed in the vibrant tourist-friendly Haeundae beach area of Busan. Normally home to affordable food stalls, karaoke joints out the wazoo, and a vibrant nightlife, for 10 days in October, it is also the home of the BIFF headquarters.  It sees plenty of celebrity appearances, such as Jennifer Lawrence, who was in attendance to represent the movie Mother!.  We may (or may not) have spent our days during the festival hoping to run into her.

The venues for the showings were a few different movie theatres, and you had to go on the spot to get your tickets.  They also have night-time beach movie viewings that are free to the public.

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Pose for the camera! / © 高 远

Though we don’t normally go catch a movie while we are traveling, we made an exception for BIFF, ok we made 2 exceptions!

The first film we saw was called Mi Mundial, a Uruguayan movie about a kid wanting to make it big playing futbol (or soccer for us North Americans).  It was a touching story based on a popular book by Daniel Baldi.

It is the story of Tito, a young boy prodigy who is pushed harder and harder as he grows up to pursue his families only chance at getting out of the hardships they endure.  Titos’s family is poor, and they see from an early age that Tito is head and shoulders above the rest of the boys his age in football.

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Without spoiling the plot of the movie, Tito endures some hardships himself, and questions his passion for the sport that captivates billions of people around the world.

Being from Canada, this movie easily could have been made about a little Sydney Crosby.  It is a look into the pressure that comes with young boys or girls who give up their entire childhood in pursuit of achieving their dreams of becoming the best at their sport.

Far from a North American blockbuster movie, it hit close to the heart for both of us, and was one of the better movies we had seen in a long while.  Carine may have shed a tear or two… not that that is anything new!

At the conclusion of the movie, the credits rolled to a classic Spanish song by the name of Los Caminos de la Vida, which perfectly summed up the film.  Once the screen went to black, the movies director and producers, Carlos Andrés Morelli and Lucia Gaviglio Salkind took questions from the gallery for a good 45 minutes.

The next film we saw was called Equilibrio by Italian filmmaker Vincenzo Marra.  The story of father Giuseppe, a priest from Rome.  Tempted by a woman he is friends with, he moves from Rome to Campania, north west of Naples.  His congregation is troubled by toxic waste, with many illnesses befalling them.

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Father Giuseppe tries to get to the bottom of why all of this toxic waste is allowed to be dumped right in their backyard, only to find that the local mafia is responsible.  The local organized crime family is allowed to run rampant due to a seeming absence of police or governmental presence in the area.

This movie was a little slow-paced, but between the acting, and the realism the entire film embodies, it was nonetheless a good watch.  The portrayal of the mafia was not glorified the way it usually is in American films.

It was refreshing to see works that were put together by people we actually met, as opposed to big media companies, like most movies we watch are.  It gives the films a truer feel.  The lack of a big budget often leads to more emphasis being put on the writing and storytelling, which is a big plus in our books.

While it may not have been the Cannes Film Festival, BIFF was a unique experience for us on our trip and will be remembered fondly!


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Chiang Mai Street Art – A photoblog

A photoblog of Chiang Mai’s best street art. The coolest murals in Northern Thailand.

Chiang Mai is known for its insane amount of temples. It’s also home to plenty of digital nomads.  Its laidback and easy-going vibe is enough to convince anyone to stay and enjoy their time.  It’s no surprise then, that you would want to take your time and stroll through the Old City, with plenty of sights and sounds to take in. Oh, and food. Delicious food.

While strolling around, you’ll probably notice some awesome alleyways with beautiful street art. We just love the character it gives the city, mixing in the new with the old. Here are some of the pieces we stumbled upon during our time in Chiang Mai.

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Discover the beautiful street art in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Includes some tips and tricks to have the best time in the city. www.wediditourway.com