UBC – Vancouver – Part 2

Outside, in the area between the museum and the cliff, you will find totem poles of the Kwakiutl, Haida, and Gitxsan people as well as two Haida houses, one for the living and one for the dead. From here you get a good view of the main building of the museum, a unique design if ever there was one. If you like Erickson’s architectural style, you may be interested in visiting the Burnaby Mountain campus of the other major university in Vancouver, Simon Fraser University, whose main buildings were also designed by Erickson.

The Nitobe Memorial Garden is an authentic Japanese tea garden where visitors can stroll past waterfalls, rivers, islands, and mountains. The highlights are the delightfully pruned maples and cherries, and of course all paths lead to the teahouse. The cherry blossoms in April or May and the iris blooms in June are spectacular. The UBC Botanical Gardens and Centre for Plant Research was established in the 1960’s and is a 70-acre coastal forest with plants from temperate regions around the world. For rhododendron fans, the Asian Garden features more than 400 species, while traditional gardeners will enjoy the physic garden for medicinal herbs, which is planted around a sundial in a geometric design. The Food Garden attracts many visitors simply because of the name, and I think some people are genuinely disappointed that it contains espaliered fruit trees and the latest varieties of vegetables. In the autumn a week-long apple tasting festival is held here. The E.H. Lohbruner Alpine Garden is the largest alpine garden in North America. The UBC Rose Garden was completed in 1994 and is on top of an underground car park. On a clear day, you can see the mountains along Howe Sound for miles. From the Rose Garden the campus stretches along tree-lined roads with a pleasing mixture of older and newer buildings. One of these is the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, a beautiful theatre that holds regular concerts of classical music featuring distinguished artists from around the world.

UBC Vancouver

Surrounded by lush rain forest, the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC) protrudes into the Pacific Ocean. Most of the Point Grey peninsula is given over to the Pacific Spirit Regional Park, an area of Pacific red cedar. Some 34 trails meander for over 50 kilometres through this park. When hiking here, you wouldn’t believe you are only half an hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver. These trails are popular with dog walkers, joggers, and mountain bikers, but their presence won’t detract from the sense of tranquility that prevails. Birdwatchers may see blue herons and will definitely hear woodpeckers hammering away.

The Museum of Anthropology is an Arthur Erickson-designed museum that is located on the cliffs of Point Grey, overlooking English Bay and the North Shore Mountains. It is probably Canada’s most memorable museum, housing one of the world’s finest and most colourful displays of Northwest Coast First Nations art. Inside the soaring glass and concrete structure of the Great Hall, with its 14-metre high windows that allow natural illumination to flood into the interior, you will see the totem poles, feast dishes, and canoes of the Gitxsan, Haida, and Coast Salish peoples amongst others. The museum also features the world’s largest collection of works by acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid, including his most famous sculpture “The Raven and the First Men”. The award-winning Koerner Gallery within the museum houses a collection of European ceramics unique to North America. The museum also has around 15,000 objects from around the world that are accessible to the public in the Visible Storage Galleries. This is a unique way of displaying artifacts that invites the comparing and contrasting of objects from different cultures around the world, without visitors touching the exhibits, which are held in glass drawers.

Extract from the book – 10 Traveller’s Tales

Churches of Riga

The church of St James in Riga, Latvia, is the seat of the city’s Roman Catholic archbishopric. It occupies an important position opposite Latvia’s Parliament. The first reference to St.James’s Church was in 1226. The first few centuries of its history were uneventful as it served as a local church. Then, after the Reformation the Lutherans took ownership; however, the Counter Reformation saw the church given to the Jesuits in 1582. When the Swedes occupied Riga in the 17th Century it served as the church of the Swedish garrison. Finally, in 1922 the church was given to the Catholic community. The steeple was the only one in Riga that had a bell, named in this case the Bell of Wretched Sinners. History relates how the bell had a bad habit of ringing by itself when any unfaithful wife passed by. This is no longer a problem as the Soviet occupiers melted down the bell for weaponry during WWII. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint James the Greater, but is often referred to by the name St Jacob because Latvian, like many other languages, uses the same name for James and Jacob.

Excerpt from Ten Traveller’s Tales

Royal Botanical Gardens – Edinburgh

Excerpt from the book Travels through History : Northern Ireland and Scotland  Belfast and the Causeway Coast has been rated best region in the world to visit in 2018 by Lonely Planet. In September 2017, Scotland was voted the most beautiful country in the world by a respected travel company, Rough Guides.

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The original Edinburgh Botanical Garden was founded in 1670 at a place called St Anne’s Yard near Holyroodhouse. This site soon proved too small and, in 1676, grounds belonging to Trinity Hospital were leased from the City Council: this second garden was sited just to the east of the North Bridge. The site was subsequently occupied by tracks of the North British Railway and a plaque on platform 11 of Waverley railway station marks the location.

In 1763, the collections were moved away from the city’s pollution to a larger “Physick Garden” on the west side of Leith Walk. In the early 1820s under the direction of the then Curator, William McNab, the garden moved west to its present location adjacent to Inverleith Row, where current visitors can enter via one of the two entrances, the East Gate on Inverleith Row or the West Gate entrance on Arboretum Place. The most famous features are The Glasshouses including the Temperate Palm House, the tallest in Britain, which was built in 1858.

I would recommend starting at the East Gate, simply because it’s closer to the centre of the city and because you are instantly introduced to an outstanding feature of these gardens, namely the sculptures. Even before I entered the garden, I was impressed. The gates at the eastern entrance are intertwined stainless steel representations of rhododendron flowers, designed by Benjamin Tindall and created by the blacksmith, Alan Dawson.

A local’s guide to Havana, Cuba: 10 top tips

Cuba’s capital is changing and a lot of the cutting-edge art and new wave restaurants are in characterful districts away from the much-visited old city

Returning home to Felixstowe: ‘Stories are everywhere’

Novelist Hayley Long always thought her home town, on the Suffolk coast, was a bit of a joke but now she’s proud of its gentle charm

20 great mini adventures in the UK

It’s time to come out of winter hibernation and get into the great outdoors. From souped-up bike rides to white water rafting for beginners, there’s an adventure here for everyone