Tag Archives: architecture

Gladiators and crocodiles

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Bertie and Croc were looking forward to a restful day. They had spent an entire day touring the Vatican in Rome and being wowed round every turn at the amazing art work. Bertie had been so excited to see the Sistine Chapel that he had completely worn himself out! Croc was silently pleased when his best friend fell into a deep slumber and didn’t awake until the next day. Croc liked his quiet time, it was when he did all his best thinking! He did find that having a friend as excitable as Bertie was brilliantly motivating but he didn’t get much time to think.

The next day both friends were awoken by the hustle and bustle from outside the camera bag. The walls of the bag had heated up in the morning sun and Croc had, subconsciously, moved towards the warmest wall and was snoozing contently.

As they peeped out of the zip in the bag they both realised they were about to exit a busy train station. They blinked as they came out into the bright sunshine and then Bertie’s jaw dropped at the sight in front of him. Looking at his friend, Croc could feel the excitement buzzing from Bertie. Bertie tugged at Croc’s paw!

“Do you know where we are?” Said a wide eyed Bertie. Croc shook his head, confident in knowing that Bertie was fast approaching his tour guide mode and he would soon find out without having to use any brain power what so ever. “It’s a very, very important historical place.” Started Bertie.

As Croc looked at the crowds of people around him, milling around the large, ruined building in front of him he began to notice everyone forming orderly queues at the entrances like little ants going into an ant hill. He didn’t fancy standing in those queues and was relieved when they turned off down the side of the building and began to explore the outside.

As Croc half listened to Bertie’s excited chatter he picked up some words, such as Gladiators, fighting, Colosseum, entertainment. It didn’t sound very entertaining to Croc, exhausting yes, entertaining not so much. Then his little crocodile ears picked up…..Bertie said “bears” and “even crocodiles”!

“What?” Thought Croc, people would fight animals like him and his best friend in this large, circular structure? He shook his head in shock. He looked at the flimsy metal fence around the Colosseum and thoughtfully wondered was it there to keep the people n and the crocodiles out or the other way around? People really were weird he decided as he sat comfortably next to Bertie to pose in front of the magnificent and extremely interesting round building behind them.

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Spirals to heaven

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An exhausted Bertie and Croc were looking forward to the excitement of the day to end. They had travelled through the Vatican, seen so many sights and experienced the excitement of visiting the Sistine Chapel. Croc had started to look forward to putting his short little feet up in the hotel room. He hoped that he would be able to crawl out of the camera bag and nestle in the soft bedding on the bed….maybe even have a snooze.

While Croc was daydreaming about having a nap, Bertie was reluctant to hide back in the camera bag just in case he missed something! He remained perched on the top of the spare lens which was conveniently placed in the bag. It gave him just enough height to be able to peek out of the zip at the top.

He was soon glad he did. He felt an odd sensation, like they were going downwards quite quickly. He watched as people walked slowly in front of him, stopping occasionally to take photos downwards.

“I wonder what they are taking photos of?” Said Bertie out loud. He was soon to find out.

The bright light from the glass ceiling above soon became replaced with the yellow dullness of artificial lights. Bertie knew they had reached the bottom of where ever they were going as they were stood still. He took his opportunity to fully peep out of the bag and look up.

“WOW!” Sais Bertie with a gasp. He tugged at Croc who reluctantly climbed up the camera lens and looked up too.

They were at the base of a majestically decorated spiral staircase. It seemed to go on forever towards to bright light coming in through the glass ceiling. Bertie thought it looked like the staircase to heaven, Croc thought it looked like hard work and was glad they didn’t have to climb up it.

Every now and again people’s faces peered over the side of the staircase and looked down at them. “What a way to finish a days adventure” Thought Bertie as he quietly closed the zip and nestled into the darkness of the camera bag. “I wonder what will happen next?”

The bigger picture

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With Croc and Bertie safely back in the camera bag the two friends continued on their tour of the Vatican museum in Rome.

They had no idea how big this place actually was! The map which had been stuffed into the camera bag beside them gave them some clues that there were lots and lots of corridors and hidden locations to visit. It was all in a different language to the ones Bertie and Croc were use to and they couldn’t quite make out where they were or where they were heading.

Occasionally, Bertie would peep his nose out of the camera bag and see if he could work out where they were now. Croc had found a tissue at the bottom of the camera bag and was distracted trying to dry himself on it after his recent watery experience.

Bertie gave Croc a little tug, which Croc now knew meant “come and have a look at this”. Grumpily Croc climbed his way to the zip in the top of the bag and peeped out.

Right in front of the two friends was a wooden table with lots of mini houses on it. Croc shrugged and was about to sink back into the bag when Bertie grabbed hold of him and started pointing out places they had been. The little structures on the wooden board looked just like the grand houses and towers they had been posing in front of. Croc began to realise that this was a very special kind of map, once which showed a 3 dimensional view of where they were visiting!

Excitedly Bertie pointed out where he thought they were now and where he thought they were heading. He explained it was to somewhere called the Sistine Chapel. Bertie became quite animated as he talked about this place and Croc began to realise this was somewhere Bertie had always wanted to go but had never had chance to visit.

Can you work out where they are heading next using the 3D map?

Looking up

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When we last left our furry friends on their adventure they were in somewhere called Vatican and had posed for a photograph surrounded by lots of people with a big dome building in the background.

Croc was quite relieved to be moving back inside where it was a little quieter. He loved the sunshine and the heat so could understand why everyone wanted to be outside on a day like today. Bertie had made Croc giggle as he had been desperately looking in the bottom of the camera bag for his hat. He didn’t like to go out in the sun for too long as he had heard you could get sunburn. Anything with burn in the sentence didn’t sound like a good idea to Bertie!

All Croc could see of Bertie at the moment was his paws as he laid upside down looking for his hat. Bertie’s little legs were kicking around desperately trying to wiggle deeper into the bag. He was wiggling so much that he managed to kick open the lid of the camera bag. Croc looked up in shock and it was then he saw the most amazing ceiling he had ever seen!!!!

Quickly Croc began to tug on Bertie’s leg. Bertie, thinking Croc had found his hat, pulled himself the right way up and then looked up at where Croc was pointing. They both stared mesmerised by the symmetry of the ceiling and the gentle glow of the sunlight coming in through the impressively high windows.

Little did they know, this ceiling wasn’t the most impressive one they would see on this trip!!!

Vicar’s Close

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It was a cold, crisp day and Croc was beginning to feel the chill. The one thing he had noticed about the UK was when he was in the sunshine it was pleasantly warm. As soon as he went into the shade, it was icy cold. He became very aware that there was a lot more shade than he would have liked in this country!

As they hopped back into the camera case, Bertie and Croc peered out at the huge, gothic Cathedral as they walked past. Croc noticed a small, stone archway and nudged Bertie to get his attention. Bertie shrugged and indicated that maybe they should have a little explore. After spending a lot of time with Croc Bertie was now very good at speaking in a silent code of points and nudges.

The camera bag had been put down carefully and it looked like Bertie and Croc’s companions were distracted by ice cream, so they took the opportunity to hop out and make their way through the stone arches.

Both of them never expected to find a small, cobbled street with house lining each side. The lampposts were old and black. The cobbles worn smooth by thousands of steps and people were scattered around taking photographs. How unexpected and odd? Thought Bertie.

Croc was distracted by the size of the chimneys on the small houses. He had never seen chimneys on houses until he came to this country. In the tropical climate he was use to there was no need for fires or heating in houses. You wanted to keep the heat OUT not IN in Darwin!

As Croc was looking around him, he noticed a sign. He nudged Bertie and pointed. Bertie had always been better with his letters than Croc was. As they read they discovered that this was Vicars’ Close, a historic street which was built over 650 years ago. The houses were used for the Vicars Choir to live in. Bertie explained to a puzzled looking Croc that a Choir was a group of people who sang in Churches and Cathedrals. As they walked down the street, Croc trying his hardest to remain on the sunniest side, they tried counting the houses but got too distracted looking at the shields which were in the stone work above each door.

How many houses can you count?

 

 

Bertie’s tour of Wells…..

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Croc woke with a sudden jerk. This was because Bertie had poked him with his paw. For a teddy bear, with soft stuffing and fur, Bertie had quite a solid paw when he wanted Croc’s attention!

Blurry eyed Croc dragged himself out of the bottom of the camera bag and peeped into the bright sunshine. He let his eyes adjust so he could see where his travelling buddy had disappeared to now. Bertie was sat proudly on a stone wall. Croc was beginning to get use to the fact that everything in the UK felt slightly cold to touch. He was use to the heat of the Australian sun warming everything until you would get serious burn marks if you dared to plant your bottom on it!

Croc was impressed with the sharp blue skies in this country. There was something about the crispness of an early morning that he liked.

Wearily Croc gingerly stepped onto the cold wall and made his way quickly to his travelling companion. Bertie pointed at the huge, gothic building in front of them and explained it was a Cathedral, called Wells Cathedral. It was built between 1175 and 1490. Croc thought that was a really long time to build something!

Croc had never seen a Cathedral before. They didn’t have structures as grand as this in Darwin and he began to wonder how a building this ornate and detailed would stand up to a cyclone or an earth quake.

The more Croc looked the more he could see. There were statues of Kings and Bishops nestled in their own crevices in the buildings architecture. Croc giggled as he noticed some of the  statues were now faceless after years of weathering, and they looked a little weird and slightly intimidating. Bertie explained that the statues alternated to show the historical relationship which the church and the rulers of the country had. Croc was too busy wondering why the building needed so many windows!? He kept loosing count of them all? How many can you count?

Gargoyles and zebras

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Waving goodbye to their new found friends in the Toy Shop window Bertie lead Croc towards the large, towering structure in front of them. Croc was too excited about his new friends to at first to look up, until Bertie gave him a little nudge and pointed towards the sky.

Croc’s jaw fell open revealing a very impressive set of teeth. The building in front of him was like nothing he had ever seen before. Croc was looking at the impressive York Minister. Bertie instantly went into tour guide mode explaining, to a rather overwhelmed Croc, that the stone York Minister was badly damaged in a fire during an uprising in 1068 and the Normans built a new minster in around 1080. This was the basis of the present impressive Minister he was looking at today.

It was indeed impressive, thought Croc. He felt slightly dizzy looking up at the tall spires on the Minister. The gargoyles looking back down at him and Bertie made Croc do a little shiver and he sank a little deeper into the pocket he was in. Soon he had forgotten the stony stares and had become immersed in the ornate detail everywhere he looked. As they walked around the side of the building, Croc also noticed the impressive towering windows. Where Croc was from this building would not have survived this long as a cyclone would have destroyed it by now he thought as he posed happily and proudly for a photograph in front of the entrance. Bertie smiled to himself noting Croc’s new found confidence in having his photograph taken.

Bertie took Croc all the way around the outside of the Minister, allowing him to take in all the details of the huge building. He then pointed to a smaller building which was in front of them. Peeling his eyes away from the impressive shadow of the Minister Croc saw the most unusual building he had ever seen. It looked like an architectural zebra!

Bertie laughed at Croc’s description and told Croc that it was a classic tutor building from around the 16th to 18th Century. As the walked along admiring the architecture, Bertie knew exactly where to take Croc next…..

The only time Croc took his eyes away from the Minister!
The only time Croc took his eyes away from the Minister!

Photographs and content copyright of Samantha Key