Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Buildings and Refuge

The breathtaking Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

There's a certain amount of culture shock when you cycle in a foreign country. A different language, the currency, locating shelter every day, the visceral exposure to heat and rain, and the occasional mishap or bike repair are all elements that may compound like a steaming kettle. One may thrive on the adventure. Another may break down in tears.

Tears at the Taj Mahal, Agra, India.
Ocean waves can be calming. I often gravitate to our lake for the vast space that I find soothing. But when you're surrounded by humanity and calamity in a huge city far from home, there is nothing quite so peaceful and quiet as the inside of a dark, tall structure, preferably hundreds—if not thousands—of years old.
The serenity of the Salisbury Cathedral.
A quiet retreat. To regroup, recharge, recenter, refuel the wanderlust.

Sometimes, the structure doesn't need a roof. These Roman pillars in Turkey are a magnificent example of the power of stone to restore the soul.

In Burlington, our city hall towers above a rollicking, lively pedestrian mall, but inside it's perfect, cool stone reflecting the July sunshine. I linger, on the premise that I'm perusing the art displays, but in reality I'm soaking the silence as I glide on the green and white marble floors.

*Thanks to Yung Falbz at Bike Fizxzit for her adoration of her local post office. She reminded me of how important edifices can be while rolling on two wheels.

Do you have a favorite building that "does it" for you?


  1. Very interesting post. For outdoor people kind of complicated. As a washed up hoop player, I have a certain fascination with gyms. The old Boston Garden. I saw the greatest basketball game ever there.1976. Three overtimes. The Celts won 128-126. Me and my Dad 100 rows up behind the basket.

    I really like this,"but inside it's perfect, cool stone,reflecting the July sunshine".

    "The power of stone to restore the soul". Yes. I feel it too. Great post.

  2. The art gallery. Although I suppose that it's not the building as such. Getting caught up in other people's perceptions and creativity is a wonderful way to forget my own petty worries and remember how vivid and passionate life can be.

  3. Love this post Annie. One of the things I love about cycling is slowing down to notice buildings and architecture. Not only by bicycle, but by walking too.


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