Category Archives: Engineering

Prague: The Dancing Building

Also goes by The Dancing House, The Dancing Couple and the lesser known Fred & Ginger (after famous dancers Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers)…

For me – I was drawn to the structure… 😉 I have seen many beautiful photos of this very famous & controversial building, so I wouldn’t let the chance to see it just slip by… In truth, I was disappointed – the colours were not like I imagined (so I processed it to my desired effect 😉 – but it still was/is a pretty awesome & interesting building!!! 🙂 **


A ride on the Anaconda…

A bit on the Anaconda – – – It is one of the only three roller coasters manufactured by Giovanola… It includes five inversions and reaches a maximum g-force of 3.5G (which after the ride I could totally still feel — I felt light-headed for at least an hour afterwards…)!!!

But it was super great fun!!! 😀

The build-up of anticipation – the calm before the amazingness!!!

The first inversion…

The third inversion…

I never mentioned that all my Gold Reef City photos was taken with my little snapper… Because who wants to carry a big camera around at a theme park all day?? 😉 **

Big Ferris Wheel…

Ok, BIG disappointment – The Big Wheel: also closed for maintenance!!! 😦 I was really looking forward to getting up a little off the ground to get a few shots to practise my tilt-shift processing with… Straight out of luck!! 😦

Nevertheless, I took a few shots of the wheel itself!! – – – from a grounded position – – – 😉

I’m not a huge fan of the floating soccer balls – I prefer the traditional balloons… This was probably done for the world cup back in 2010 (or was it always this way??) … 🙂 **

Tower of Terror…

Last weekend we enjoyed a laid-back Sunday at the Gold Reef City Theme Park!!! We bought our groupon vouchers & had a very enjoyable day at the theme park!! 🙂 I did understand why they had the special on though – seeing that it is winter, a lot of the rides were not open… I suppose maintenance is probably important at places like this… 😉

Well, over the next couple of days I’ll share a few of the photos I took… First off: Tower of Terror (closed due maintenance!!) 😦 Although I would NEVER go on such an extreme ride… – it features a 50m, 90­° drop and a positive g-force of 6.3G !!! A whole lot of craziness!!! 😀

Tower of Terror!!!

If you google it, you get quite a lot of videos & links to this rollercoaster!!! Extraodinary engineering in these rides… I was amazed all day!!! 🙂 **

South Africa’s Gautrain…

I noticed that I’ve edited these photos, but have not shared them yet… (the photos) nothing extremely special, but the Gautrain is – – – The Gautrain is revolutionary in South Africa’s infrastructure (engineering & design) – – – Although it is not near the complexity of your standard European underground, it really is a benchmark for future South African developments!!! – – –

I know I took more photos of this trip, but I just happen to stumble upon these three unshared, edited photos & thought I’ll share it with you!!! 😀

I’ve only ridden it on three occasions, but I can tell you with total honesty – it transports me to my (extremely) happy place!!! It’s 30 minutes of pure bliss… It truly makes me feel as if I’m somewhere in Europe – I mean, who wouldn’t like that?? 😉 **

London, UK – London Eye

Again I have to apologise for my lack of posts!!! 😦 I’ve been keeping busy (& tried to scale down on the time I spend on my computer!!! – a conscious effort!!! 😉 ) … Have been doing a few DIY’s around the house – which I will share with you soon!!! 😀 I’ve discovered Pinterest – which I am officially addicted to!!! 😀 But it has inspired me to get up & get going!!! Still lots more to do though… only the tippy-tip of the iceberg!!! – – – We have cancelled our satellite tv, exactly for this reason!!! Once I have found my new balance I will hopefully post often again!!! 🙂

But for today (late this week)… my Travel Lane memory!!! 🙂 Again one of those that I’ve seen a few times, but have not actually been on (next time for sure!!!)… The London Eye!!! This place such a big part in the touristy aspect of London, that I cannot believe that I’ve not been up there even once in the 3 times I’ve visited London!!! 😦 Love this structure though… I love the happy memories and gooey feelings these images brings forth when I see it!!! 😀 **

London Eye – December 2006

London, UK – Big Ben

Big Ben 2004

I know… You’ve seen this a million times…. all the photos look the same… from this angle  everyone has seen it…!!! 😦 But it still is a special Travel Memory for me… & will always be one of my favourite attractions of London!!! 😀 It certainly is “engineery” enough to keep my attention!!! 😀

Cindy from ‘Photos from the Loony Bin’ did a post a while back with some VERY interesting facts on Big Ben (also known as the Clock Tower, but whos real name is St. Stephen’s Tower!!! – – – I know, what??? – – – Head on over to Cindy’s post for more info!!!) 🙂 **

I Love you Big Ben!!! 😉 **

Wieliczka Salt Mine (Poland) – I want to visit here!!! (images revised)

Ooooooops…. I am not sure why… 😦 but for some or other reason some people are not able to view the photos in this post…. 😦 So I am trying this again (not quite sure what the reason for it would be… but here goes… let me know if it is indeed corrected!!! 😀

I have received another awesome email from one of my friends…. & now I have yet another place on my ‘places to visit’ list… oi…. can I live to be a 1000 years old??? 😉 Yet again, these are (unfortunately) not my photos… & I have no one to give credit to?? 😦 But a great piece of information accompanied with stunning images!! Enjoy!! 😀

“… Deep underground in Poland lies something remarkable, but little known outside Eastern  Europe. For  centuries, miners have extracted salt there, but left behind things quite startling and unique. Take a look at the most unusual salt mine in the world.

From the outside, Wieliczka Salt Mine doesn’t look extraordinary, but it is extremely well kept for a place that hasn’t mined any salt for over ten years. Apart from that, it looks ordinary. However, over two hundred meters below ground  it holds an astonishing secret.

This is the salt mine that became an art gallery, cathedral and underground lake.

Situated in the Krakow area, Wieliczka is a small town of close to 20 000 inhabitants. It was founded in the twelfth century by a local Duke, to mine the rich deposits of salt that lie beneath. Until 1996 it did just that. But the generations of miners did more  than just extract. They left behind them a breathtaking record of their time underground in the shape  of statues of mythic, historical and religious figures. They even created their own chapels in which to pray.

Perhaps their most astonishing legacy is the huge underground cathedral they left behind for posterity.

As you descend into the depths of this world after a 150m climb down wooden stairs, the visitor to the salt mine will see some amazing sites. About the most astounding in terms of its sheer size and audacity is the Chapel of Saint Kinga.

The Polish people have for many centuries been devout Catholics and this was more
than just a long term hobby to relieve the boredom of being underground. This was an act of worship.

Amazingly, even the chandeliers in the cathedral are made of salt. It was not simply hewn  from the ground and then thrown together; the process is more painstaking for the lighting.

After extraction, the rock salt was first of all dissolved. It was then reconstituted with the impurities taken out so that it achieved a glass-like finish. The chandeliers are what many visitors think the rest of the cavernous mine will be like as they have a picture in their minds of salt as they would sprinkle on their meals! However, the rock salt occurs naturally in different shades of grey (something like you would expect granite to look like).

Over one million visitors yearly (mainly from Poland and its eastern European neighbours) visit the mine to see, amongst other things, how salt was mined in the past.

For safety reasons, less than one percent of the mine is open to visitors, but even that is  still almost four kilometers in length – more than enough to weary the average tourist after an hour or two.

The mine was closed for two reasons – the low price of salt on the world market made it too expensive to extract here. Also, the mine was slowly  flooding – another reason why visitors are restricted to certain areas only.

The religious carvings are what draw many to this mine – as much for their amazing verisimilitude as for their Christian aesthetics. The above shows Jesus appearing to the apostles after the Crucifixion. He shows the doubter, Saint Thomas, the wounds on his wrists.

Another remarkable carving is The Last Supper. The work and patience that must have gone into the creation of these sculptures is extraordinary. One wonders what the miners would have thought of their work going on general  display?

The cream of Europe’s thinkers have visited the site – you can still see many  of their names in the old visitor’s books on display.

It comes as no surprise to learn that the mine was placed on the original list of UNESCO  World Heritage Sites back in 1978.

A catastrophic flood in 1992 dealt the last blow to commercial salt mining in the area and now the mine functions purely as a  tourist attraction. Brine is, however, still extracted from the mine –  and then evaporated to produce some salt, but hardly on the ancient scale. If this was not done, then the mines wouldsoon become flooded once again.

Not all of the statues have a religious or symbolic imagery attached to them. The miners had a sense of humor, after all! Here can be seen their own  take on the legend of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The intricately carved dwarves must have seemed to some of the miners a kind of ironic depiction of their own work.

The miners even threw in a dragon for good  measure!

To cap it all there is even an underground lake, lit by subdued electricity and candles. How  different a few minutes reflection here must have been to the noise and sweat of everyday  working life in the mine… “

Someday I’ll be posting my own photos of this breathtaking Salt Mine… you mark my words!!! 😉 Have you had the honour of visiting there? 🙂 **

Sorry about that guys… I really hope you are able to view these fantastic images this time around…. 🙂 **

1892 London’s Tower Bridge Under Construction

As most of you know I am quite passionate about engineering & structures!!! (Which is probably my main reason for wanting to return to France & the Eiffel Tower!!!! 😉 ) – – – Seeing that I still don’t have internet at home yet, I thought I’d share with you a very interesting & informative post of the Tower Bridge!!! My boss sent me this email this morning… & I’m to excited about it not to share it!!!! 😀 Needless to say, the source is my own personal email – if the facts aren’t quite correct, please let me know & I’ll gladly research it…. this is a copy paste from my email!!! 🙂

When I do eventually have internet again I’ll post some of my personal photos that I took of my visits to the Tower Bridge. Also, for another piece of interesting information/trivia on the Tower Bridge & its history, visit Cindy’s blog, Photos from the Loony Bin!!!

“… Pictures of the Tower Bridge during construction

By Daily Mail  Reporter
Last updated at 5:01 PM on 29th November 2011

This is one of the London’s most beloved landmarks as you’ve never seen her before. stripped down to her underwear, the never before seen pictures of the Tower Bridge — one of the world’s most recognizable structures — have been unveiled after the stash of hundred-year-old prints were found in a skip.

Coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the bridge’s foundation, the 50 sepia photos reveal in incredible detail the ingenuity behind one of the British capital’s most popular tourist destinations, which was the first bridge of its kind in the world.

Never seen before: The pictures of London’s Tower Bridge were found in a skip and then wrapped up in brown paper and put in a carrier bag under a bed.

The unique pictures, dating back to 1892, document the construction the iconic bridge, which at the time was a landmark feat of engineering nicknamed “The Wonder Bridge”.   The discarded pictures, which were retrieved by a caretaker who was looking after a building being turned into flats in 2006, have spent the last five years in a carrier bag underneath his bed.

The 59 year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that after the occupants of the Westminster office building moved out, the album and a number of documents were thrown into a skip outside.  He said: “I took the ledgers to the Tower Bridge Museum because I thought they might have some historical value.”

Remarkable find:   The prints reveal in incredible detail the ingenuity behind one of the British capital’s most popular tourist attractions and how it was put together.

A view of the bridge:  The sturdy steel frame of the Tower Bridge can be seen, before it was covered with its distinctive stone-cladding on the orders of architect John Wolfe-Barry.

They included records of the materials and used in the bridge’s construction and what they cost. “I told the man at the museum that I had also found some photos but he told me they already had plenty of those. I didn’t know what to do with them so I wrapped them in some brown paper and put them in a bag under the bed.”

It wasn’t until earlier this month, when the owner of the photos mentioned them to his neighbour, City of Westminster tour guide, Peter Berthoud, that the significance of the find fully emerged. Mr Berthoud, an expert in the history of London, who gives guided tours around famous landmarks including the Tower Bridge, said that he was gobsmacked by the haul.

Stripped down:  The photographs show how the bridge was put together over eight years, revealing why it was nicknamed at the time the “Wonder Bridge”.

Landmark:  The Tower Bridge remains one of the British capital’s most iconic structures and a tourist attraction today, 125 years after building started.

Sepia to silver screen:  The incomplete Tower Bridge features in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes, where Holmes battles with his adversary Lord Henry Blackwood.

Contrary to popular misconception, the images reveal the bridge is a sturdy steel frame beneath the instantly recognisable stone cladding.   Mr Berthoud said: “When my neighbour gave me a disk with the ages on I just couldn’t believe it. I spent hours going through my books to see if these pictures were already around but I couldn’t see them anywhere — they are unique. Quite simply London’s Tower Bridge is the world’s most iconic bridge and it’s the only bridge over the Thames which has never needed to be replaced at some point.

Discovery:  Peter Berthoud was gobsmacked when his neighbour showed him the haul of photos. He spent hours going through books to find something similar, only to discover they are unique.

Transformation:  The bridge took eight years to build and at the time was a landmark feat of engineering, combining elements of a suspension and high level bridge and a bascule.

It combines elements of a suspension bridge, a high level bridge and a bascule which allows it to open for ships to pass. Nothing had ever been made like it before and nothing since. People are always surprised when I tell them the the Tower Bridge is a steel bridge, as the stone cladding is so recognizable.

According to the tour guide, the bridge’s original architect, Horace Jones, wanted to clad the bridge in brick but following his death he was succeeded as architect by John Wolfe-Barry, who decreed the bridge should be clad in stone.

Development:   Photographs show the progress in the construction process, from basic structures to something easily recognisable as the Tower Bridge as we know it today.

Unique:  Many of the 50 sepia prints are in good condition, despite dating back to 1892.   Several are even dated, making it possible to trace the progress in construction.

Although many of the century-old pictures are in a state of disrepair, around 20 are in good condition. Many of the 12 by 10 snaps are dated and clearly show how the bridge was put together over a space of eight years. Memorable scenes include turn-of-the-century laborers taking orders from a site foreman in a bowler hat and a shot if the bridge’s original steam-powered engine room, which could open the bridge in less than a minute. In one poignant picture flags decorate the body of the bridge and a hand-written pencil note reads: Note, flags denote Mr Hunter’s wedding day.

Mr Berthoud said: “My favorite pictures are of the simple, humble guys building the bridge, unaware that what they are making will be so historic. People are used to seeing images of the Empire State Building being built but this is part of British history being created 50 years earlier …”

I love this email!!!! It is sooooo awesome & a special piece of history!!! Pretty freaken awesome right??? 😀 Do stay tuned for my soon to come Tower Bridge photos!!! & don’t forget to visit Cindy’s post here!!!

Have a great day everybody!!! 😀 **