Gardens, full of mystery and an intangible magic. The centre piece of the gardens in Haifa is The Shrine of The Bab. This is the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen. It has a strange quality to it, as if it has life, or a presence. I’ve never experienced that from an inanimate object before. But like the Taj Mahal in India, it was a building project invested with such a huge amount of love and designs for the ultimate expression of beauty that it now shimmers with these qualities.
When I was a kid, I remember my mother reading me an Oscar Wilde book, The Selfish Giant. I wasn’t much interested by the story, but I was fascinated by its pictures of a giant’s beautiful gardens set within the walls of his castle. Last year at the end of the English summer, I found the real life equivalent: a child’s fantasy land of 55 of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen.
The Haw Par Villa gardens rate highly on my list as one of the most banal and kitschiest places I have been to in my life. One of the highlights of this Chinese-mythology theme park is its gory ten courts of hell. Flickr user, HUANG, however, somehow manages to transform the place from campy to cool with his awesome infrared shots.