Monday, May 9, 2011

The Netherlands 1966

Continuing their journey from Paris, my grandparents landed on very familiar cities in the Netherlands: Den Haag and Amsterdam. Felt like her second hometown, my grandma started her walk in a gloomy morning around the Scheveningen area, which was a popular seaside resort with a long sandy beach, an esplanade, a pier, and a lighthouse. The cold and windy air didn’t make her afraid to keep wearing kebaya (and the glorious hairdo). From the background of these pictures, we could see the distinguished tower of the pier and the scenery around the beach area.

Walking through the beautiful parks of Den Haag, my grandma arrived at Madurodam, a miniature city located not far from the Scheveningen beach. Madurodam was named after George Maduro, a law student from Curaçao who fought the Nazi occupation forces as a member of the Dutch resistance and died at Dachau Concentration Camp in 1945. As his parents donated the capital to start the Madurodam project, the Kingdom of Netherlands perpetuated his name for the valor he had demonstrated in the Battle of Netherlands against German troops.

Looking around for some gifts, my grandma walked through The Passage area, where she could find some of the best fashion boutiques, antique shops, and galleries at the stylish Hoogstraat and Noordeinde. There she bought a bottle of wine as a gift for a supper at a friend’s house in the evening.

However, Den Haag was very familiar to my grandpa, a city where he often visited for the sake of business purposes. He had many friends in Den Haag, among others were Mr Tanaka Yuudai – a Japanese engineer who owned a contractor firm in Den Haag, and Mr Effendy Kameroğlu – a Turkish businessman who married an Indonesian lady, Madame Sari Mewengkang.

Instead of staying at hotels, my grandpa took an offer from a friend (Ir. H.V. Groethuysen) to stay at his mansion, situated at a neat environment overlooking a graceful garden and a little palace in the distance. Mr and Mrs Groethuysen’s courtesy was such a blessing for my grandparents.

During their trip back to Amsterdam, my grandpa took these photographs, showing the aerial view around the Amsterdam Centraal, with the Great Canal and Church of St. Nicholas (Sint Nicholaaskerk) in the background. The church is one of the landmarks in Amsterdam, a city that would never make my grandparents bored to visit.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rome: Spring 1965

I only got several pictures which depicted my grandparents’ excursion in Rome on the late Spring 1965. It was a journey on upheaval times, followed by the devastating Rebellion of the Indonesian Communist Party which happened on September 30, 1965. Reminiscing the difficult era, my grandma seemed worried about her three children that she left faraway in Indonesia. My grandpa, also in his concern, relentlessly captured the unspoken moments of my grandma who looked so pensive in these vintage photographs.

Vatican City: Here was St. Peter’s Square, with its majestic colonnade, its beautiful fountains, and St. Peter’s Basilica, the great church with Michelangelo’s dome sitting on top of it. A very impressive sight, my grandma was stunned while admiring the beautiful architecture.

Then the Apostolic Palace, which is the official residence of the Pope. It's from the window loggia (decorated with frescoes) of the study where the Pope greets and blesses pilgrims on St. Peter’s Square every Sunday.

The old grandeur, we could observe the horse-drawn carriages.

The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral of Church of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope. When my grandparents were there, it was still under renovation.

Basilica of St. Paul Outside The Walls (Basilica Papale di San Paolo fuori le Mura) is one of four churches that are listed as great ancient major basilicas of Rome: St. John Lateran, St. Mary (Santa Maria Maggiore), St. Peter’s Basilica, and St. Paul Outside The Walls. This basilica was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I over the burial site of Saint Paul the Apostle, located in the suburbs of Rome.

Finally, my grandma in front of the Roma Termini train station. The building is characterized by the extremely long and modern façade. Arrivederci, Roma! Ci vediamo la prossima volta :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Early Autumn in Paris 1966

There’s no city more enticing than Paris. A city where Chopin wrote some of his finest compositions, a city which beauty had bewitched Charles Baudelaire to write his famously “Les Fleurs du mal”, a city of love where Igor Stravinsky had an affair with Coco Chanel. Nevertheless, everybody wants to go to Paris. So did my grandpa who brought his beloved wife to taste some of the most beautiful romance on the early autumn of 1966.

Enjoying the cool morning air of Paris, my grandma walked down the promenade of the celebrated L’avenue des Champs-Élysées. Along the avenue, she could spot the baroque-influenced architecture of the grandiose street, which is typical of the Haussmann boulevard style. So many cities have adopted the concept of Champs-Élysées, including the Andràssy Avenue in Budapest, Hungary. The Champs-Élysées itself ends at L’arc de Triomphe, built by Napoleon Bonaparte to honour his victories.

Then she arrived at the Eiffel Tower. Built in 1889, it's the tallest building in Paris until present. Named for its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair – the ultimate moment when Claude Debussy heard the Javanese gamelan for the first time and made it as the basic of his composition "Pagodes". Perhaps it was like a déjà-vu for my grandma, if only her thought drifted to the 1964 World’s Fair in New York in which she and my grandpa had attended two years previously.

Without any doubt: The majestic Basilique du Sacré-Coeur! A famous landmark of Paris, the basilica is located at the summit of Montmartre hill. The area itself (Montmartre) is a place where artists live together, forming a unique artistic atmosphere. Meanwhile, its location offers a tremendously beautiful panorama, overlooking the city of Paris. In a solitary mood, my grandma seemed so pensive to adore the monumental view of Paris.

After Montmartre, she landed at Musée du Louvre. Hailed as one of the largest museums in the world, she could easily spot Leonardo da Vinci “Monalisa”, Michelangelo statues, or remains of Egyptian Pharaoh. Too bad, the Inverted Pyramid made of glass hasn’t been built at the time (it was built in 1983). Exactly beside the Louvre Museum, there’s Jardin des Tuileries, a public garden created by Catherine de Medici as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564. It was first opened to the public in 1667 and became a public park after the French Revolution. In the 19th and 20th century, it was the place where the Parisienne celebrated important events, met, promenaded, and relaxed.

Then she walked toward the Pont Alexandre III, an ornamental bridge that spans the Seine, connecting L’avenue Champs-Élysées and Les Invalides. Pont Alexandre III is widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in Paris. Meanwhile, Les Invalides is a museum and monument which contains the burial site of Napoleon Bonaparte.

La Conciergerie, was once used as a prison where hundreds of prisoners during the French Revolution were taken from the eerie antechamber to be executed on the guillotine at a number of locations around Paris. Those famous prisoners included Queen Marie Antoinette, Madame du Barry, and the Girondins. Without a sense of trepidation, my grandma observed the building while walking on the Seine riverbanks.

And the journey ended at Notre Dame Cathedral. It seemed that my grandpa never let his camera out of his hands. Perhaps he didn’t take many pictures, but his passion for taking my grandma’s figure reminds us of the legendary love story between photographer Henry Cartier-Bresson and Ratna Mohini.

Nevertheless, Charles de Gaulle Airport also kept a lot of love stories inspired by the romantic city. Adieu, Paris! Je ne vous oublierai jamais :)

My Grandpa in Minneapolis USA 1957

I found these pictures, dated from October 20, 1957. At the time, my grandpa was still involved in a project between the Indonesian government and Dunwoody Institute (now Dunwoody College of Technology), developing master plan of building design and construction for devising some infrastructures in Indonesia.

My grandpa (two from right) discussing the project with the professors

My grandpa (right) was escorted by some officials

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Disneyland Los Angeles 1964

Continuing their journey from New York, my grandparents arrived in Los Angeles International Airport. We could easily recognize the airport’s Theme Building which looks like an arch.

Visiting Disneyland in Anaheim (Orange County, California) could be a totally new experience for my grandparents. As the Disneyland was still in the progress of expanding its “lands” (themed areas), it only consisted of five themed lands when my grandparents were there: Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland.

From the pictures below, we could see the Sleeping Beauty Castle at the far end of Main Street USA, where on the street itself we could find many specialty stores, such as a candy store, jewelry and watch shop, a store that sells Disney collectable items, and many others.

Frontierland recreates the setting of pioneer days along the American frontier. According to Walt Disney, "All of us have cause to be proud of our country's history, shaped by the pioneering spirit of our forefathers. Our adventures are designed to give you the feeling of having lived, even for a short while, during our country's pioneer days." Speaking of national pride, my grandma was still glued to her kebaya.

And on the Skyway to Tomorrowland, my grandma looks scared of heights.

One of Disneyland's signature attractions is its monorail service, which opened in Tomorrowland in 1959 as the first daily-operating monorail train system in the Western Hemisphere. The monorail was originally built with one station in Tomorrowland. Its track was extended and a second station opened at the Disneyland Hotel in 1961.

My grandparents ended their American journey with a vacation in Hawaii. Here’s my grandma in front of Honolulu International Airport.