Monday, September 19, 2016

Crystal Palace subway

The Crystal Palace subway was open to the public as part of London Open House Sept 2016. The subway dates back to Victorian times and is slowly being restored. It was built to provide access to the Crystal Palace. It goes under the main road, Crystal Palace Parade.

The Crystal Palace was the huge iron and glass building used for the Great Exhibition in 1851 in Hyde Park. After the exhibition it was rebuilt at the top of Sydenham Hill in 1854 but was destroyed by fire in 1936.

There were 2 stations serving the Palace, one was the low level station and the other was a new high level one built in 1865 on the western side of Crystal Palace Parade. The subway was then built for access to the Palace. Image of the railway and Palace from Illustrated London News -

The Subway was designed with groined arches of coloured bricks and stone, resting on 15 columns. It was meant for first class passengers. It led to a roofed vestibule and 4 staircases. It opened at the end of 1865.

During the Second World War the subway was used as an air raid shelter. The subway was modified to provide sleeping areas, a canteen, lavatories and drains. The High Level Station closed in 1954. However the subway was still used as a short cut to access the motor racing in the park.

The subway survived but the roofed vestibule didn't. In 1972 the subway was listed by English Heritage. And since then it is slowly being restored.

 Looking out to where the roofed vestibule used to be -

And looking back at the entrance -

© Liz Price

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fjords and mountains around Geirangerfjord and Alesund, Norway

During a short holiday based in Alesund in Norway, we did a day trip touring the surrounding fjords and mountains. Ålesund is a town and municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, is part of the traditional district of Sunnmøre.

From Alesund, we headed east to Sjoholt and then Stordal, passing a very long lake, then through tunnels and around mountains to Liabygda, along another lake to Linge where we had a ferry crossing. Views whilst driving -

Waiting for the ferry and the crossing -

We continued on, going through a valley with a lake -

Then up into the mountains and as we descended the other side we stopped at a major view point. There were stunning views down to Geiranger and the fjord. This is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord
"Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord, set 120 km from one another, are part of the west Norwegian fjord landscape. The two fjords, among the world’s longest and deepest, are considered as archetypical fjord landscapes and among the most scenically outstanding anywhere. Their exceptional natural beauty is derived from their narrow and steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1,400 m from the Norwegian Sea and extend 500 m below sea level. The sheer walls of the fjords have numerous waterfalls while free-flowing rivers cross their deciduous and coniferous forests to glacial lakes, glaciers and rugged mountains. "
"The starkly dramatic landscapes of Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord are exceptional in scale and grandeur in a country of spectacular fjords. These fjords are among the world’s longest and deepest, and vary in breadth from just 250 m to 2.5 km wide. Fjord, a word of Norwegian origin, refers to a long, deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs formed by submergence of a glaciated valley. These two West Norwegian fjords are considered to be classic and complementary examples of this phenomenon, a sort of type locality for fjords that still display active geological processes."

 The town of Geiranger -

We went down to Geiranger -

I was surprised to see jellyfish and starfish in the water, as well as seaweed.

Trolls feature prominently in Norse mythology, this is a Geiranger troll

From Geiranger we went up into the mountains again and stopped at another viewpoint

 View of the hairpin road we had descended earlier -

This blue sky didn't last as we climbed higher and came to the snow area

At this lake, 1030 m asl, we paid a toll to go up a new road to the summit of a hill. Unfortunately the clouds were down and it was sleeting and there was a strong wind so it was no good for photos.

Our next stop was at a thundering river and a long waterfall -

From here we went alongside many long lakes, past Stryn and several villages

We then had another ferry crossing before reaching back in Alesund

© Liz Price