The remarkable architecture among the Australian vineyards

at Combe Farm, Yarra Valley, in the state of Victoria, Australia.
At Combe Farm, Yarra Valley, in the state of Victoria, Australia.

When I moved to Australia I had no idea of ​​the importance that country has in the production of world wines, but it did not take long for me to notice. The Australian wine industry is the fourth largest global exporter, with about 750 million liters a year. The wines are produced in all existing Australia’s states, and more than 60 designated regions totaling approximately 160,000 hectares. The most common types of wine found there are: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Semillon, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. The most famous Australian wine is the Penfolds Grange, this wine has won more than 50 gold medals in national and international competitions.

With my mother, Dona Anita at Combe farm. Where we tasted the best sparkling wine so far!
With my mother, Dona Anita at Combe farm. Where we tasted the best sparkling wine so far!

When my mother came to visit me in Australia in January 2014, we had the pleasure of visiting some of the nearly 2000 wine houses in Australia. Most of these are of small operations. The area we chose was the Yarra Valley, along the river that names it, located east of Melbourne, Victoria, where I used to live. The wines produced in this region are most commonly Chardonnay, sparkling and Pinot Noir. The main advantage of this wine-producing region is in close proximity to the city center of Melbourne, thus receiving more than 3.1 million visitors each year, it is a traditional tourist attraction! At the time I got the day trip to the Yarra Valley in exchange for a translation work I did for one of Melbourne’s tour companies. We left close to 9 am from the city center, took a bus with other tourists, most of Europeans, and the first stop was the delicious chocolate factory Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, in the middle of the beautiful countryside fields of the Yarra Valley. The second stop was at a farm of organic berries, Gateway Estate, flavors and indescribable colors! There they also manufacture liquors with those fruits. The third stop was in a small wine house called Combe Farm, where we tasted the best sparkling wine I’ve ever had the pleasure of finding, I had to buy a bottle! Then we stopped for lunch in a very interesting town, Healesville, about 7 thousand inhabitants, with charming architecture, mostly in Victorian architectural style. This city has been setting for several films and local series.

Delicious organic fruits for tasting at Gateway Estate.
Delicious organic fruits for tasting at Gateway Estate.

There, we also had the best vegetarian risotto in history, my mother will remember. After lunch we went to the high point of this tour, the Dominique Portet wine house with a history that goes back to 10 generations, starting in the 18th century in Bordeaux. “Here I found a wine with fragrance and structure reminiscent of the Bordeaux wines. The Yarra has a charm and beauty that engulf and their wines are you worldly.” Says Dominique Portet (ninth generation).

At Dominique Portet wine house, from France.
At Dominique Portet wine house, from France.

The farm’s architecture comprises a beautiful chateau in French architectural style, gardens with a water fountain and French statues, boules court and wineries specially installed to maintain the properties and quality of the wines produced there. It was simply transcendental, a ride that should be overestimated, for sure it will not disappoint you. More about the Yarra Valley through the lens of my camera access: CHEERS MATE!

Here, observing the beautiful countryside of the Yarra Valley, covered with vines.
Here, observing the beautiful fields of the Yarra Valley, covered with vines.


Oito países, trinta dias e uma paixão. Primeiro destino: Cingapura! / Eight countries, thirty days and one passion. First destination: Singapore!
Eight countries, thirty days and one passion. First destination: Singapore!

In one of my previous articles I wrote about the tallest buildings in the world. Among them, outstanding, are the Petronas Towers, also known as Twin Towers in Malaysia, the Marina Bay Sands, one of the most expensive projects ever done in the world, in Singapore, and of course, the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Portão de embarque desta aventura de 30 dias. / Boarding gate to this 30 day adventure.
Boarding gate to this 30 day adventure. In Brisbane, Australia.

Well, here I am, this very moment, at the international airport of Brisbane in Australia, writing to you I will have the amazing chance of getting to know some of these architecture, design and engineering world marks this January, in a 30 day trip through Asia. In about an hour and a half, I will board to an adventure I have never ever experienced before. I will this month, that just started, visit eight countries and at least ten cities. My first stop will be Singapore, a small but of strong economic power country. Singapore is very rich in Contemporary architecture. My second stop will be Bali in Indonesia, where I will visit temples of the ancient world, those belonging to the Buddhist religion. From Bali I’ll board to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, where I will have the pleasure to appreciate from up close the Twin Towers, I can’t wait! Then, from the modern architecture of Kuala Lumpur I will be immersed in the contrasting architecture of Ho Chi Minh City, before, known as Saigon, in Vietnam. This country is filled with temples and ancient history. I then cross Vietnam on a bus trip which promises to be at least curious to Cambodia. In Cambodia, besides the Khmer architecture of the beginning of the VIII century, lives a population that is known to be one of the most welcoming of Asia. The next stop is in Bangkok, capital city of Thailand, a city with many attractions, and also formed by building of the ancient and modern world. That city began to rise with the arrival of the French people in 1665. Still in Thailand I will spend a few days in Phuket, a beach paradise, cause I am not the iron man and this life on the air bridge is also tiring. I will relax at the beach, but not for long because they also have plenty of thai architecture to be seen there. Now, from the summer time in Thailand I will this time fly to the below freezing temperatures winter in South Korea on the northern hemisphere. I never thought I would one day end up in South Korea, but I am extremely anxious to see what I will find there, it promises to be one of the most interesting destinations of this adventure of mine. I am sure you will love to see some of the South Korean architecture from the VII century on. And, just after visiting those amazing temples in South Korea, I will land right in the middle of the “insane” architecture of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. That will make us notice how much the world has changed, and a lot of it we can notice watching the most amazing buildings and even artificial islands there are there. Well well, wish me luck. It is a pleasure to me to write to you about this adventure of mine. Now, let me go board the plane because they are calling me already. Cheers mate!

Voei de Etihad, grande parte destas viagens, e posso dizer, um dos menores espaços entre bancos na área econômica que já encontrei. Realmente inesperado! / I traveled long distances with Etihad during these trips and I have to say, they have one of the most little space between seats in economy I have ever seen. Real shame!
I traveled long distances with Etihad during these trips and I have to say, they have one of the most little space between seats in economy I have ever seen. Real shame!


Glamour and Tradition

English version coming soon!

Portal das flores no parque Flemington de Corridas de Cavalo em Melbourne. / The flowers portal at the Flemington Racecourse Park in Melbourne.
The flowers portal at the Flemington Racecourse Park in Melbourne.


Dentro do parque uma estátua de cavalo. Ao fundo, o centro da cidade de Melbourne. / Inside the park, a horse statue. At the back, Melbourne's downtown.
Inside the park, a horse statue. At the back, Melbourne’s downtown.


A pista de corrida pronta para receber o evento. Um dos principais do calendário australiano. / The racecourse ready for the event. This is one of the most important events of the australian calendar.
The racecourse ready for the event. This is one of the most important events of the australian calendar.


O parque é realmente lindo, são diversas áreas de convivência e com diferentes atrações. / The park is stunning, there are several different areas you can stay at with the most various attractions.
The park is stunning, there are several different areas you can stay at with the most various attractions.


Flores estão por todo lugar. / Flowers are everywhere.
Flowers are everywhere.


Capricho em cada detalhe. / Attention to every single detail.
Attention to every single detail.


Waste or challenge?

One Hundred floors, 319 meters high and at least 1100 apartments. The new Melbourne skyscraper, “Australia 108”, to be built nearby the apartment building I live in, will take over the title of highest building in the South Hemisphere. Along, and also already approved for construction, other two residential towers of 75 and 54 floors, will be built in the central area of Melbourne, creating together, another almost 1000 apartments. Main reasons? These high-rise apartment buildings would already be part of the city’s urban expansion plan, bringing together the current reality in Melbourne, which promises to be the first truly 24h city in Australia, and also, the largest city in number of inhabitants over the next few decades. For those new towers to be built, at least 6000 new jobs will be created and investments of 800 million dollars are estimated. Eureka Tower, which I had mentioned in my first article, is currently Melburne’s tallest building with 297.3 meters and 92 floors. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful skyscrapers in the world, this building will have it’s number one place taken over by the future neighbor, the Australia 108, proudly though, because when finished, the Australia 108 will also make Melbourne became, once again, the Australian city with the tallest building. Today, the Q1 (Queensland Number One) in the city of Gold Coast, with 322.5 meters, is Australia’s tallest building. I still like Eureka Tower better! Leading the list of the south hemisphere tallest buildings, currently is the Sky Tower, in neighbor country New Zealand, in the city of Auckland, being 328 meters high. Nothing compared to the almost 830 meters high Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, today the tallest building in the north hemisphere and in the world, having 163 floors and costing about 1.5 billion dollars to be built, finished in 2010. Second in the list, is the Tokyo Sky Tree in Japan, with 634 meters of height. Other famous buildings in the list are: The Freedom Tower in New York, the highest one in the ocidental hemisphere, built after the Twin Towers were crashed by airplanes in 2001, it is 541.3 meters high; the Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan, being 509 meters high, and the Twin Towers (also known as Petronas Towers) in Malaysia, with 452 meters of height. In Brazil, the most famous skyscraper has got to be the Edifício Itália, having 46 floors and 165 meters of height, in the city of São Paulo. But, it will be taken over by the Millenium Palace building, estimated to be fully finished this year, also having 46 floors, but being 177 meters high, in the city of Balneário Camboriú, in my home State, Santa Catarina. As if all of it wasn’t enough, again, our eyes turn back to the Arabian countries. Already being built, and with initial plans of being 1 mile high (1.6 kilometers), the Kingdom Tower, in Saudi Arabia, will be the tallest building ever built, of all times. Due to the area’s geological conditions though, it was necessary to readjust it’s height to “only” 1000 meters. Projected by the same architect, Mr. Adrian Smith, who projected the current tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa in neighbor United Arab Emirates, city of Dubai, the Kingdom Tower, in Saudi Arabia, is estimated to cost 4.6 billion dollars and to have 167 floors, 59 lifts and built area of 319.000 square meters. Just the basis where this tower will sit in is supposed to be 600 meters deep from the land surface. All of it makes me wonder, and I believe it might make you too, is this really necessary? At one point of view, it is a crazy fantastic engineering challenge, at another point of view, it is a highly spent of our natural resources, isn’t it? I have to confess I haven’t come to a conclusion about such matter. For more information, links to videos and other photos, access my profile on Facebook. Cheers mate! See you next time.

Australia’s Sweetheart

O arco dos relógios. Tradicional ponto de encontro da Estação. / The clocks arch, popular meeting point at the station.
The clocks arch, popular meeting point at the station.

In my first article I had commented about Flinders Street train station here in Melbourne, which once was the busiest train station around the world. It is situated in this magnificent centenary building, built in 1910 in french renaissance architecture in the heart of the city. A true cultural icon and for long considered to be one of Australia’s most significant symbols, it features, in its beautiful architecture, arched central entrance, a large main dome above the roofs and tower of clocks on the south side.

A Estação da Rua Flinders vista do terraço do prédio de esquina com a Rua Elizabeth. / The Flinders Street Station as seen from the terrace of the corner building with Elizabeth Street.
The Flinders Street Station as seen from the terrace of the corner building with Elizabeth Street.

A hundred and fifty thousand people train by its 11 boarding platforms every day and the trains leave about every 5 minutes to several suburbs and cities nearby. This number is supposed to reach 440.000 of people in 2021. For quite a long while though, Flinders Street Station has been begging for modernization, tired of its already more than 100 years old in the active and also due to the increase of the city’s population number.

O arco dos relógios, fachada principal da Estação. / The clocks arch, main facade of the Station.
The clocks arch, main facade of the Station.

There are various rooms, like the ball room, the gymnasium, the old library, the billiards room and the concert’s room under the main dome, that have been denied access to general public by decades, wishing to be revitalized. A real shame!

A primeira plataforma, vista da segunda plataforma. São 14 no total. / Platform one, seen from platform 2. They are 14 in total.
Platform one, seen from platform 2. They are 14 in total.

Well, to our luck, in 2011, the Government of Victoria, launched an international competition to revitalize and restore the station. The prize, 1 million dollars, to the winner project, attracted 118 proposals, coming from all over the world. Some of the criteria were the need to present a creative design thinking project to bring new life to this building, and, which makes it easier for the community to access the station, as much as that it kept and restored the important historical elements it features, like its facade and administrative areas, those we love. It should be a design proposal that better blended with the current abstract architecture Melbourne has going on, modern but without losing characteristic traces of its originality, improving the transportation purpose of the station, along with the important link it plays for the cyclists, trams, buses, taxis and most importantly, to the pedestrians.

A belíssima torre do relógio. / The marvelous clock tower.
The marvelous clock tower on a common cloudy day in Melbs.

From the 118 proposals were selected 6 finalists. In the images you can notice the impact those projects would cause to the community. Futuristic, gardened, square, round, audacious, the projects are fascinating and look like they are from another world, but this is the idea, to cause impact and escape from the frugal, as many other buildings in Australia do. Finally the winner was decided in August 2013, described as a “modern hub of transportation for the 21st century”, having a public plaza and a amphitheater facing the river, among other mandatory requirements. The judges called the project “beautiful and with convincing integration of the original architecture aspects, strongly reinforcing its status of exit gate”. However, Melbourne’s community showed divergent reactions, some called it a classical modern proposal and others labeled it as space ship or “giant cannelloni”. Anyway, even though all the efforts to elect a winner were made, up to now, no agreement has been sealed, to wether the implementation of this 2 billion project, will happen or not. Particularly, I consider the winner project, among the 6 finalists, one of my two favorites. I am fascinated by architecture and buildings with modern design but in keeping with it originality and would love to see the foundation stone launched before I have to leave Australia. Specially because, as it is the closest to my home, I often take trains at Flinders Street Station and I do believe the winner project associates perfectly well with the other big building designs in Melbourne, for the fourth time elected the most livable city in the world. Other congratulations, for your recently completed 179 years of foundation Melbourne. Cheers mate! See you next time.

A estação enfeitada para Natal. / The station ready for Christmas.
A estação enfeitada para Natal. / The station ready for Christmas.

Living in Australia is Fortunate

Na praia de Brighton, em Melbourne, estado da Victoria. / At Brighton Beach, Melbourne, Victoria.
At Brighton Beach, Melbourne, Victoria.

In ten months that I am living here I have been able to notice the numerous professional opportunities, the politeness of its people, the easiness of becoming friends with them, the several entertainment options, but mainly, the safety the country has to offer for those who live here. Currently I am living in Melbourne, a big city with over 3.4 million people, the most populous in the Estate of Victoria, southeast region of the country, and now, elected The Most Livable City in the World. It is easy to understand why that is when you spend a couple of days here! The city’s infrastructure is incredible, with a transport system which can be considered a model and impressive for anywhere in the world.

Melbourne, Victoria.
Melbourne, Victoria. On the left you see Eureka tower, the tallest building in that city.

The people is welcoming, happy and always ready to help you. The architecture, well… the architecture is amazing! Having its foundation around the year 1835, Melbourne presents majestic buildings in Gothic style from the 19th and beginning of 20th century, like Flinders Street Station building, which used to be world’s busiest train station middle of the 1920’s, and which today, contrasts with some of the most modern buildings in Australia, like the ones on Federation Square. This square was built to offer exposition centers, music shows, cafes and pubs. Nowadays, Melbourne presents about 600 sky-scrapers, among them, Eureka Tower, a residential building in Southbank with 92 floors, 297.3 meters high and which demanded investments of 415 million dollars to be built. Just in concrete were spent more than 110,000 tones. Eureka Tower used to be considered the highest residential building in the south hemisphere and is only 3 minutes away from where I live. I particularly, think, its architectural beauty is superior to many other more famous buildings we have in modern world.

With my kangaroo “friends”, when traveling to the country side of Victoria.

Melbourne however, is not only made of buildings, most of its people live in the various suburbs it is surrounded by. There are trains and trams going to and from the suburbs. The rail network offers over 200 train stations and the largest tram network existent in any city there is, with quality service and fair cost. In Melbourne’s suburbs, the predominant architecture is Victorian, Georgian and Tudor, commonly seen and also existent in the United Kingdom, Australia’s “mother country”! Nevertheless, nowadays, Melbourne’s suburbs present modern homes and mansions in some neighborhoods which may value dozens of million of dollars. The most expensive home sold last year in Melbourne, was bought for 25 million dollars, about 60 million reais (Brazil’s currency). The mansion configures two external swimming pools, ten vehicles garage, lifts which take you to four levels and believe me, seven kitchen. Yes, seven! Another interesting real estate transaction in 2013 was of a mansion sold by 23 million dollars and with which the owners made a profit of 20 million dollars. The couple bought the house in 1992 for around 2 million dollars. Can you believe what a great investment it was? They actually made 1 million a year just by owning the property. Next month, I’ll bring a new article to you. I hope you all enjoyed knowing a little bit more of real estate on this side of the world! To me, it was a pleasure writing about. Like the Australians say: Cheers, mate! And till next time!

No meu segundo dia na Austrália, ainda me acostumando com o frio, porém, muito feliz! / On my second day in Australia, still getting used to the cold, but happy to be there!
On my second day in Australia, still getting used to the cold, but happy to be there!

Italy in Aussie?

O bairro de Carlton em Melbourne, é conhecido como o bairro italiano. Detalhes na arquitetura local remetem aos vistos na Itália. / Carlton, in Melbs, is known as the little Italy there. Details in the architecture make us remember the city in Europe.
Carlton, in Melbs, is known as the little Italy there. Details in the architecture make us remember the city in Europe.

In many big cities around the globe there is a district named or known as “Little Italy. Some examples are the cities of Toronto and Montreal in Canada, New York and San Diego in the USA, Dublin in Ireland, Göteborg in Sweden, Curitiba and São Paulo in Brazil, and last but not least, Sydney and Melbourne here in Australia. With a population of about 200.000 italian citizens, the State of Victoria in Australia, where Melbourne is the capital city, is the State where there is the largest number of descendants and italian immigrants in the country, and, possibly, in western world. It is very likely when a large number of immigrants come to a country, with them, they bring traces of their culture. Lucky we are one of its finest “traces”, is its culinary, and the italian cuisine, undoubtedly, is highly rich and one of the best there is (elected in 2013 by CNN as the world’s #1), rich in flavor and variety, without losing its simplicity. Winter drinking wine and eating cheese, so very italian, and after the espresso coffee, can you not like it? Even better than its food, throughout my eyes, it is the atmosphere created in italian cafes/restaurants here in Melbourne, it is such a faithful reflexion, architecturally, the italian speakers, the charm there is, the feel, the scents and colors… I could go on and on. Many italian citizens feel home when visiting Lygon Street in the suburb of Carlton, where the Little Italy is. In approximately 1km of extension, both sides of the street, you will find as many italian cafes, restaurants, bakeries and ice cream shops there, you will lose count. Specially after the wine! Brunetti, Koko Black, Il Dolce Freddo, Tiamo Coffee, La Latteria… it is so nicely easy to spend your day there. The neighborhood style is singular, tables put outside on the wide walkways, day and night you feel welcome inundated in an unique atmosphere. During the day siting under the trees or tents shadows, during the cold evenings, warmth by the gas heathers everywhere. You will feel well treated and watching nice movement of people passing by. All this structure has a direct influence from Italy. Not many people know but, Melbourne and Milan are Twin Towns, also known as Sister Cities. Through the concept of Sister Cities, the purpose is to promote cultural and business relations between the cities, creating understanding and friendship in the most various local cultural differences. This is all very noticeable there. When the Grand Prix of Formula 1 comes to Melbourne, the restaurants in Lygon Street wear Red and Yellow, in support to team Ferrari. And, in 1982 and 2006, it was there that the largest reunions of people and celebrations happened when Italy won the World Cup. With a very rich and based on its flavor culture, peculiarities and also simplicity, all italian citizen and cheese, wine, pastas and a beautiful “gelati” lover, feels home when visiting the Little Italy in Melbourne. Well well, all this talk about food made me hungry! Ciao amico, I mean, cheers mate, i’ll run there and get myself a gelati. See you next month.

São centenas de restaurantes, a maior parte deles com mesas nas calçadas. / There are hundreds of restaurantes, most of them attending tables on the sidewalks.
São centenas de restaurantes, a maior parte deles com mesas nas calçadas. / There are hundreds of restaurantes, most of them attending tables on the sidewalks.


A dream named Opera House


Na Ópera House de Sidney. / At the Opera House in Sydney.
At the Opera House in Sydney.

Every architecture lover dreams about visiting some buildings around the world. Those buildings they consider reference, being by its beauty, audacity or because they identify themselves with those works in some way. Well, on the last 18th of June, I had one dream come true when I visited this, which for me, since I saw for the first time on TV, is one of my favorite buildings all around the world. I went to a city many think to be the Capital city of Australia, but in fact, Sydney, even though it is the largest city in Australia, is not its Capital City. Rumor has it “fighting” between Sydney and Melbourne, to establish the Capital City, was so big, it was decided to establish it half way from each other, avoiding later arguments, in the city of Canberra, NSW. Ok, but talking about my dream, the building I visited, is Sydney’s Opera House, magnificently built at Sydney’s Harbor, surrounded by beautiful views and other amazing architectural works like Sydney’s Harbor Bridge. What many people don’t know is that, even though the building has a very modern and audacious design, known as Expressionism, it was designed in the 50’s, almost 60 years ago. The design was selected through an international competition that gathered over 200 designs. When visiting, I had the opportunity to see some of those designs, and I have to say: I’m glad they chose this one! The architect who had the wining project is Jørn Utzon (Swedish) and the project was budgeted in 3.5 million pounds with a time frame of somewhat longer than 5 years to be completed. What happened though, was a huge drama with heaps of difficulties on its way of execution, specially when talking about the shape of its very unlikely roofs – so innovative for the time being – the incredible enlargement of budget, from 7 to 102 million dollars, and, the time frame from 5 to 14 years, also including the leaving of Jørn Utzon from the project execution. With Jørn Utzon leaving the leadership of the project, it suffered some alterations, most noticeable in the interior of the building, changing a little bit from what the swedish envisioned. After that, never has him stepped in Australia, no more. Currently though, the Opera House is going through renovations and the son of Jørn Utzon works along with the building administration to bring the project closer to what his father designed that time. A tunnel is also being built beneath the Opera House, which will make it easier for the delivery services, trucks will no longer be on the way of the tourists and other visitors of this that is one of the busiest Opera Houses in the world.

Encantado em poder conhecer de perto e ver detalhadamente. Aqui, o telhado, coberto em azulejos. / Amazed to able to see it up close all the details. Here, the roof covered in tiles.
Amazed to able to see it up close all the details. Here, the roof covered in tiles.

Now, talking about numbers, 1.056.006 is the number of ceramic tiles covering the roofs of the Opera House, all peculiarly made for this specific purpose. The largest Concert Room is set to accommodate 2.679 persons siting, the largest instrumental organ, with over 10.000 tubes and positioned just above the main stage, is there. This instrumental organ has over 9 meters of depth, only in tubes, and took over 10 years to be refined after its installation. Australians are proud this project is theirs. There is no doubts that after learning a bit more about the history of the Opera House, this building became even more interesting to me. Its structure is amazing inside and out! You can see more about the Opera House, through my eyes, accessing my facebook page or instagram. Modern and beautifully set, even after 60 years of existence – and hopefully for much longer – the Opera House of Sydney continues to be one of the main references from Australia around the world, not as much popular only when talking about kangaroos. See you next month. Cheers mate!

Perfeição! / Perfection!