A Great Place to Go, to Get to Someplace Else

Like pirates, boats and booty? Try Saint Malo – a medieval port town in northern France. Once the smarmy haunt of pirates (but not Johnny Depp, smarmy), there are still masts everywhere (but newer masts, and no sign of Johnny).

Tim Bjella Sketches - Fishing Boat at Saint Malo

Saint Malo - Tim Bjella
Tim Bjella, typical tourist

Robyn and I passed through Saint Malo back in 1990, a stepping stone on our way to the picturesque, but oh-so-touristy, Mont Saint Michel. We stopped here mainly to pick up some cheese and a loaf of French bread. After searching everywhere without success, a helpful Frenchman suggested, “We just call it bread here.”

Robyn Bjella - Saint Malo
Robyn Bjella, taking a break from taking a break

Saint Malo has great beaches, but cold water. It is a nice place to spend a few hours walking the ramparts and sketching the boats before moving on to somewhere else, possibly somewhere with more Johnny, and booty.

Tim Bjella Sketches - St. Malo, France

St-Malo
A loooooooooooooooong jetty protects the harbor

Amazingly, this town was reduced to rubble during World War II by an Allied mortar attack intended to oust thousands of reported Nazis who were barricaded within. Turns out the reports were incorrect. There were fewer than a hundred. Oops.

A Nice Walk Along the Breaker

A stroll along the ramparts (or jetty, or wall, or… well, you can walk on top of just about everything here)

The End of an Era – Novelty Architecture sketches

My all time favorite sketch is… drum roll, please… a hot dog stand. Yep. Of all my sketches, this kitschy, little hot dog stand truly flips my boat, floats my world and rocks my switch (in all conceivable variations): Tail o’ the Pup – an icon of Los Angeles since 1946, and one of the last remnants of days long past. You know, the good ol’ days when buildings looked like the things they sold… otherwise known as Novelty Architecture. O.k., it wasn’t that great of an era, but still, it’s mostly gone, so show some respect.

The Pup is currently in mothballs, but slated to reopen in 2016. As befitting a work of (almost, kinda) art, Tail o’ the Pup is now a designated cultural landmark (the bar is apparently not all that high in L.A.). Greece has the Parthenon. We have a 17 foot long greasy wiener in a bun.

So why do I like it? Because it’s memorable. It’s silly. It’s fun. And, the Parthenon doesn’t make me smile. By way of context, I’m also a guy who thinks that all water towers should be painted with giant googly eyes. Seriously. That would be SO cool!

Not to be outdone, however, I’m currently working on an idea of my own. It’s a house, that looks like a shoe. Hope nobody’s already done it. I’ll get back to you on that.

Tim Bjella Sketches - Tail o the Pup

Tim Bjella Sketches - Tail o' the Pup

Tail o' the Pup

Below is another example of a novelty roadside attraction. Can you guess what type of food is served here? If you guessed Chinese, you are wrong (and probably don’t get out enough – or take-out enough).

Tim Bjella Sketches - Roadside Stand

Before you start thinking that Novelty Architecture as an art form lacks versatility and is limited to fast food stands, here is (was, actually) a famous (or not) real estate office in Hollywood, the Sphinx Realty:

Tim Bjella Sketches - Sphinx Realty

Sphinx Realty

And lastly, a long since demolished burger stand in Coulee City, Washington. A Tee Pee. Maybe they served bison burgers?

Tim Bjella Sketches - Coulee City, Washington

Tim Bjella Sketches - Coulee City, Washington

Novelty Architecture. Can’t get enough of it? See more on Pinterest .

Cheers! Tim Bjella

Rothenburg via Pencil

Traveling along the Romantic Road in Germany many moons ago, Robyn and I came across the very essence of picturesque. A town that almost oozes character. From this place you can imagine what medieval towns were like 1000 years ago. You may recognize it from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Rothenburg was also used as a backdrop for some of the Harry Potter films. It was not, however, the town shown at the end of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. That was Nordlingen (I can’t believe you even thought that). 😉

A nice place to while away the afternoon with a pencil.

Rothenburg, Germany

Tim Bjella Sketches - Rothenburg

Tim Bjella Sketches - Rothenburg

Rothenburg, Germany

Tim Bjella Sketches - Rothenburg

Rothenburg, Germany

Tim Bjella Sketches - Rothenburg

Rothenburg, Germany

Rothenburg, Germany

 

https://www.bjella.com