Sunday, August 30, 2020
There was not a single spot where I could get a photo that captured the whole thing. I needed a wide angle lens, something I didn't have at that time.
I did a Google search to see if there were any better photos and the image results speaks volumes. It's not an easy place to photograph unless you are in the air.
Sunday, August 23, 2020
I purchased a Baedeker guide book for Germany and I started mapping out the places I wanted to see. After seeing a photo of St. George's Cathedral in the town of Limburg in Germany, visiting that city scored a high position on my list.
I was not disappointed. The cathedral was even more beautiful than the picture in the book.
Sunday, August 16, 2020
My title today has a double meaning. I'm visiting the city of Bruges in Belgium which is a city that reaches a very long way back in history. The other meaning is that these photos date back to 1991 when I visited the city. So, I'm also reaching back into my travel history. I recently found a large collection of old slides and I was thrilled to find my photos from this wonderful place among those slides.
Sometime around 1989 or 1990, I saw a magazine cover photo similar to the photo above that prompted me to buy the magazine. It was a travel magazine and it had a long section devoted to visiting the city of Bruges in Belgium. I saved that article and reread it many times until I finally made plans to visit in person.
Bruges was a trading center that by the 11th century had become wealthy and prosperous mostly from the cloth trade. By the 14th century, the population was 35,000, as large as London. It was one of the biggest cities in the world and trading powerhouse.
The city of Bruges has thrived as a tourist destination ever since.
I can say that it is truly like stepping back in time. I have a distinct memory of arriving at the train station and thinking, this looks like any other European city. Then I took a taxi from the station to my hotel and watched as the driver crossed a bridge over a canal and into another world entirely. The difference was abrupt and amazing.
link to their website so you can take a peek. That meal was one of the most memorable experience from this trip.
In the photo to the right you can see a slim section of the restaurant all the way to the right and in the middle is the medieval belfry that towers over the city.
During the city's heyday, Dutch artists Jan Van Eyck and Hans Memling had studios here so art played a prominent role. While there I toured several museums including the Groeninge Museum, the Memling Museum and Old St. John's Hospital where a display of medieval surgery implements made my happy I'm living in a more advanced age.
Another place that was on my list of must-sees was the Church of Our Lady where Michelangelo's Madonna and Child resides. The church is tiny but its treasure is great.
If you happened to see the George Clooney movie "Monuments Men", you will know that this statue played an important part in that movie.
The photo above is one of my favorite travel photos. On one drizzly afternoon, I walked along one of the canals to the outer ring canal where I saw this scene. There was something so appealing about the wet path, misty atmosphere and that rugged boat. Struggling with an umbrella, guide book and camera, I managed to get the shot.
The walk was to see the windmills that run along this canal. You can see one of them through the mist in the photo to the left.
I have been wanting to go back to this magical place ever since this visit so long ago and it has somehow escaped me. When travel gets restored back to normal, I will make an effort to see this place again. I hope I find it just as charming as I did almost 30 years ago.
One last thing I forgot to mention. Chocolate! There were chocolate shops everywhere and I indulged in a lot of it. One thing is certain, when I make it back, I'll indulge some more.
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Luckily I had photographed the the street sign so that I would remember to do a little research and see if I could find some information about this place. I learned this building is called Casa Degli Omenoni and it is a historic palace built by sculptor Leone Leoni. Apparently he lived and worked here. You might think he actually sculpted the facade himself but it appears he designed it and it was created by another sculptor, Antonio Abondio. The name of the palace is based on the eight statues which in Italian were known as "omenoni" or big men.
What caught my eye immediately was this rather grotesque relief just under the cornice. It depicts two lions tearing a satyr to pieces. Lions were a reoccurring theme for this building evidently referring to the "Leoni" family name. This depiction might serve as a warning to not mess with the people living inside. That's just a guess on my part.
Sunday, August 2, 2020
Mission San Xavier del Bac is located about 10 miles south of Tucson Arizona on the Tohono O'odham Nation San Xavier Indian Reservation. It was founded in 1692 by Padre Eusebio Kino. It has come to be known as "the white dove of the desert" because of it's white stucco exterior.
Unlike most of the chain of Missions in California and Arizona, this one is still actively run by the Franciscans and still serves the local native American community and all others who reside in the area.
It is a beautiful church that is easy to find and welcoming to all visitors. I try to make a point of visiting it anytime I visit Tucson. These photos were taken during the monsoon season a few years ago. I think the church looked especially dramatic with those huge, puffy clouds in the background.