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Brussels (and surrounding Flanders) was historically a center of excellent tapestry production, especially since the time of the Renaissance. Many castles in Europe were filled with tapestries from Brussels, providing them with color, warmth and sound insulation.
This tradition continues to this day. We visited a large tapestry shop while rambling around the streets of Brussels which seemed to specialize in tapestries of famous paintings. The prices, while not cheap, were not extravagant and another item was added to our checked baggage for our home journey.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)
Copenhagen is nice city, but not one I’d consider among Europe’s most beautiful. An exception to this is Nyhavn, one of Copenhagen’s neighborhoods, which has undeniable appeal and charm. If there is a more stereotypical Scandanavian neighorhood, I don’t know of it.
Nyhavn was constructed by popular Danish King Christian V between 1670 to 1675. The harbor was dug by Swedish prisoners of war and provided access from the old inner city at Kongens Nytorv (King’s Square) to the sea.
Originally Nyhavn was a commercial harbor at which ships from around the world would dock. Most of its colorful buildings were built in the 17th and 18th century, and its docks back then were busy with sailors, fishermen, dockworkers, and ladies of …
It was surprisingly cold and damp when we visited Sicily a few Februaries ago. After walking about Catania for a few hours, it was always nice to stop for a cup of coffee and a pastry, to rest and warm up some.
A most pleasant finding was this fine bakery/cafe/snack bar in Catania, which we visited daily while in that city. The place exuded elegant 19th century charm, like so many in Europe. Here we met a wonderful cafe employee who was very kind to us but whose name currently eludes me. He treated us like welcome members of his family.
The place specialized in a large variety of fresh-baked pastries and snacks (like pizza and buns with meat). Everything looked great …
One of the most popular spots on Oahu is Waikiki, and that’s especially true of the beach at sunset. Thousands of tourists and locals crowd in for a variety of reasons. Some are there to sunbathe or swim. Others are there to surf or paddle-board. Some come for a sunset sail or cruise. Many more are there just to enjoy the sights and colors of the setting sun. The clouds and weather combine to make each sunset a unique experience.
During my last trip to Hawaii, we spent 3 nights in Waikiki and were always on the beach when the sun was ready to dip below the horizon. The colors were impressive and on this series of images I wanted to …
One of the most amazing sites in Sri Lanka is the Gal Vihara, which is located within the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I thought the Gal Vihara was unusual and interesting enough to warrant a more detailed blog. During my last visit I spent a full hour here, studying and photographing details of the carvings and just watching people.
This has long been a site of Buddhist worship and teaching. Gal Vihara (meaning ‘Rock Temple’) is an amazing collection of beautifully sculpted Buddha images carved from a massive granite boulder. The scope of the carvings and their beautiful detail never cease to amaze me. Hard to imagine the time it …
The small prairie city of Red Deer is not a place one would expect to find great architecture, but St. Mary’s Catholic Church is a notable and interesting exception.
The design of this church was the first project of Canadian architect, Douglas Cardinal. Born and raised in Red Deer, Mr. Cardinal is Metis. Today Cardinal is best known for designing the memorable Museum of Civilization in Ottawa and the Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC.
Planning for the church’s construction began in 1964 and it was completed in 1968. The entire structure is curved — the walls, roofline, even the roof. There are no windows — light enters …
There aren’t many large cities on the Canadian prairies, and these are often separated by hundreds of miles. While far from large, with less than 35,000 residents, Moose Jaw is the 4th largest city in Saskatchewan. When driving across the TransCanada highway, Moose Jaw can provide a pleasant stop and diversion as it’s about half way between Winnipeg and Calgary.
On my last drive across Saskatchewan, I spent a half day in Moose Jaw. The city has more than 50 interesting murals which provide a glimpse of the city’s history, which I’ve shared in a prior blog on TravelGumbo. I spotted most of these while wandering around the historic core of the city and that’s what …
Stockholm City Hall is unusually popular for a government building and is one of Stockholm’s most visited attractions. While it is a functioning government building — including with a city council chamber and supporting offices and staff — it’s most famous as being the venue for the Nobel Prize banquet held on the 10th of December each year.
City Hall is built on the shore of Kungsholmen Island and offers great views of the old sections of the city and Lake Malarenan. The building was constructed between 1911-1923 and was said to be the city’s largest architectural project of the 20th century. The building was designed by noted architect, Ragnar Östberg. More than 8 million bricks were used in its …