“Pic of the Week”, December 13, 2019: Radovljica Chocolate Festival

00 Radovljica Chocolate Art

I was unaware that the small city of Radovljica, home of Slovenia’s famous bee-keeping Museum, was home to a chocolate festival until I saw this piece of street art sitting near the main town square.

I did a little research and found this event is fairly new, starting in 2012.  It is held over a weekend in early April of each year, usually on the weekend after Easter.  Chocolatiers from all over the country and some from neighboring countries show up and feature their wares.  You can buy “tasting” coupons that let you sample the delicious assortment of chocolates.  My mouth waters just thinking about it (confession — I am a lover of fine chocolate)

Besides palate tempting displays …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 25, 2019: Remembering Leonardo, Piazza della Scala, Milan

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Just north of Milan’s Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a popular park known as Piazza della Scala, named for the city’s famous Teatro alla Scala opera house directly opposite this piazza.  It’s a place of space and refuge in a busy and crowded area of the city.  Other buildings on the Piazza include Palazzo Marino (Milan’s city hall) and Palazzo della Banca Commerciale Italiana.

To me the most interesting feature of the square was situated at its center, where a thoughtful monument of Leonardo da Vinci sits.  It was crafted by sculptor Pietro Magni (1872).  Milan was Leonardo’s home for much of his early adult life — likely the most productive in his life — and the city proudly remembers it’s adopted son.

(Click …

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.All Trips / England / Europe

Rambling to the British Museum

00 The Theater District (2)

After finishing our visit to the National Gallery in London, my brother and I still had about half the afternoon left so we decided to walk to the British Museum, less than a mile away.

It was a pleasant fall afternoon and we enjoyed the walk — so much so that we started exploring side roads so as to see more sights and extend our stroll.   This was the kind of day where you avoid the Underground world of the Tube.

The famous Odeon Theater, London

The famous Odeon Theater, London

The first part of our walk was through the theatre district, always a fun and colorful place to catch a play and always full of people.  Many of these marquees are likely familiar to you.  Street entertainers here are common …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 20, 2019: Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana

00 Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana (8)

Dragons are an important historic symbol in Slovenia and, as such, one can see why Dragon Bridge in Ljubljana is so popular.  It crosses the Ljubljana River and provides access to its famous Central Market.

The bridge contains four dragon statues, one at each of its four corners, which were beautifully crafted in Vienna.  It was constructed between 1900 and 1901, a time of Art Nouveau, and was Ljubljana’s first reinforced concrete structure.  It replaced an old wooden bridge, called Butchers’ Bridge, which had been on the site since 1819 and which was damaged by an earthquake in 1895.

The bridge is also decorated by lamps containing griffins at their base, which were originally powered by gas.  When the bridge was completed, …

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Doors of Milan’s Duomo

06 Doors of the Duomo

Construction of Milan’s great Cathedral (Duomo) began in the late 14th century and continued for half a millennium.  One of the last details to be completed were the main central entry doors, which date to the late 1800s. 

The church is lovely and its grand entry doors fit well with the overall opulence of the structure.  They are often admired, but only rarely opened.  These doors were crafted between 1894-1908 by Italian sculptor Ludovico Pogliaghi, themed on “stories from the life of Mary”.  Here are some of the features and panels which caught my eye.

The doors are busy and it’s easy to overlook the many exquisitely detailed panels in it. including scenes of Jesus’ life and death, as well as those …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 30, 2019: Milano Centrale Railway Station

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Stazione Milano Centrale is the main station in Milan and has the most passenger traffic of any train station in Europe.  It is large and very busy, connecting Milan with many of Italy and Europe’s great cities. 

The station was officially inaugurated in 1931 to replace the older central station (built 1864).  Its reconstruction coincided with Benito Mussolini becoming Prime Minister.  Mussolini wanted the station to represent the might of Italy’s Fascist regime, so the architecture and details were tweeked to represent what’s now called “fascist architecture”.  The architectural details are powerful but not very refined, and are present throughout the structure.

Although we used the station twice, I never managed to head outside (given the luggage we were totting), so I didn’t photograph the …

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.All Trips / Europe / Malta

The Palace State Rooms and Armoury, Valletta

00 Royal State Rooms and Armoury

One of  Malta’s most popular tourist attractions is a combination ticket to the Presidential Palace’s State Rooms and its Armoury.

You enter the attraction through the palace’s courtyard, a lovely spot with typical Valletta balcony and lovely clock tower.  After your stroll through the courtyard, you gain entry to the palace complex. Your initial stop is the:
State Rooms
The Presidential Palace in Valletta dates to 1566 and was built following the Great Siege of Malta.  It has undergone subsequent remodeling and enlargement, but core elements of the original construction remain.  During the country’s British period it served as the Governor’s Palace and was the seat of Malta’s first constitutional parliament in 1921.  The Palace was significantly damaged during World War …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 16, 2019: Fashion Week, Milan

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Milan Fashion Week was founded in 1958 and is held twice a year– once in the spring, and once in fall.  We were surprised to find ourselves in the middle of the fall show during our recent visit to the city, especially notable in the Brera and Duomo neighborhoods.

Fashion Week is a clothing trade show spread over multiple events and venues, including the stereotypical models on runways, models and their photographers on the streets, promotion of clothes and such.  Fashion Week is run by a non-profit association which coordinates and promotes Italian Fashion, both male and female.

Milan’s is one of four important international Fashion Weeks, the others being held in Paris, London and New York.  

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right …

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