.All Trips / Europe / France

Exploring the Arc de Triomphe

Paris._Arc_de_Triomphe._Postcard,_c.1920

Paris’ Arc de Triomphe rests at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, near the western end of the Champs-Élysées, and is at the hub of twelve radiating avenues.  It is a war memorial honoring those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.  The monument is decorated with war scenes, symbols and the names of French victories and victorious Generals. 

Beneath the vault rests the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (from World War I, interred in 1920).  This grave was visited by President and Mrs Kennedy in 1961.  Rumor has it that after JFK was assassinated in 1963, Jackie requested an eternal flame be placed at her husband’s grave in Arlington Cemetery because she’d liked the one under the Arc de Triomphe.

Closer view of the Arc de Triomphe

Closer view of the Arc de Triomphe

The design of …

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.All Trips / England / Europe

The Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, London

00 Albert Memorial, Hyde Park (14)

The Albert Memorial is located in Kensington Gardens across the street from the Royal Albert Hall.  Once seen, you’ll never forget this Memorial.  Extremely ornate, built in the high-Gothic Victorian revival style, it commemorates Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who died of typhoid fever at the young age of 42 in 1861. 

The monument was commissioned by Queen Victoria and unveiled in 1872.  The happy marriage between Victoria and Albert is well known, so the creation of a beautiful tribute to the prince should not surprise anyone.  The memorial is 176 feet (54 m) tall, took over ten years to complete, and cost £120,000 (today the equivalent of about more than £10,000,000). 

Albert Memorial, London

Albert Memorial, London

It is officially titled the “Prince Consort National Memorial” and …

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“Pic of the Week”, May 18, 2018: The Orangerie Museum, Paris

02 Paris Orangerie

Situated adjacent to the Seine in the Jardin des Tuileries, not far from the Louvre, you’ll find a wonderful museum.  It’s next to the Place de la Concord and is housed in the palace’s old orange-tree growing greenhouse (orangery), a building completed in 1852. The building is lovely, with some statues outside including one by Rodin, but it’s what’s inside that’s truly special.

The Orangerie museum is a 20th century art gallery and its best know pieces are a series of Monet water-lily paintings known as the Nymphéas which occupy much of the upper floor.  Eight huge canvases of lilies are hung in two galleries, all painted by Monet when he was an old man beginning to lose his eyesight to cataracts.  …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 20, 2018: Views of Seville

07 Seville views

For over 800 years the tower of Seville’s magnificent cathedral (the Giralda) stood as the tallest structure in the city, built at 103 m.  Completed in 1195, it was originally the minaret of the Aljama mosque before it became the bell tower of a Christian Church.  The structure took 12 years to build.

The name Giralda means “she who turns” after the weather vane on top of the tower.  The figure on the weather vane, called El Giraldillo, represents faith.

The Giralda, originally used for calling faithful Muslims to prayer and as an observatory,  was highly valued by the Moors.  There were plans to destroy it before the Christian conquest of the city in 1248, but a threat by King Alfonso X …

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.All Trips / Europe / Spain

Seville’s Awesome Cathedral!

04 Seville Cathedral

Seville’s cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The cathedral was built in the 15th century (1401 to 1506 A.D.) on the site of the 12th century Aljama mosque.  Portions of the mosque survive within the Cathedral’s structure, most notably the belltower known as Giralda.

Seville’s Cathedral is very popular with visitors and unless you arrive early or late, you’ll likely have to wait in line to purchase your ticket.  It’s one of the most magnificent churches I’ve ever seen, and I found it well worth the wait and price of admission.  While you wait in line you’ll have time to study and enjoy some of the beautiful craftsmanship adorning the …

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.All Trips / Europe / Germany

Signs of Berlin

Signs20of20Berlin20285129

Berlin is an interesting and fun destination.  Almost completely destroyed by bombs in World War II, it is mostly a newly rebuilt city, though with some interesting preserved historic sites.  Economically the city is doing well and it has a young vibe because of its college and job scene.

While strolling through the city, I captured (as I always do), images of those signs caught my fancy in some way.  These included:

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge)

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“Pic of the Week”, January 19, 2018: Grafton Street, Dublin

Grafton 5a

Grafton Street is a popular pedestrian walkway in downtown Dublin, with many historic buildings and a variety of shops, restaurants, hotels and bars.  It is the main shopping street in Dublin.  The street is lovely and the ambience conducive to window-shopping and a leisurely stroll. 

Grafton Street begins at St Stephens Green and runs north towards Trinity College.  It’s at the northern end that you find the statue of Molly Malone.   The area is popular with street performers and has become renowned as a launch pad for musical acts, such as U2 front man Bono.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

 

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.All Trips / Europe / Poland

Some Doors of Krakow

07-Doors-of-Krakow-25

During my travels I’ve started to focus on certain features of the destinations I’m visiting, especially signs and more recently doors.  I find them to be quite interesting and often reflective of the folks that built and use them.

The doors we encountered in Poland were as about as expected.  Strong, sturdy, solidly-built and often utilitarian, but with some having a unique and interesting artistic flare.

Here are some of the doors we saw in Krakow:

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, then right arrow to advance the slideshow)

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