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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 …
I’d like you to meet Boo, a grizzly bear. Boo is well known around the Canadian Rocky Mountain region because he lives at the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge and gets lots of visitors. His home consists of a fenced 22-acre piece of natural land (apparently the world’s largest protected grizzly bear habitat) where Boo has lived and wandered freely since 2003. Boo and his sibling were orphaned at only a few months old when their mother was killed by a poacher; sadly Boo’s sibling didn’t survive his first hibernation.
Boo has found a good home here in eastern British Columbia, near the town of Golden. He’s been known to escape during mating season (he digs out under his electrified fence), …
When you drive through the city of Medicine Hat in east-central Alberta, you’ll encounter an enormous steel structure on the western outskirts of the city. This is the Saamis Teepee, the city’s most prominent landmark. At 65.5 meters high, the Saamis Teepee is the tallest teepee in the world (about as tall as a 20 story building).
Originally built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, it was erected in McMahon Stadium in Calgary where it housed the Olympic Flame during the games. After the Olympics, the teepee was subsequently moved to Medicine Hat and erected here in 1991 due to the generosity and ingenuity of Amerigo (Rick) Filanti.
The Saamis teepee now stands on the edge of an old Blackfoot buffalo jump (place …
Last year I had the pleasant experience of being in eastern Sri Lanka on Good Friday. I was traveling with a friend who is a devout Christian and Roman Catholic. As such we visited several of the Christian churches on the east coast of the country.
Christianity is one of the smaller religions in Sri Lanka, the most common being Buddhism. But there is a strong Christian community especially in the eastern part of the country. On Good Friday (the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death) we visited St. Mary’s Cathedral in Trincomalee. The church was very crowded and busy, with a large line of people waiting to get to the front of the church. Their goal was to see …
Like many people, I enjoy chocolate. Especially goooood chocolate! Not only is it delicious, when done right it’s beautiful.
An example of what I mean, I encountered this chocolatier while wandering around the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest mall. The window displays were absolutely lovely — the chocolates were beautifully packaged and wonderfully displayed, as was an Easter-egg styled display of macaroons. I picked up a few pieces which I enjoyed while exploring this vast Mall — an affordable luxury.
Forrey & Galland is a Parisian company, founded in 1912. While the Parisian shops have disappeared, this shop in the Dubai Mall opened in 2008. All chocolate is crafted right here by a staff of 50 artisans.
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One of my favorite places to enjoy the views from a window seat is when flying over the beautiful desert scenery of Utah and Nevada. Recently while on approach and descending into Las Vegas McCarran Airport, just before sunset, I enjoyed some beautiful scenes of the Mojave Desert. Colorful shades of red, tan and brown, ending with the now filled reservoir that is Lake Mead. And ending with views of the Las Vegas Strip as our plane was about to land.
The last few minutes of I flight I found most memorable.
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It was most helpful having a good guide while in India because we got to see and experience a variety of things we otherwise wouldn’t have. An example was a stop at one of our guide’s friend’s homes while in a small village in Rajasthan.
As part of our education about the Caste system of India, wherein people are born into certain groups or Castes, our guide explained this man was born into the lower Sudra (labor) cast. He was a potter, just like generations of his ancestors before had been.
The potter adeptly demonstrated his ability to mold wet clay into usable vessels, like drinking cups and small bowls. The drinking cups we were especially familiar with as we had a …
One of our stops during a recent visit to the Reno area was the Outlets at Sparks. The store selection and shopping experience left a bit to be desired, but there were some clever pieces of public art including this one, which I really liked. Anyone who’s ever watched a school of sardines swim know how the individual fish merge into a collective organism, and that idea was brilliantly captured in this piece.
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