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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)
While exploring the winding alleys and lanes in Seville’s old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz, one of the people showing us around suggested we stop for a snack at a small tapas bar. We were all game because it looked like an interesting place.
Founded in 1870, Las Teresas has been run by the same family for almost a century. Las Teresas is what a typical, traditional tapas bar feels like and I was charmed by it. There are, of course, a number of Iberian hams (jamón) hanging from the ceiling. I loved the old feel to the place and how the walls were plastered with memorabilia. The food we tried was extremely good. The service was friendly and the clientele …
A friend once told me that good public art should capture your attention and “get you in the gut”. That’s certainly true of the Famine statues on Custom House Quay in Dublin’s modernized Docklands. These gaunt figures commemorate the Great Potato Famine of the mid-19th century (1845 – 1847), referred to as An Gorta Mór –“the great hunger”. The location is historic as it was the site of the first voyage of the famine exodus on the ship Perseverance. The work is entitled “Famine” and was presented to the People of Ireland by Norma Smurfit in 1997.
During the great famine approximately 1 million Irish people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, reducing the island’s population by about 25%. …
St. John’s Co-Cathedral occupies a square block in the historic walled city of Valletta and has an unassuming plain exterior, but a beautiful ornate interior and a fascinating history (e.g. Knights of Malta) that certainly makes it well worth exploring.
St. Johns Co-Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It was built by the Order of St. John in 1572, completed in 1604 originally with a relatively plain interior, with the fancy baroque interior you see today completed in the late 17th century. The church is considered one of the finest examples of high Baroque architecture in Europe.
St. John’s remained the church of the Order of St. John until the Order was expelled from Malta during the French …
One of the most popular attractions within Seville’s fabulous Cathedral is this unusual tomb, constructed in honor of famous resident, Christopher Columbus. The great 15th century explorer, widely celebrated for his successes, died in poverty in Valladolid. The tomb itself is more recent, from 1892, with statues of four royal bearers carrying the suspended tomb.
Columbus traveled far in life but likely even further in death. Posthumously his remains have journeyed from Northwestern Spain to Seville, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the USA and finally back to Seville. With all that travel, one might begin to wonder if this is indeed the remains of Christopher Columbus, but recent DNA tests were pretty convincing that this tomb does hold Columbus remains.
(Click on thumbnails …
A fun and recommended activity for those visiting Dublin is to do the Irish Musical Pub Crawl. Unlike the name implies, the consumption of alcohol is optional and everyone actually walked between the venues — no crawling observed! But it is an opportunity to try a pint of Guinness (not a brew I’m very fond of, but better here than when I’ve tried it elsewhere probably due to the freshness of the product). You do get to visit a total of 3 pubs, two in the Temple Bar area, with about a 30-40 minute set at each of the three places.
The tour features two professional Irish musicians, generally playing traditional songs on a guitar and violin. In …
A very popular snack in Madrid, especially for those nursing a hangover or having developed hunger pangs while waiting for a typical late 11 pm dinner, is the classic combination of hot chocolate with churros (a churro is a Spanish fried dough treat much like a donut). Arguably the best hot chocolate and churros in Madrid is found at Chocolateria San Gines, just off the Calle Arenal pedestrian zone of Puerta del Sol in Central Madrid.
Chocolatería San Ginés has been around since 1894, and it looks about the same as it must have on its opening day more than a century ago. The walls are lined with photos of local celebrities and even a few you might recognize.
You’ll be served cups …
Merrion Square is a beautiful garden square in south central Dublin. It was laid out after 1762 and was largely completed by the 19th century. It’s a wonderful place to visit when in Dublin, for a casual stroll or picnic or to relax in a bench and do some people-watching.
People like to linger here, but the most popular resident of the park is a colorful statue of Oscar Wilde. Commissioned by the Guinness Ireland Group, it was sculpted by Danny Osborne and was unveiled about 20 years ago.
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854 – 1900) was an Irish writer and poet who resided across the street from the park. Today he is best remembered for his novel The Picture of …