“Pic of the Week”, September 8. 2017 : Old man with bike, Chartres

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A scene of every day life in an historic city.
 
After having spent the morning exploring the great medieval cathedral in Chartres, we finished a fine lunch before heading into the medieval city down by the River.  While on our journey we came across this seasoned citizen, walking his bike up an incline.  Seems he is outfitted to go to the market.  Just an everyday scene in an ancient city.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge)

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“Pic of the Week”: August 18, 2017. Temple Bar District, Dublin

01 Temple Bar intro

Ireland is well known for its music, food, Guinness, whiskey, and friendly engaging people, all of which (and more) can be found and enjoyed in Temple Bar District.

Temple Bar is an area on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin. Unlike the areas surrounding it, Temple Bar has preserved its medieval street pattern, with many narrow cobbled streets.  Many of the pubs in the area are hundreds of years old.

Temple Bar is promoted as Dublin’s cultural quarter, being the location of many Irish cultural institutions, including the Irish Photography Centre, the Ark Children’s Cultural Centre, the Irish Film Institute, the Temple Bar Music Centre, the Gaiety School of Acting, as well as the Irish Stock Exchange …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Spain

La Boqueria: Barcelona’s fabulous Food Market

01 La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

One of the finest food markets I’ve ever visited, and supposedly one of the best in the world, is the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, usually just called “La Boqueria It’s one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist spots — so much so that group tours are no longer allowed inside.  You, the independent traveler, are welcome!  The market is just off the popular pedestrian mall, La Rambla, not far from Barcelona’s opera house. A iron gate frames your entrance to the very diverse and fresh selection of food items within.

The first mention of the Boqueria market dates to 1217, when tables were installed near the old city gate to sell meat. From December 1470, a pig market was …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 21, 2017: Ha’Penny Bridge, Dublin

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A landmark worth looking for while exploring Dublin is the charming Ha’Penny Bridge.  The bridge was built in 1816 and was the first to span the River Liffey.  Before this bridge was built, the only public option Dubliners had for crossing the

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Palermo’s Palazzo dei Normanni

02 Exterior of Palermo Palazzo del Normanni (2)

Palazzo dei Normanni (Palace of the Normans) is the old Royal Palace in Palermo, Sicily.  It was built in the 9th century by the Arab/Islamic rulers for the harems of their emirs.  It was expanded and renovated by the Normans who subsequently conquered Sicily in 1072.  The Norman kings transformed the building into a multi-functional complex that served as an administrative center and a royal residence.  During the period of Norman rule, Sicily thrived and prospered.

The Palazzo sits on the highest spot in Palermo and is the oldest royal residence in Europe.  After the Normans left, Palazzo dei Normanni was not used for several centuries.  But the palace returned to an administrative role in the second half of the sixteenth century, when the Spanish governors chose …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 7, 2017. A Wedding in Palermo

04 Wedding in Palermo Palazzo del Normanni (16)

One of the pleasures of traveling is stumbling on memorable scenes of everyday life.  So it was as we waited to gain admittance to the Capella Palatina

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Exploring Historic Segesta, Sicily

02 Segesta

When we visited Sicily a few aspects of our time there surprised me.  1)  The food was even more delicious than I expected.  2)  The landscape was far more hilly and mountainous than I thought it would be.  3) The large assortment and general good state of preservation of the country’s archaeologic sites.

Segesta (also known as Egesta) is close to the island’s most populous city, Palermo, and is even closer to its airport.  It is easily accessible by car, the Autostrada only minutes away, so a car rental is the easiest way to get there (bus connections are said to be slow and difficult).  Unlike Agrigento in southern Sicily, there is no modern city nearby — just beautiful hills, farms …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Italy

Catania’s Fabulous Market

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Besides the sight of Mt. Etna looming not far away, perhaps the most famous landmark in Catania is its lively fish market, La Pescheria.  There’s more to the market than seafood, but I’ve never encountered a more diverse selection of fresh seafood anywhere.  And the operative word is fresh as much of the merchandise was still flopping and flipping about.  The fish mongers are a lively bunch, trying to entice everyone passing by to purchase their fish, which are said to be the best and/or cheapest in the market.

Given that it’s situated on the Gulf of Catania, it’s not surprising to find that seafood is so popular with the locals and a key ingredient in local cuisine.  You’ll find massive …

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