.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Catania’s Carnival is for Kids!

00 Carnival, Catania

My wife and I visited Sicily during an especially cold February. Our visit began in Palermo, followed by a one week road trip around the island, ending with several days in Catania. Unbeknown to us before we arrived, our visit to Catania coincided with Carnival.
Carnival dates to the Roman Empire and, although it is not a religious celebration, occurs just before Lent.  It’s most commonly celebrated in Catholic countries so it makes sense it would be popular in Italy.  The most famous Carnival celebration in Italy is in Venice; however many smaller celebrations can be found throughout the country.  Carnival is popular in Sicily and is celebrated in a variety of ways — special food, parades, …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 16, 2021: Tapestry shop, Brussels


Brussels (and surrounding Flanders) was historically a center of excellent tapestry production, especially since the time of the Renaissance. Many castles in Europe were filled with tapestries from Brussels, providing them with color, warmth and sound insulation.
This tradition continues to this day. We visited a large tapestry shop while rambling around the streets of Brussels which seemed to specialize in tapestries of famous paintings.  The prices, while not cheap, were not extravagant and another item was added to our checked baggage for our home journey.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


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.All Trips / Denmark / Europe

Nyhavn: The Best of Copenhagen

00 Nyhavn

Copenhagen is nice city, but not one I’d consider among Europe’s most beautiful. An exception to this is Nyhavn, one of Copenhagen’s neighborhoods, which has undeniable appeal and charm. If there is a more stereotypical Scandanavian neighorhood, I don’t know of it.
Nyhavn was constructed by popular Danish King Christian V between 1670 to 1675. The harbor was dug by Swedish prisoners of war and provided access from the old inner city at Kongens Nytorv (King’s Square) to the sea.



Originally Nyhavn was a commercial harbor at which ships from around the world would dock. Most of its colorful buildings were built in the 17th and 18th century, and its docks back then were busy with sailors, fishermen, dockworkers, and ladies of …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 9, 2021: Etoile D’or Catania, a Sicilian Cafe

03 Cafe Etoile D’or Catania

It was surprisingly cold and damp when we visited Sicily a few Februaries ago. After walking about Catania for a few hours, it was always nice to stop for a cup of coffee and a pastry, to rest and warm up some.
A most pleasant finding was this fine bakery/cafe/snack bar in Catania, which we visited daily while in that city. The place exuded elegant 19th century charm, like so many in Europe. Here we met a wonderful cafe employee who was very kind to us but whose name currently eludes me. He treated us like welcome members of his family. 
The place specialized in a large variety of fresh-baked pastries and snacks (like pizza and buns with meat). Everything looked great …

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.All Trips / Europe / Sweden

Stockholm’s Unique City Hall

00 Stockholm City Hall

Stockholm City Hall is unusually popular for a government building and is one of Stockholm’s most visited attractions. While it is a functioning government building — including with a city council chamber and supporting offices and staff — it’s most famous as being the venue for the Nobel Prize banquet held on the 10th of December each year.
City Hall is built on the shore of Kungsholmen Island and offers great views of the old sections of the city and Lake Malarenan.   The building was constructed between 1911-1923 and was said to be the city’s largest architectural project of the 20th century.  The  building was designed by noted architect, Ragnar Östberg.  More than 8 million bricks were used in its …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 26, 2021: Kungsträdgården, Stockholm

06 Kungstradgarden (1)

Kungsträdgården (the King’s Garden) is a popular park and public space in the center of Stockholm, not far from the Royal Palace.  It dates to the Middle Ages and, just like the city in which it resides, has changed a lot over the centuries.
This place is popular with the Swedes and you’ll likely find it busy, especially in the warmer summer months when a covered stage hosts many popular events such as concerts.   There are rows of benches for sitting and a variety of cafes and restaurants you can enjoy.
In the colder weather you can explore a popular Christmas market on December weekends, or a skating rink.
I was especially fond of the following fountain, by Johan Molin. It was originally …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 19, 2021: Statue of Hans Christian Andersen, Copenhagen

01 Rathaus and Square. Hans Christian Anderson Square (4)

Hans Christian Andersen is the well know author of many popular fairy tales, like ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘The Ugly Duckling’. He was a proud citzen of Denmark, born in Odense but a resident of Copenhagen most of his life. The city has honored its most famous resident with a number of statues and memorials like plaques on homes where he lived.
This nice statue is situated beside City Hall on Hans Christian Andersen Blvd, and is very popular with tourists. Hans is holding a book and looking across the road toward Tivoli park. The bronze statue was made by Henry Luckow-Nielsen and installed in 1965.
I was interested to learn that H.C. Andersen was a passionate adventurer, making many trips abroad …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 12, 2021: A Produce Shop in Brera

01 Fruit Market Brera neighborhood (2)

While exploring the Brera neighborhood of Milan, my wife and I came across this rather nice fruit/produce shop.
While not a farmer’s market, I was impressed with the freshness and high quality of the produce, and how attractively it was displayed.
(Clock on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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