"Gargoyles & Graffiti"chronicles architectural elements that I find interesting or unique in my travels. Gargoyles are my passion, but today graffiti (which I hate but am learning to love as it is everywhere) is as much a part of architecture as the gargoyles and decorative railings that thrill me.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tetouan Again

Pension in Medina of Tetouan
Walking through the Medina of Tetouan, which is hundreds of years old, our guide showed up a typical Pension or typical small hotel room. Based on the age and dirtiness of the sign, I would not think it would be like the Ritz. 

Herb shop 
Each shop in the Medina would have something outside to identify it. Whether they sold herbs or vegetables, their wares would be displayed. Some areas were more makeshift carts with tarps over, where others appear to be areas where people live and work. 

Vegetables on display


There were some amazing architectural features along the way, including some very nice doors. Below is an example of one of the doors we saw along our walking tour.

Door and entry in the Medina

Then we came across this sheep. Why he has the marking on the back, I am not sure. Is it that the sheep is scheduled to be slaughtered?

Sheep at the Medina
Hygiene does not appear to be a high priority in this area, but by far the worst area we walked through was where they were preparing the animal hides in to leather. The stench was beyond what you can imagine. I kept being terrified I would fall in to one of the vats. Unfortunately the photos that I took of this area were on my phone that was later stolen, so I have no photos to share. Not sure if that isn't a blessing. But I did find a few photos online. 



Monday, July 30, 2018

Tetouan through my Eyes

City streets of Tetouan
The streets upon entering the city of Tetouan before we arrived at the Medina seemed very French in architecture. The balconies do not seem Spanish to me at all, like Madrid, which is heavily French influenced. 


French style balconies
In the backdrop of the photo above, you can see the white buildings, which are reminiscent of Spanish Andalusian towns. But in the foreground the balconies are French influenced with signs in Arabic, Spanish and even sometimes Spanglish. 


Closer to the Medina
As we got closer to the Medina, a Spanish or Moorish influence in the architecture was much more apparent. The buildings in the Medina are hundreds of years old. Our guide told us as a child he lived there and the rent was then like $1 euro a month, now is approximately $20 euros a month (equivalent in Moroccan money) for the small apartments. 


apartment in Medina of Tetouan
There are small and larger apartments scattered through these very dungeon like corridors with low lying roofs and cubby hole areas. The feeling is very claustrophobic. I have no idea what lies beyond the doors, whether hovel or palace. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Stroll in Morocco

Our guide to Teotouan in Morocco
I promised to tell you a little more about our guide in Tetouan, Morocco. He knew everybody, I mean everybody from  Spanish Ceuta where he picked us up and through Tetouan. When he met us outside the port in Spanish Ceuta very early in the morning, he seemed very brusque and business like. He took all of our passports and formed a packet, with all our passports below and his one top. He explained that he would be vouching for us in his country. I had no idea at that time that they would actually take our passports and keep them at the Moroccan border while we were there. But we would realize later that this was a very good thing, not a bad thing. 

Guides waiting for us at Spanish Ceuta port


We had to go through two border crossings, one to leave Spanish Ceuta which is part of the European Union and then to enter Morocco. Our driver was a great guy, and he spoke Arabic and Spanish, so I communicated with him in Spanish. We were 10 people shoved inside a minivan plus the driver and guide. They put me up front between the driver and guide. I felt crowded, but in the end, I realized was a better location than those stuffed in the back. Off we went.

entering the city of  Tetouan

We passed the beautiful manicured hotel area where, as mentioned, the King has a beach home and descended upon Tetouan early in the morning. The city was still mostly asleep, with the carts and makeshift areas all covered in tarps.
We watched the city wake up. As clean as the beaches were, the city was anything but. It was really dirty and so old.

Market area


Friday, July 27, 2018

Ancient Salona: Where Gargoyles Go to Die

Member of our tour tries out a grave at ancient Salona

If there was ever a place that gargoyles would prefer to die, it would be the ancient city of Salona. I went there on a tour that included ancient Salona and medieval Trogir while cruising on the Norwegian Jade. Founded by the Romans and very close to Diocletian's Palace at Split, Croatia, the ancient city is amazingly well preserved. It had all the requisite Roman city items: walls, a forum, a theater and an amphitheater. But what makes this site so wonderful is the amount of preservation. After having been to Olympus, Greece where all the good stuff is in the museum, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the ruins in their natural state.


Map of the ancient Salona site

Well preserved Ancient Salona near Split, Croatia

Ancient Salona became the capital of the Roman Province of Dalmatia, according to Wikipedia. More information on this gargoyle-inspired and spiritual place can be found here. We spent about an hour walking around. 


Detail of the ruins at Ancient Salona



I could have taken a few more hours without the other tourists. We had a unique crowd on our tour bus, a large group of retired military and their wives. They fought over seats on the bus like we were going to war. It was embarrassing the way they hogged the front seats.



Our group including retired military men and their wives

But the place was awesome and I just did what I always do, made the most of it. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Tetouan, Morocco: A Feast for the Eyes

our guide at Tetouan

It is hard for me to believe I never posted about my shore excursion to Tetouan, Morocco last September. It was quite the day, which started with our guide taking all our passports and giving them to immigrations as we passed from Spanish Ceuta in to Morocco. They would be collected when we left, which was a little frightening at the time, but all worked out well.

We then entered the cleanest place I have ever seen in my life. The area when you first enter Morocco from Spanish Ceuta is where the Moroccan king has a beach house. Just beautiful. Unfortunately I lost all my photos from my phone when it was stolen, and I didn't have backed up to the cloud. My bad.

About 30 minutes later, we entered the old city, the Medina, of Tetouan for our walking tour.


Entrance to the market
We entered in to the market area before the stalls had opened up. As we walked, we began to see the tarps come off and the areas come alive with vendors.


Vendor selling vegetables

I will save the architecture for another post, but here is just one street sign from the Medina area of Tetouan. Wonderful place.

Street sign in Medina of Tetouan

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sorrento Staircase to Heaven

Sorrento staircase
On a tour of the Amalfi coast on the Norwegian Jade, I literally passed through a restaurant. It wasn't open for lunch. There was the most amazing staircase railing, and I just had to photograph it. Looking for new material for my blogs, I decided to sort by date and I found these photos from 2013. They are gems.


Detail of the staircase
I love how a chair is stored under the rustic staircase. It is just awesome work, and I would think made from a local tree. This staircase to Heaven is definitely gargoyle-inspired.


Sorrento Restaurant
According to their website, shown here, this is where canneloni was invented. The place is just full of history. Wow.

I even found a photo of me I liked. Now that is a miracle!

Photo of me May 2013 on excursion of the Amalfi Coast

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Holy Terrors: Gargoyles on Medieval Buildings



Doing some research for a nonfiction book I want to write, I stumbled across this book on Amazon.com. The book is by Janetta Rebold Benton. More information on her can be found here. She is a Fullbright Scholar and art historian.

The book that caught my interest is Holy Terrors: Gargoyles in Medieval Buildings. Below is the description from Amazon. Seems like a must read to me for any gargoyle lover.


Book Description

April 1, 1997
The true gargoyle is a waterspout, an architectural necessity that medieval artisans transformed into functional fantasies. In clear, lively language, the introduction to Holy Terrors explains everything that is known about the history, construction, and purposes of these often rude and rowdy characters. The three chapters that follow are devoted to the gargoyles themselves, in human, animal, and grotesque form. Delving into their sometimes funny, sometimes mysterious meanings, Dr. Benton's entertaining text puts these irresistible creatures into the context of medieval life, and she provides a guide to gargoyle sites, so that readers can visit their favorites. This is, amazingly, the first book for adults to provide a full overview of medieval gargoyles, and it is bound to increase the already numerous legions of gargoyle admirers.