"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.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Lucca vs. Cinque Terre

Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy is one of those rare and special places. I have been there either two times. The first time was in 1995, and I went by train from Rome and spent five days there. It was exquisite, though a bit cold, as it was winter. The second time, my husband and I took a tour that stopped in Florence. We loved it enough to abandon our tour and stay an extra day, then taking the train on to Venice. 


Lucca in Tuscany
Next year, I will be on a cruise that will stop in Livorno. I could either return to Florence, take a tour to Cinque Terre or go to Lucca. I am torn and can't decide. Both Cinque Terre and Lucca look amazing. The crowds kind of turn me off for Cinque Terre though. I probably won't return to Florence, as I love to explore new places. Help me decide!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cinque Terre Once Again

Beautiful photo of Cinque Terre
I read recently that the number of guests that are allowed to enter the villages of the Cinque Terre are going to be limited. Crowds enter these villages during the summer months from the cruise ships.


Vernazza of the Cinque Terre
I did see the villages of the Cinque Terre once from far away when on a tour to Santa Maria Ligure and Portofino. The sherbert colored buildings could be seen atop the mountain cliffs from the highway. I look forward to an actual visit there next year!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Lunenburg

my friend Susan McClung taking a photo of Lunenburg
I could probably do a hundred posts of the town of Lunenburg. That is how impressed I was with the place. Combine it with Mahone Bay down the road, and it is Heaven on Earth. We were there before season started, and it was quite chilly. Sometimes I had to stomp my foot up and down to shake off the cold before snapping a photo. Susan was braver than me. When she was taking this photo, I was on the bus where the heat was on.


Lunenburg on the water
Lunenburg is a town of sherbert color houses that are 200 years old and not only still standing, but meticulously kept up. It is a hilly town with friendly folks and a wonderful, calm ambience. We weren't there in the summer, but I have to believe it livens up a lot.


One of my favorite photos of Lunenburg
The photo above is engineering at its best. This appears to be a handmade boat ramp.




Another wonderful building is the old Lunenburg Academy, which used to be a school. Definitely a gargoyle-inspired building, I think it would be a great place to film a horror movie. Next to the Academy is the Lunenburg Cemetery.


Lunenburg Cemetery









Saturday, October 15, 2016

Mahone Bay & Lunenburg Homes: Colors of the Rainbow

Mahone Bay home converted to a business

Mahone Bay was our first stop on our fabulous tour with Robert of Halifax. I don't believe Robert really even needs a last name. Kind of like Cher or Prince, he stands out as the premier guide to the Halifax area of Nova Scotia. 

Robert in front of the Angilcan Church at Lunenburg

Wearing a kilt and a stern expression when we met him (he could have just been cold with that skirt on!), we had no idea how charming and entertaining he would be. A former history teacher, Robert was full of information and he told it in the most fascinating way.

Our guide Robert in front of a house in Lunenburg


Note the colors of the winter storm door
He entertained through the entire day, taking us first by bus through Halifax and then on to Mahone Bay and finally to Lunenburg. There were so many gorgeous things about these two towns, but what is the most inspiring of all is how old these homes are. Most are 200 years old, built by German immigrants who were given a stipend by England of a free piece of land, lumber and nails to build a home in an area that is quite inhospitable in the winter.


Mahone Bay even has a sign of the original settlers of the area. I know it is hard to read here, but I blew it up and you can see some of the names below.



There was a huge migration of Germans in the time around 1750 to 1754. I found a great article on the emigration to the Halifax area at this time. You can read that here. Go down to where they talk about entering Lunenburg Harbor for the first time. Britain had promised them land, lumber and nails, but it appears that the Germans who landed in Halifax from 1750 to 1752 owed the British Crown for their passage. It must have been a bleak existence when they first started. It is fascinating reading about this area, and what still remains after over 200 years are the wonderful homes.





Friday, October 14, 2016

Oh My Cod: Great Eatery in Mahone Bay

Photo of the lovely owner of Oh My Cod Restaurant
Well I have been back from the Canada New England cruise that started in Fort Lauderdale for months, and now I am finally posting photos and remembering the great things I did and saw. One thing that has been nagging at me for months is the promise I made to a lovely young woman shown here, that I would do a blog post about her gorgeous restaurant, Oh My Cod, in Mahone Bay, Novia Scotia.


me in Mahone Bay in front of Oh My Cod
The restaurant is awesome, and is just one of the lovely things about the gem of a town. We were there so early that most of the local owners were scraping, painting, landscaping and generally getting ready for the tourist season. I had one of the workers take my photo in front of Oh My Cod while they were working on the outside deck area.


outside deck renovation from the end of April 2016




Thank you, kind soul, for taking my photo. As I am writing this, I cannot find the business card that the owner gave me, but I was able to find their website online and am now a friend on their Facebook page. If you ever make it up to this beautiful town in Nova Scotia, please stop and have a bite at Oh My Cod.
For more information, their website is here. Become their fan on Facebook at their Facebook page here.

More on Mahone Bay in another post!!


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Goat Hair, Mohair, and Angora


Goat farm


Le Chevier du Nord goat farm was one destination on our Best of Saguenay tour. What I noticed right away was how dirty the "sheep" looked and how wide set were their eyes. 

at Le Chevier du Nord

They are really very bizarre looking creatures, quite large and really look like sheep to me. I had never seen a goat like this before, but they are goats. They are goats that produce a beautiful mohair that can be made in to angora garments, including sweaters and boots.



the goats
As I said, they are quite dirty but very cute and quite friendly. We walked through the process of how they sheer the goats and finally make their wool in to wonderful sweaters, coats and other garments.






You can find out more information about this lovely, family run business here.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Saguenay: Definitely Graffiti-Inspired


Tattoo of our bus driver in Saguenay

If there was one unusual place we visited on our Canada New England repositioning cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Montreal, it was Saguenay, Quebec.
First of all, I was fascinated by the tattoo of our bus driver shown above, and his tattoo kind of set the tone for the entire day. Just kind of weird and bizarre, but interesting.


Our guide at the goat farm


Besides the eery tattoo, we went to visit a goat farm. To me, the goats looked like sheep. But when I came back, I looked up the information on these guys and they were definitely goats. They are goats with mohair. Guess I learn something new every day.


Goats that look like sheep to me


The baby goats

It was a bizarre day all around. We went to a presentation at a small museum to see how fjords form. It was like going to a school room from the 1950s where they tried to be space age. Very odd. Then off to the  Le Chevrier du Nord goat farm, and after a musuem that we saw the works of Arthur Villeneuve. He was an eccentric man who painted the outside and inside of his house with tons of murals. I will do a separate post on him. He became quite famous and traveled all over the world.