"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.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Girona: Here I Come

Riverside area of Girona from Wikipedia
Starting to get super psyched about my upcoming cruise from Rome to Rome. I will visit Palermo, Sicily, Tunisia, Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Portofino ... back to Rome. (I know I have mixed up countries and states, but this is how I think of them.) As I have been to Barcelona twice in the last 3 years, I plan to go to Girona, Figueres and the Dali Museum. Don't get me wrong. I love love love Barcelona, but this time I want to venture out and how better to do it than on a Holland America ship tour. 

Above is a photo from Girona, Spain. Looks absolutely amazing! Girona Cathedral sounds awesome too. More information from wikipedia can be found here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dubrovnik & Corfu: Heavenly Sea Views

Corfu, Greece
On our Roman Empire cruise, our first stop was Dubrovnik, Croatia. Second stop was Corfu in Greece. I was hard pressed to decide which has more magnificent sea views, the Adriatic Sea near Dubrovnik or the Mediterranean Sea near Corfu. Both are so amazing because the hilly or mountainous terrain on these islands creates lookouts for Heavenly sea views.

You decide. Which do you like more?

Dubrovnik Adriatic sea view
Paleokastritsa Beach in Corfu
Vlacheraina monastery at Corfu
View near Dubrovnik
In and around Dubrovnik, the Adriatic sea is a deep blue and on Paleokastritsa Beach in Corfu, the water of the Mediterranean is so clear, it reminds me of my hometown of Cozumel.

Where is this? Answer at end of post.

Corfu pier

More information can be found on Corfu hereInfo on hotel options by Paleokastritsa Beach, in my opinion one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, can be found here.

Information on Dubrovnik, Croatia can be found here. Personally, I think they are both magnificent and would be thrilled to go back either place.
Lastly, no post would be complete without some art or architecture so here goes.

From Achilleion Palace in Corfu

Answer from above: Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dubrovnik Croatia: A Medieval Delight

The last few days I have been reminiscing about a Holland America cruise I went on with my niece called Roman Empire on the Holland America Noordam. We visited Croatia, some ports in Italy and Greece and Malta - from Rome to Rome. I remembered how beautiful the Adriatic Sea was in Dubrovnik, but I hadn't fully appreciated the old medieval buildings. Looking at the photographs again, I am struck by their beauty. This is definitely a gargoyle post!

 First for the gorgeous scenery ...

So lush and green

Sarah and me (on the right)

Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea

We took a bus tour through the countryside and the views were awe-inspiring. When we returned to the town, my niece and I took a stroll around and bought some paintings made by local artists and had lunch at an outdoor cafe. In all sincerity, I don't remember what I ate but I do remember the town. It is delightful!

Now on to the medieval streets and statuary:

Mix of old and new!

Beautiful courtyard
More information on Dubrovnik and Croatia can be found here

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ephesus, Turkey: A Truly Awe-Inspiring Site

Ephesus, Turkey ruins


The day my niece and I went to Ephesus on our Roman Empire cruise, the young guy working in the coffee shop on the ship mixed up the decaf and regular coffee. We ordered cappuccinos expecting to get a nice jolt for our tour day. 

Instead, I walked around Ephesus bleary-eyed. But looking back now on the photos, I am blown away by how truly awe-inspiring this site really is. It is so amazing that it is hard to believe that it is real. 

From a website on Ephesus, "During the 2nd century BC, Ephesus was the fourth largest city in the eastern Roman Empire, famous for its Artemesium, the Library of Celsus and its medical school." Additional information on Ephesus can be found here.

Library of Celsus at Ephesus

I mean, come on, The Library of Celsus ... this is the same Celsus that is responsible for centigrade readings of temperature. It doesn't get more special than that. And the preservation and restoration are incredible. The best part of the tour was the Terrace Houses, which we paid extra for. But I will cover that in another post. For now, I am remembering the walk we took through time.

The day was sunny, hot and bright. There were what seemed like a million people there. Groups from all over the world speaking with group leaders speaking in over 15 languages at the same time. What I wouldn't give to go back and walk the site alone or with a small group!

Is it Greek or Roman?

The archaeology of Ephesus is especially interesting to me. On Wikipedia, I found this, "The history of archaeological research in Ephesus stretches back to 1863, when British architect John Turtle Wood, sponsored by the British Museum, began to search for the Artemision. In 1869 he discovered the pavement of the temple, but since further expected discoveries were not made the excavations stopped in 1874. In 1895 German archaeologist Otto Benndorf, financed by a 10,000 guilder donation made by Austrian Karl Mautner Ritter von Markhof, resumed excavations. In 1898 Benndorf founded the Austrian Archaeological Institute which plays a leading role in Ephesus today."

More information on Ephesus can be found here.

My favorite Ephesus cat

Port of Kusadasi where the Noordam docked

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Archaeological Museum of Olympia: Part 2

Back by popular demand (thanks, Rob) .... revisiting the Archaeological Museum in Olympia

One of the most impressive museums I have been to in the world. The museum in Athens is much larger and is even more impressive, but the museum at Olympia is awesome. It actually makes sense of the archaeological site. Some of our cruise  mates did not visit the museum and were a touch disappointed in the tour. It was the highlight of our visit to Olympia for me.

More information on the museum can be found here. These are just a few of the wonderful things you can find. The museum is not big, but it is really special. Let's all support Greece and visit there this year. They could use the economy boost. It is a beautiful country, especially the islands. A few of the great things to see below ....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Archaeological Museum of Olympia: Home of the Gods

From the Archaeological Museum in Olympia

Our tour group visiting the Museum

Mr. Lamb taught Greek mythology at Regina High School, where I attended for the 9th and 10th grades.  I also took his photography classes and loved those. Can’t say the same for Greek mythology. I just didn’t get it. Too many names, too much drama, seemed almost like real life but more so. Little did I know that 38 years later I would be standing in front of the displays of the Archaeological Museum in Olympia, memorized by all the beautiful works.

It helped that I had gotten a BA in anthropology in the mean time, but my area of study was the Mayan Indians of Mexico and Guatemala. Needless to say though, the works in the museum in Olympia are some of the most impressive in the world.

Dedicated to Zeus, the father of both gods and men, and the father of the Olympics, I walked around this fabulous museum awe-struck. I must have taken photos of every display. Here are a few pieces I photographed. Enjoy!

Bronzes were especially exquisite

We arrived in Olympia on our Roman Empire cruise by way of Katakolon, Greece, a small port town. Other than souvenir shops and a few restaurants, there wasn't much there. Just get on a tour bus or take a taxi and head to Olympia, but let me give you a tip. The best of the best of Olympia is at the Archaeological Museum, so make sure you visit includes this. Below is some information for a good website on the Museum.

From Olympia Museum, and I quote:

"The Archaeological Museum of Olympia, one of the most important museums in Greece, presents the long history of the most celebrated sanctuary of antiquity, the sanctuary of Zeus, father of both gods and men, where the Olympic games were born. The museum's permanent exhibition contains finds from the excavations in the sacred precinct of the Altis dating from prehistoric times to the Early Christian period."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Carnaval in Cozumel

Crowning of the Cozumel Carnaval new King and Queen will take place February 15th, but already the town is gearing up. Deanna Campbell of Two D's Diving and Tour Adventures took a slew of great photos along what is known as the malecon of Cozumel ... the main beach street downtown. Here are some of my favorites.

Festivities will run through Feb 22nd. For a full schedule, please click here.

And if you would like more information on Two D's Diving and Tour Adventures, feel free to contact them. There was a great article written up about them on Dive News Network's Cozumel, Mexico: A Holiday on Holiday.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Graveyard in Galicia: a Holy Place

A beautiful graveyard in Galicia, Spain

On our cruise from Barcelona to Dover, we spent one day in Galicia, Spain. We made a stop at a graveyard that was the site of a Church that had burned down hundreds of years before. As most everything is made from stone in this area, much of the outer walls of the Church structure remained. The graveyard was then placed in front. I thought is was an ingenious use of the space.

Definitely a gargoyle post - the graves were so beautifully decorated and there were flowers everywhere!

Burned down Church made of local stone

I loved walking around the reading the names of the deceased. Spanish names are so beautiful anyway, and in such a tranquil setting ...

My friend Neil photographing the graveyard
 One wall also had Christ on the cross and a place to say a prayer. This was one of my favorite spots on the cruise.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Holland America Eurodam: Another Look

Me in the main dining room
Atrium of the Holland America Eurodam

Atrium Bar

I am psyched. I will be going on another cruise on the Holland America Eurodam. I liked it that much. The itinerary I wanted was available on the Eurodam and on the Nieuw Amsterdam, but I preferred to go in the spring and not in the fall, so I chose the Eurodam. Maybe I will do the Nieuw Amsterdam in 2013!

Main dining room

I nostalgically went back and looked at my photos from the May 2011 cruise from Barcelona to Dover. What a ship! Can't wait to join her again and see my friends, George from the Lido and Henry from the Canaletto.

Sunset from my room
Flowers on the front desk

Me again!
I am one lucky lady!!!