Dec 28, 2010

Lady In Red – Capilla del Pocito, Mexico City

It is believed that the Virgin Mary appeared four times on what is now the site of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. It is the most visited Catholic shrine in the Americas.

The Capilla del Pocito was built on the site of what is believed to be her fourth appearance. Built in the 18th century the chapel represents some of the finest Baroque Mexican architecture.

Some of the world’s greatest architecture was built in the name of religion-temples, mosques, shrines and cathedrals. It’s easy to appreciate regardless of religious orientation or lack there of.

I don’t know the significance of the woman’s red clothing and wonder if she is a religious pilgrim or nun. If any of my readers do please let me know in the comments.

What is your favorite religious architecture?

Dec 21, 2010

Japan’s Don Quijote

If you need anything while in Japan you’ll find it at one of the country’s Don Quijote stores.

The discount chain offers a jumble of merchandise in its crowded, overflowing aisles. But make no mistake this is not Japan’s answer to K-Mart or the now defunct Woolworths.

There seems to be no method to the madness in terms of how things are laid out. A jumble of electronics, costumes and adult accoutrements are displayed next to socks in the same aisle.

And if you need an extra bag to pack the loot you’ve purchased this is a good place to go for inexpensive luggage. It’s also a good place to pick up novelty souvenirs and gifts. Some are open 24 hours.

Signs are in Japanese so they can be hard to spot. Look out for a blue cartoon bird which looks like the offspring of a penguin and duck.

I like to peruse the shelves of the Don Quijote located on a busy corner in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Several stories high the loot it peddles starts outside on the pavement. The top floor is dedicated to designer goods. Random one off Channel, Gucci and Fendi bags, wallets and belts are locked behind glass cases giving it a pawnshop atmosphere.

Do you have a shop where you live featuring just about everything under the sky?

Dec 5, 2010

Palaces From Around The World

How many times when traveling have you wandered the grounds of one of the world’s palaces and wondered what it must have been line to live there? Built for nobility they have little in common with the much more modest and practical dwellings most of us call home.

You could easily spend hours wandering the large complex of Gyeongbokgung, the Palace of Shining Happiness, in Seoul. Pictured here is Geunjeongjeon, the main palace pavilion.

Located on a busy street in Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan in India, the Palace of the Winds, or Hawa Mahal, allowed for its inhabitants to see out of its windows without outsiders peering in.

Close to Beijing China’s royals spent the hot months at the Summer Palace, the size of which is a small city.

The Presidential Palace in Warsaw Poland is located on Royal Way, of course. In 1955 the Warsaw Pact was signed in this 17th century building where the president lives today.

Kensington Palace is set in Kensington Gardens and still inhabited by royals. Its staterooms are open to the public for tours.