Part 2…Churches as a integral part of sightseeing throughout the world…

Here’s a video we posted from our veranda in Boveglio Tuscany, Italy, of the church bells
ringing across the way at the SS. Jacopo e Ginese Catholic church.   See our link here.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

This morning’s view from the veranda at 5:30 am.

It’s interesting to watch our readership ebb and flow depending on the topics we cover in a particular day’s story and photos. Yesterday’s church story and photos showed a sharp decline in hits which surprised us.

But, true to our word, we’re completing Part 2 today with photos of other breathtaking and historical churches we’ve seen throughout the world. With too many such church photos to post in only two days, we’ll end this segment and move along tomorrow to another story with new images.

A scene on the interior of the S. Maria Assunta Catholic Church in Benabbio, Italy, in June 2103. See our link here.

However, we share another batch of church photos from our world travels over these past years for our historical and quaint building enthusiasts. Based on the number of passengers we’ve observed attending historical buildings tours on cruises, there are more historical building enthusiasts than we can imagine.

Undoubtedly, there comes the point for those who frequently travel, that the lure of historical buildings eventually wafts away, and they become more attracted to other tourist attractions. 

Gerry, Nicole, and Tom outside a quaint little church n Mykonos, Greece, in June 2013.  See our link here.

A few years ago, we thought we’d reached such a plateau. Still, now after considerable time away from countries known for their hundreds of years of history with architectural acumen, our interest is renewed. Once again, we’re finding churches and old buildings of great interest. 

Many of these photos were taken a few years ago since we’ve spent less time in countries specifically known for their historical buildings during the past two years. Of course, we’ve lived on many islands with outstanding temples and palaces, but most of these were found in Europe.

Busy preparations surrounded the Igreja De Campanario church in Campanario Madeira on July 2014 as workers rushed to get the decorations in place for Saturday’s religious festivities. See our link here.

Sometime in the next several years, we plan to return to Europe. Although we visited and lived in a few of Europe’s countries, one could spend a lifetime exploring all the treasures found in European countries. We’ve traveled very little in eastern and central Europe and not at all in Scandinavia.  We look forward to seeing more in the future.

The world is a vast place. At times, we meet people who start rattling off places they’ve traveled, including many we’ve yet to see. But, living this life isn’t a marathon. 

Here we are wearing saris standing at the foot of the steps at the Pulaki Temple (Monkey Temple) in Singaraja Bali in May 2016. See our link here. 

We don’t have any particular time frames in mind to accomplish a specific goal of what we’ll see in the future. For us, such an objective would diminish the sense of freedom we feel in our singular aim to “do it our way,” not by some preconceived notion of “how” one “should” travel the world.

Of course, we always have some locations booked well into the future. However, with added experience, we’ve found we don’t need to book two years in advance at this place and time. We did so in the beginning, more out of a desire to feel “secure” in knowing where we’d be in the future. 

St. Mary Cathedral in New Plymouth, New Zealand, on its last day before being closed permanently due to its lack of safety during earthquakes. See our link here.

Now, all these years later, we’re confident enough to “wing it” from time to time. At this point, we have no idea where we’ll be living in Marloth Park in 4½ months and feel confident we won’t be living in a tent in the bush. 

Wisdom and peace of mind come from experience. We still have so much to learn and will never reach a point in our world travels where we feel or assume we know how to do it all. It’s a fluid experience that continues to grow and change along with the changes that occur wherever we may travel. 

The Wai’oli hui’ai Church in Hanalei Kauai, Hawaii, which the congregation built in 1841. See our link here.

There’s nothing static about world travel. The risks fluctuate. Our response to experiences changes. Conditions in countries can change in a moment. Our interests can change “on a dime.” 

However, we know that our desire and passion for continuing on this journey hasn’t changed, our desire and passion for living this life together haven’t changed and, our desire and passion for sharing it all with you haven’t changed.

St. Mere Eglise Church with the Paratrooper Memorial in Normandy, France, appears on the left of the church in this photo.  See our link here.

Be well.  Be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, September 29, 2016:

Tom and I both ordered the surf and turf platter at Puri Bagus in Lovina Bali.  He gave me his prawns, squid, and veggies while I passed him my fries, flatbread, and onion rings, requested on a separate plate. The steak was a tenderloin, cooked to perfection and the most tender we’d had in a long while.  For more food photos, please click here.

Part 1…Churches are a integral part of sightseeing throughout the world…

San Rafael Archangel Parish is located in Atenas, the center of town, across from the park.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

A few workers stopped by to help Ulysses with a landscaping project.

As we’ve traveled the world over these past years, we inevitably continue to visit one church after another. It isn’t very likely to tour cities, towns, and villages without stopping to revel in the architecture and ambiance of churches of many denominations.

The Parochial school at the church.

Often churches are the only remaining historic buildings in many locations ravaged by wars and uprisings throughout the millennium, leaving this element of history one can hardly ignore.

Several parishioners were praying when we entered the church in Atenas.

Even those of a variety of faiths or no faith whatsoever can find themselves entranced by the beauty and significance of these historical buildings, especially when involved in a specific tour when traveling in a group, on one’s own, or as part of a tour during a port of call while cruising. 

Long view of the altar at San Rafael in Atenas Costa Rica.

We can’t say that any particular church we’ve visited had more of an impact on us than others throughout the world. We loved Sagrada Familia in Barcelona in May 2013 and its incredible history under construction for the past 100 years. See the photo below, along with our link here.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, has been under construction for the past 100+ years.
Then again, we were equally excited to see the church in Bampton, England, in August 2014, where the church scenes in Downton Abbey were filmed. 
Having loved the British TV series, it was quite a thrill to see the church where Mary and Matthew were married and eventually where he was buried in the church cemetery. See the photo below, along with our link here.
This is St. Mary’s church in Bampton, known as Church of St. Michael of All Angels, as shown in the TV series Downton Abbey, where Mary married Matthew, Edith was jilted at the altar, Matthew was buried.

Another unique religious structure, The White Mosque in Dubai in May 2013, left us breathless over its beauty and luxury. Here’s our link, including photos of us wearing the required clothing to enter, the thobe for Tom, and the abaya for me.

As we approached Sheikh Zayed Mosque. It was challenging to get a full shot of the mosque’s enormity based on its size and location. The link above will depict its entire range.

The opportunity to visit these churches and more, which we’ll continue in tomorrow’s post with links and photos, definitely has left us reeling over the powerful significance and purpose for the people of most countries. 

In other countries other than Costa Rica, we’ve never seen these glass coffins with Jesus. So we assume the representation in this manner is cultural.

At times, while chatting with cruise passengers, we may jokingly say, “If we never tour another church, we’ll have seen enough to last a lifetime.” But, we say this knowing full-well that day will never come. 

Beautiful wood ceilings in San Rafael in Atenas.

As we continue on our travels, we find ourselves drawn to these structures, not only as a tourist “attraction” and their often architectural beauty but for the powerful purpose they possess in the lives of the local people, which in many ways has shaped their lives and over time, ours as well.

Close view of the altar.

Please check back tomorrow for more churches we’ve explored in our travels, each with a remarkable story of its own and as an integral part of our ongoing world travels.

A crucifix on the grounds of San Rafael in Atenas.

Have a beautiful day, dear readers/friends!

Photo from one year ago today, September 28, 2016:

Traditional Hindu/Balinese decorations were used in creating the ambiance for dining on the cabana at the resort in Bali. For more details, please click here.

The rich history of Wailuku, Maui…Surprises in a small town…

The old Wailuku Courthouse, built in 1907, is located on the US National Register of Historic Buildings.

To visit the city of Wailuku required we take a turn down a road we’d yet to visit. Little did we know what a quaint and charming little village lay ahead as we made our way through the narrow streets.

Wailuku Union Church, built in 1911.

Although it was raining during our entire visit we still had an opportunity to see what little treasures this tiny town had to offer even with its low population from the 2010 census of 15,313. Wailuku is the county seat of Maui county which makes an excellent representation of its historical buildings and small-town feel.

Bailey House Maui.jpg
The Bailey House Museum is also listed on the US National Register of Historic Buildings. (Not our photo).

There are only a few low key hotels in Wailuku that laid back tourists may enjoy. The popularity of nearby Kaanapali Beach and its row of luxury and mid-range hotels draws many tourists from the area. However, a visit to Wailuku would certainly be a memorable experience for the tourist with transportation and a little time to wander.

Kaahumanu Church, another building on the US National Register of Historic Buildings

“Historic sites in the town include Kaʻahumanu Church (named after one of Hawaiʻi’s great monarchs, Queen Kaʻahumanu) which dates to 1876, the Wailuku Civic Center Historic District, the site of the Chee Kung Tong Society Building, and the Bailey House, a 19th-century former seminary and home that houses a history museum and the Maui Historical Society.”

On the return drive to Maalaea Beach, the rain stopped and the sky cleared to this bright blue. No more than 10 minutes after we returned we were outside enjoying the sun, sea, and surf for another fabulous day in the Hawaiian islands.

To have the opportunity for an unplanned breeze through Wailuku on a rainy day and to discover all of these treasures was definitely awe-inspiring. With the return of the laptop, the re-doing of the car rental contract, the purchase of a new piece of luggage at Costco (more on why tomorrow), and the visit to Wailuku, it was definitely a good day.

This common sandpiper stopped running long enough for us to take her photo.

Two weeks from today, we’re leaving Maui. How the time has flown! 

                                        Photo from one year ago today, November 17, 2013:

Ironically, a year ago today, we booked the hotel with our cruise ending in Boston, with the intent of visiting my father’s grave site and seeing family. This is my parent’s wedding photo we posted one year ago on this date. For details of that date, please click here.

Part 3…Oxford…Home of 38 colleges in this famous village…

The front entrance to the Ashmolean Museum.

Commencing with our first stop on the 13 hour tour we stopped in Oxford, the world renowned university village for which we had the mistaken perception, as many do, that Oxford is a town of one expansive university. How wrong we were! 

Nude Egyptian statue we encountered upon entering the museum.

In fact, there are 38 colleges in the town of around 151,000 as of a 2011 census, although there is a high turnaround rate due to the comings and goings of a reported 20,000+ students from all over the world.

Ancient hand-beaded animal hide on display in the museum.

Our bus stopped across the road from yet another museum, the Ashmolean Museum, where we were scheduled to return two hours later to meet up with Paul, our guide, and board the bus to be on our way. 

Various coins from the ancient world.

We had the option to join Paul, our spunky guide, and the tour group or to wander about on our own. With Tom’s difficulty in hearing after 42 years on the railroad, it was pointless to join the group when he wouldn’t be able to hear what Paul saying.

This is the Martyr’s Memorial which we encountered on the walkthrough Oxford.

As a result, we walked the village of Oxfordshire keeping an eye out as to where the group was headed. That way, we could catch most of the highlights at our own pace which is always faster than in a large group.

There were a few streets where no cars were allowed, to make getting through the crowds easier.

We started at the Museum. After only a few minutes, we decided that perhaps we’ll have had our fill of museums by the time we get into the two closest to our hotel in Kensington. We wandered off to check out the colleges and historic buildings that contribute to Oxford’s enchanting appeal.

Tom purchased a slice of dark chocolate fudge in this fudge shop which he savored over a few days, taking tiny bites at a time.

The streets, restaurants, and shops were packed with tourists during the busy summer season drawing travelers from all over the world. The narrow roads, the locally mined limestone buildings, homes, and churches created an awe-inspiring scene that drew us in several directions.

The Museum of History and Science.

With a sense of certainty, we spotted college professors, female and male, scurrying about the village doing whatever they do as the new school year fast approaches.

This is the famous Radcliffe Camera building.  Camera is another word for “room.”

Our minds wandered to what it must have been like hundreds of years ago, so easy to envision in this step-back-in-time village.

Another museum or college building.

One could easily spend days exploring this village of vast worldwide influence dating back to the 9th century. Like many old buildings as we’ve seen in our travels, we experienced a renewed enthusiasm as we perused as much as we could in the allotted time. How quickly time flew!

The courtyard of the Bodleian Library.

In no time at all, we were on our way, a smile on our faces, happy to have seen something we’d never imagined would have been in reality, as has been so many of the places we’ve visited in our travels.

Exquisite entrance to the Bodleian Library.

Last night, as we returned to the hotel from yet another disappointing meal, we talked about how odd it is that we’ve been to Istanbul, Dubai, Marseilles, Cairo and so many cities around the world. As we examine the world map, we realize we’ve only just begun. There’s so much more to see.

Statue of William Hebert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, Chancellor of Oxford University 1580-1630.

Note: We still have many excellent Oxford photos to share, which we’ll post tomorrow in Part 4, the final post in this series of our visit to Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) and the villages of Bampton and Oxford.

                                              Photo from one year ago today, August 23, 2013:
The Internet was still down in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy, not to be back up until August 25, 2013. We were frustrated, to say the least, unable to post for several days.