A Living Legend…

Legend has it that Santo Domingo, who lived around the year 1000, was honoured for his miracles … by keeping a live cock and hen in a golden cage in the church wall.

Santo Domingo de la Calzada

The story tells of a German pilgrim, who rejected a local girl’s love, but then she wrongly accused him of theft, and the pilgrim was hanged. Later his parents found him still alive in the gallows. The parents went to the local judge, who said: ”Nonsense, he is not more alive than the cooked rooster on my plate.” Then the rooster stood up and crowed.

Believe it or not – but they are still there…

…and so is the saint – but in another cage.

WPC: One Love

One love refers to the universal love and respect expressed by all people for all people, regardless of race, creed, or color.
The Urban Dictionary


A Taste of Reykjavik

My greatest love in this beautiful city is of course the symbol of Reykjavik, Hallgrimskirkja (1937, 74,5 metres, and named after the Icelandic priest and writer Hallgrímur Pétursson.) by architect Guðjón Samúelsson. The church is spectacular in many ways – not only from the outside, but also the inside is serene and breathtakingly beautiful.

Island lilla kameran 012_copy1

We arrived late in the evening this time, and walked slowly up to her in the freezing cold, Icelandic darkness.

Island lilla kameran 017_copy

In front of the church  stands the Leif Eriksson statue. A gift from the US 1930 when the Icelandic Parliament, AllÞingi, celebrated its 1000 year jubilée. The Viking Leif Eriksson was the son of Erik Röde, who settled in Greenland. Leif himself was the first white man to discover America.

Let us go inside. My greatest love here is the magnificent organ.

Detta bildspel kräver JavaScript.

Houses in Reykjavik have to be strongly built for the rough climate. Some old wooden houses are being restored to show the old architecture – on which of course the new one is built. But I doubt any new house here has a wooden structure.

What is difficult to see in these snowy pictures, is the typical Icelandic colourful houses. In my summer memories, Reykjavik looks like this:

Island 2016 454_copy1

Tjörnin is the lake in the middle of the city. There are always people here, playing, feeding the birds, or just walking and chatting.

Island 2016 488_copy

Island 2016 477_copy

The main shopping street ends with Hallgrimskirkja. And that is where we too end our snowy, first walk in Iceland and Reykjavik.

Sweet Painted Ladies – Sgraffito Part I

Guarda and Ardez – Pearls of Engadin

This area of great beauty in Switzerland, called Engadin, is stretching from the Maloja pass to Zernez. Here, the language used to be 99% Rhaeto – Romanic, but today only 63% speak this old language.

These two genuine villages, Guarda and Ardez belong to the area of Engadin, and they are both painted in a very special style called Sgraffito (plural graffiti) – in Switzerland found only in Engadin.

Starting in Guarda, this village is pearched high up on a hill, and the inhabitants don’t want cars driving through the narrow, cobbled streets, so you have to park your car further down the hill and walk up.

The church is one of a kind.

Almost every house is painted and each in its own special way.

Sgraffito is a technique either of wall decor, produced by applying layers of plaster tinted in contrasting colours to a moistened surface, or in ceramics, by applying to an unfired ceramic body two successive layers of contrasting slip, and then in either case scratching so as to produce an outline drawing.

A closer look will reveal something of the technique.

Schweiz 3 695_copy

Sgraffito on walls has been used in Europe since classical times, and it was common in Italy in the 16th century – and, can be found in African art as well. Today there has been a growing interest in this old technique.

Many houses have spectacular, cobbled paths up to the entrances – I tried to figure out why – but maybe its only something common here.

Beautiful, grand doors…

…and other doors of beauty and solitude.

Guarda is by many people seen as the most beautiful village in Engadin, and it is also famous for its many drinking fountains. Useful this hot day.

No people? Well, due to the heat we were quite alone walking through the village.



Walking in Luzern

Luzern är mellersta Schweiz viktigaste ort och har idag ca 80 000 invånare. Staden är ett centrum för handel, men här finns även industrier. Luzern är också berömd för sin internationella musikfestival, och ett välbesökt turistmål.

Lucerne is an important city in Switzerland with about 80 000 inhabitants. A centre for trade, but also industry. It is the host of a famous, international music festival as well.

Vi promenerade längs sjön in mot centrum i det ljuvligaste morgonväder – innan det blivit för varmt. Såhär dags låg temperaturen på ca 25 grader.

We walked the waterfront in the mild,  refreshing morning – before the real heat came rolling in with 30-35 degrees C.

Många joggare ute och andra sköna lirare…Berget Pilatus markerade profil syntes överallt.

Many joggers were out early, as well as other epicureans…Mount Pilatus is visible from everywhere.

Väl framme i gamla stan, där floden Reuss mynnar ut i Vierwaldstättersee, gick vi först över den vackra kapellbron – fantastiskt välhållen – och inuti en hel serie målningar som skildrar Luzerns historia.

In Old Town, where the river Reuss meats Lake Lucerne, we walked the beautiful Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century.

Den täckta gångbron byggdes redan på 1300-talet och är därmed den äldsta träbron i Europa, och symbolen för Luzern.

Delar av bron brann 1993, men har restaurerats. Nära mitten av bron reser sig Wasserturm, som fungerat som befästning, fyr, fängelse och skattkammare. Vyn från bron mot gamla stan är magnifik. Se den inledande bilden.

The bridge was partly burnt down in 1993, but has been restored. Wasserturm, to the left, has worked as fortification, lighthouse, prison and treasury.

På väg tillbaka fick vi en glimt av renässanskyrkan Hofkirche.

Painted houses are frequent in Lucerne – here some examples…and more – on our way to Löwendenkmal.

Detta bildspel kräver JavaScript.

Löwendenkmal är oerhört imponerande, inte minst för att monumentet är uthugget direkt ur en sandstensklippa. Det visar ett döende lejon som genomborrats av ett spjut. Det ska symbolisera hur Schweizergardet försvarade Ludwig XVI, som bodde i Tuileripalatset i Paris, mot revolutionen 10/8 1792. De som överlevde halshöggs. Den danske konstnären och bildhuggaren Bertel Thorwaldsen, uppförde monumentet 1821.

Bertel Thorvaldsen‘s famous carving of a dying lion (the Lion Monument, or Löwendenkmal) is found in a small park just off the Löwenplatz. The carving commemorates the hundreds of Swiss guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when an armed mob stormed the Tuileries in Paris.

Warsaw – A Miracle of Old and New – Stroll II

Den första kvinnan att få Nobelpriset var Maria Skodlowska – Marie Curie. Hon föddes här i Warszawa och vi gick förbi hennes födelsehus.

Marie Curie fick priset tillsammans med sin man och Henri Becquerel för sin forskning på radioaktivitet. Senare vann Marie priset också i kemi sedan hon upptäckt två nya grundämnen – radium och polonium (namn efter hemlandet Polen). Hon fick även ett grundämne döpt efter sig själv, curium.

Curie dog av aplastisk anemi efter att ha utsatts för radioaktivitet under många år. Hennes anteckningar måste förvaras i blyboxar, på grund av radioaktiv smitta.

Marie Curie är Polens mest framstående vetenskapskvinna och ligger begravd i Pantheon i Paris.

From Warsaw came the first woman ever to win the Nobel Prize – Maria Sklodlowska or Marie Curie. She recieved it together with her husband, Pierre Curie, and Henri Becquerel for their research on radioactivity. Later she also won the Nobel Prize for chemistry. She discovered radium and polonium (named after her home country, Poland).

Marie Curie even gave her own name to an element – curium. She died from aplastic anaemia after being exposed to radiation for many years. They say that even today you should not touch her notes, and they are now stored in leaden boxes.

Poland´s greatest scientist is buried in the Pantheon in Paris. This picture shows the house where she was born.

Praga heter den del av Warszawa som hyste arbetarkvarteren. Vi letade upp den gamla vodkafabriken, Koneser, som en gång var Polens mest moderna och producerade 1/4 miljon flaskor per dag och hade 400 arbetare.

Praga is the part of Warsaw where the working class used to live. Here we visited the old Vodka factory – Koneser. Not in use anymore, but the buildings are still standing as a monument of days gone by. New Gothic style and still beautiful in their own way.

Fabriken är nu nerlagd, men är under restaurering och ska användas till konst, kultur och underhållning.

Once this was the most modern factory in Poland, and produced 1/4 miljon bottles a day and had 400 workers.

Today the buildings are being restored and used for art, culture and entertainment.

Praga Koneser Center is its new name.

The entrance in Zabrowska Street.

Tillbaka i Gamla Staden igen, gick vi genom vackert målade gränder ner till Gnojna Góra, som kan översättas ungefär ”Dynghögen”. Här kastades allt avfall, och man trodde även sig kunna bota syfilis genom att gräva ner den smittade upp till hakan i dynga. Historien förtäljer inte hur väl detta slog ut…

Back in the Old City again, we went down to Gnojna Góra, which should be translated as ”Dung Heap”. Through very picturesque and colourful arcs and rows of houses, we reached the place where people were supposed to get healed from syfilis. The method meant being buried up to their necks in the dung…No records of the effects though…

Från tidningsförsäljare ute på gatan till glitter och glamour inomhus.

From outdoor newspaper salesmen to indoor glory.

Detta bildspel kräver JavaScript.

Eftersom Finlands president var på besök denna dag hade vi bråttom för att se Den Okände soldatens Grav.

As the president of Finland was visiting this day, we had to hurry to see the Unknown Soldier´s grave.

Frederic Chopin föddes strax utanför Warszawa, men flyttade utomlands som 19-åring och kom aldrig tillbaka. För att betyga fosterlandet sin kärlek lät han begrava sitt hjärta i Warszawa.

Frederic Chopin was born just outside the city of Warsaw, but left as a 19-year old and was never to return to his home country.

Detta bildspel kräver JavaScript.

Tillbaka på hotellet innebar en resa från det gamla till det nya igen. Det här är utsikten från vår balkong.

Back to our hotel again meant back from the old to the new. This is our view from the balcony.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Churches or any Religious Building

Cee’s Fun Foto this week is about churches or any religious building. I have chosen Frösö beautifully blue painted church, and the ice chapel in Tännforsen, both in Jämtland.