I have always loved to travel. There are quite a few places on my must go to list and I have to admit that Cuba was never one of them. But several years ago, I had the opportunity to spend a week and half there. I am so glad that I did. I would go back in a heartbeat if given the chance. The people were wonderful and inspired an optimism in me. You can read more about my Cuba experiences here.
Evening Sales in Havana, Cuba
This image was taken after the Cannon Ceremony at La Cabaña fortress in Havana. The crowds of people had vanished and this vendor was looking for one last sale.
Bay of Pigs
We had stopped for lunch at a Paladares (a restaurant in a home) at the Bay of Pigs. The ocean views were beautiful. But I was taken with the small houses and the people.
The streets are as narrow as you would find in any old city. But the large windows and bright sun shining down created a warm, open feel. The people weren’t in a hurry, never pushing or prodding.
As I said, Cuba inspired me to keep trying and never give up. You can read about how Cuba inspired my Travel Maps here. If you get the opportunity to go, take it!
La Alhambra is a palace and fortress in Granada, Spain. Originally constructed in 889 AD, it was largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the 13th century. The design of the complex is Moorish and the name comes from the Arabic meaning “the red” and is derived from the reddish color of the outer walls. The plateau on which La Alhambra is built overlooks Granada’s old city. The complex contains numerous buildings, each built and decorated with intricate detail. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. After the Christian Reconquista in 1492, La Alhambra became the Royal Court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and was the site where Christopher Columbus received the endorsement for his expedition.
Over the years there were numerous additions to La Alhambra. Many palace buildings were added, all opening into central courts or newly established quadrangles. All the additions built by different Muslim rulers who lived in the complex adhered to the consistent theme of “paradise on earth”. Arcades, fountains with running water and reflecting pools were used to add to the aesthetic and functional appeal of La Alhambra.
A view from one of La Alhambra buildings across to the main complex of buildings.
La Alhambra was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Visiting this outstanding historic place was one of the highlights of my trip to Spain.
When visiting towns and cities, I like to find the local courthouses. I often find that in small towns, they tend to be the biggest, most well kept buildings downtown. Each one is different. While many have similar architectural elements, they are still unique. Some are now museums or visitor centers, but they all started out as courthouses. These courthouses are located in Kentucky.
The Madison County Courthouse in Richmond, KY is a dominating building in center of the small town. Finished in 1859, the oversized Greek Revival building is impressive with its cupola and clock tower. The white brick is definitely eye catching. The courthouse still serves as the county seat.
The Old Courthouse in Bardstown, Kentucky is now a visitor’s center in the small historic town. The cathedral like building was erected in 1892 to look like a cathedral since the majority of the population was catholic.
These two courthouses are both located in Kentucky, roughly an hour and a half apart, and erected within 30 years of one another, yet they are so different. This is what I love about small town America. Each town is different and offers something worth visiting. So don’t discount the small towns around you, take a day and go see what they have to offer.
Prints of these images are available. Just click on the image and it will take you directly to the print page. If you would like to see courthouses, from America and around the world, click here.
The Great Wall of China By Aashish Vaidya
The Great Wall of China in the Juyongguan area lies just north of Beijing. This area of the Great Wall is especially popular with local as well as foreign tourists. The construction of the Great Wall of China, according to historic accounts may have started as early as the seventh century BCE.
Constructed to provide defense against invaders, the Great Wall was also used as border control including collection of taxes along the Silk Route. It also served to control migration of people. It has been rebuilt, maintained and expanded over many generations and many dynasties,
Much of the existing Great Wall, was largely built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE). The Great Wall with all its branches, is an impressive architectural feat. According to some surveys, it measures over 13,000 miles (or over 21,000 km). UNESCO designated The Great Wall of China, a World Heritage Site in 1987. The New7Wonders Foundation, through a popularity contest, listed the Wall as one of the New 7 manmade Wonders in 2007.
Visiting the Great Wall
The Juyongguan section of the wall protected capital Beijing. The day we visited, a haze hung around the whole area. It wasn’t quite apparent, if this was natural or if it was the smog.
When visiting the Wall, it is best to dress in layers. The exertion of going up the Wall makes you uncomfortable even in pleasant mid-60s temperature. The early and mid-mornings are especially popular time for visitors. During our visit, we saw see many tourists, packed on the narrow wall, negotiating the steep steps.
Visiting the Juyongguan area of the Wall is a great experience as we witness the beautiful colors of autumn along the mountainside. The watchtowers that dot the mountainside are also a special treat.
A myth persists that the Wall can be seen from outer space. Unfortunately, just like other manmade objects, it is only visible in low earth orbit on a very clear day. Of course, the best way to experience the awesome sight of the Great Wall, is to visit it.
Maybe, the next best way to enjoy it, is through photographic wall art or other objects featuring the artwork. Visit the China Gallery to explore these and other images from China.
The Great Wall of China is impressive to witness, in person. It is marvel of engineering and architecture. And an awesome testament to human labor, and ingenuity that went into building it.
- Almost ALL accept, and also like paintings! The fact that there are not too many painters around, doesn’t mean that you cannot post 🙂
* Lens Artists don’t at this time 🙁
- Some challenges that specify a particular day or week-end go for the whole week. For example: Dutch goes the Photo! Tuesday Photo Challenge – This week: “Slippery” (link inside) – This is a quality challenge!
Donaueschingen Danube River Source – A place worth visiting.
The top image of this post features “Donau Quelle” which is the German for Danube River Spring. For those who don’t know, Danube is the second biggest river in Europe, after Volga. It starts in the Black Forest in Germany and ends in the Danube Delta of Romania (and a small part Ukraine). From the source, the river flows for a distance of 2850 km (1771 miles) and goes through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.
I always wanted to see the source of it. The time arrived in 2011, when my husband and I went to visit Germany.
Donau Quelle – Danube River Spring
The spring resides on the domain of the Fürstenberg family, where there is also a castle with the same name and a cathedral. The zone is partially under construction and I couldn’t get any decent shots of the castle. Too bad, but my target was to see the source anyway…
The water goes from here to the small river (Breg), which joins another river (Brigach) 1 km farther. From there it becomes the actual Danube.
The closest place to the source is Donaueschingen town. I speak a little German, but not enough, so what I could find out was that the name of the town could be translated as Danube confluence. And this is what it actually was. Here are two pictures of this town’s red roofs, viewed from above.
Donaueschingen is a very nice old German town with some new updated modern architecture and lifestyle.
All these pictures are available as art prints for wall and home decor in my Germany gallery. Just click on them to see all the options. If you are like me and want to have the Danube river spring image as a poster in your home, this is how it will look like:
* Upon purchase the images will be WATERMARK FREE. Every purchase includes a money-back guarantee!
For the fun of challenges:
Fog over West Dover Nova Scotia
West Dover is a small quiet fishing village on Prospect Bay on the Atlantic ocean in Nova Scotia. It is actually in Peggy’s Cove area in between the famous heritage village and Halifax. This is a very good place if you want to relax and stay cool in the summer.
It was at the end of July when we celebrated our wedding anniversary here. I took this photo from the terrace of a nice restaurant overlooking this small bay.
When pointing my camera toward the fisherman’s houses and boats covered by the afternoon fog, a seagull entered into the frame. I was amazed by this lucky happening – What a great gift for this special day 🙂 Thank you seagull!
My husband and I spent a few months in this tranquil area in a rental house right on the water.
One day we were invited by some friendly neighbors to take a tour of the bay on their boat. This is what the water and the shore looked like in the light of the setting sun when returning from the trip.
The coast of Nova Scotia always brings me serenity and piece of mind.
Both images: Fog over West Dover Nova Scotia and Sunset on the water are available as art prints for wall, home decor and accessories. Just click on them for options on sizes and prices. * Upon purchase the images will be WATERMARK FREE. Every purchase includes a money-back guarantee!
For the fun of challenges:
Are you a fan of Cuban architecture? You’ll love “Red” by Dawn Currie featured in Travel Art group on Fine Art America! This artwork is of a heavily textured and bright red wooden facade of a building with a solitary white ladder leaning against the deteriorating wood siding. Five shuttered windows hide what is behind.
Add a touch of Cuban style to your decor
Now imagine ‘Red’ in your home or office. Certainly this artwork will enhance your room and spark conversations. All because you ordered a print according to your style and taste – framed art print, modern metal print, acrylic and more, in the size you need.
Visit the Cuba Autos and Architecture Gallery and find even more images of Cuban architecture to enhance your decor. Share a glimpse of modern-day Cuba. And while you’re there, consider ordering greeting cards of your favorites. These images will bring a slice of the Caribbean, with a Cuban flare, into your home and place of business. Bienvenido a Cuba!
Panama City Panama Skyline
Panama City Panama skyline, an amazing view from Amador Peninsula, across the Panama Bay.
I took this photo on January 1st 2012. Yes, we spend our New Year’s Eve and a few more days after in Panama City, Panama! 🙂
* Here is the postcard I sent to my friends, taken from the hotel we stayed on Amador peninsula. It is certainly available without the text on it 🙂
This is an astonishing busy city and we tried to see as much as we could, by car, taxi or walking. The old historic Panama City – “Casco Viejo Panama” was also on our itinerary.
Here we are in the taxi and its driver who was our touristic guide for about one hour – a great ride with many useful explanations. * Panamanians speak English as a second language and the cabs are quite inexpensive.
I never expected to see such an impressive city in Central America! It was the starting point into our three month journey in Panama 🙂
Panama Bay – shown in the first picture, is actually part of the famous Panama Canal. Sure, we have visited that as well… I’ll post some of those photos later 🙂
I uploaded this pictures into my Panama gallery. They are available as art prints for wall, home decor and accessories. Click on them for more options:
For the fun of challenges:
Mexican La Calavera Catrina and the Day of the Dead.
The Day of the Dead – Día de los Muertos holiday is over, but the fun in Mexico never ends 🙂
During the celebration, the central plaza in Patzcuaro was full of vendors selling “ofrendas” (offerings). These are generally sweet treats made from Mazapan (Marzipan), chocolate and pastries.
The main character of the holiday is the Mexican La Calavera Catrina. For those who don’t know, Catrina is a doll with a face of a dead woman. * Calavera in Spanish stands for Skull. You will always see her dressed in the European last century style, wearing large hats. the photo below shows a spooky bride candy Catrina. 🙂
Mexican La Calavera Catrina
The doll was originally created by the Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada. Although a little weird, this funny character became very popular. I noticed that Mexicans like weird, funny things 🙂
Colorful and well ornamented, Catrina is not always a candy doll. She often welcomes customers to stores, bars or restaurants. Mexicans venerate her as the beloved “great dame of death”.
When I first saw this in an artisan store, I was shocked. However, Mexicans are putting a lot of artistic talent in creating this character. Soon I started to like her myself. The “doll” can be even adorable… so to say 🙂
– Many tourists also like to buy her for a souvenir.
If you like funny spooky things, Catrina will be happy to keep you company. 🙂 All the pictures above are available as art prints on various materials, for home decor or accessories.
* The watermark will not appear on the print!
For the fun of challenges: