The master of Pedret

The painting on the right side of the apse of the church of Pedret, shown here, is attributed to the Master of Pedret, an unknown artist who painted similar scenes in a number of Romanesque churches in Catalonia in the early 12th century. This image is a detail of a painting representing an allegory of…

The Archangels

In the National Museum of Catalan Art in Barcelona, a long stroll through the medieval religious art section turns up some compelling images. Here is one example – an altar front piece depicting the Archangels. We couldn’t remember how many there were, catechism long forgotten. But we counted three on this altar plate : Michael…

Vall de Boi

A cause de la présence de plusieurs églises romanes remarquables, la vallée de Boi en Espagne (Vall de Boi en catalan) est classée comme un site de Patrimoine Mondial de l’Unesco. Dans ces églises, construites entre 1000 et 1200, se trouvent (ou plutôt se trouvaient) des peintures murales et des meubles peints parmi les plus…

Changdeok-gung

Changdeok-gung, Seoul : Due to it’s position relative to Gyeongbok-gung, this place is known as the eastern palace. Built originally around the early 1400’s and, like most palaces in Korea over the centuries, this one was attacked, raided, sacked, burned and frequently rebuilt. (Even the Americans and the French took a turn at attacking this…

Petra

Petra, Jordan : Built during the 8th century BC and occupied by different peoples until the trade routes changed around the 7th century AD, the location is now a world heritage site. Forgotten by the peoples of the western hemisphere, it only came to their renewed attention in the 19th century. You could spend days…

Hanbok in the palace

A Séoul, il y a plusieurs palais royaux d’un intérêt visuel certain. Ces palais sont encore plus sympas du fait que beaucoup de coréennes et coréens se promènent dans le palais en costume traditionnel (le hanbok). Il n’est pas nécessaire de posséder son costume car de multiples boutiques à proximité louent ces vêtements. Et habillé…

Palacio da Bolsa

In tourist guide books for Porto, no matter which one you use, of the top 10 sites recommended, 8 or 9 are churches. We don’t mind visiting churches, even the baroque heavily over-decorated ones in Porto, but if you want a break from the church run, try the Palacio da Bolsa. Built in the 19th…

Village on the edge

Siurana was the last Muslim fiefdom in Catalonia. It fell to Christian conquerors around 1150. It sits at about 730 m altitude on a rocky ledge overlooking a deep valley and the Sierra de Montsant to the west. A legend says that when the Christian invaders were closing in, the last Muslim princess rode her…

Solar de Mateus

The Solar de Mateus, near Vila Real in northern Portugal : Famous for the baroque palace and the manicured gardens. Famous for what else ? Rosé wine, of course. Le Solar de Mateus, près de Vila Real au nord du Portugal. Célèbre pour le palais baroque, et les jardins soignés. Mais aussi pour autre chose…

Gyeongbok-gung

Originally built in 1394, destroyed around 1595 during the war with Japan, abandoned until the 1850’s, rebuilt and then again partially destroyed during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 20th century, the Gyeongbok palace has seen a lot of action. Since the 1990s, a major renovation and rebuilding exercise has returned about 40% this…

Road to Baegundae

Bukhansan, on the northern edge of Seoul, is a Korean national park. The terrain is mountainous – even if the mountains are not too tall (max about 800 m). The park is full of things to discover and is a favourite nature getaway for Seoulites. The hiking trails are numerous and well marked and the…

Quinta do Boa Vista

Funchal : Seems like there are a lot of these Boa Vistas around the planet. There is one in Rio de Janeiro for example. But this one is an orchid collection in Funchal, Madeira. A little difficult to find and somewhat run down, the location was the victim of bad winds and rain storms a…

Wet days on the island

Sunny Madeira does not always live up to it’s reputation. When it gets wet, it is very wet. L’île ensoleillée de Madère : sa réputation est faite. Mais ce n’est pas toujours le soleil qui domine.

Ribeira do Pico

Serra de Agua, Madeira : In the Ribeira do Pico valley, farming on hillside terraces is the only way to go. Beacuse : little or no naturally flat land. Serra de Agua, Madère : Si on veut cultiver ses légumes ici dans la vallée de la Ribeira do Pico, il n’y a pas d’autre choix…

Rockpools

On the north coast of Madeira, Porto Moniz : it might be fun to wander through these intertidal rockpools on a nice day when the tide is out, or even go for a swim. But when the ocean is a little agitated, best to stick to the boardwalk or, better still, a nice fish restaurant….

Artifacts

Ramses II and family had pretty good taste in jewelry. I guess they could afford it. Ramses 2 et son fils Khâemouset avaient assez bon goût pour les parures. Ils pouvaient se les payer, c’est sûr.

Grédone

The ancient site of Grédone, thought to have been a military strongpoint of the ancient Gabale peoples, is now the peaceful village of Grèzes. Located between Mende and Marvejols in Lozère region, it overlooks the Jourdane river valley below and shares the skyline with the Truc de Grèzes. In most of the Languedoc, a hill…

On Baegundae

About 300 m before reaching the top of Baegundae (in Bukhansan national Park, Seoul, South Korea), there is a fortress gate, various signposts and an arrow pointing to the top. I recorded the altitudes for this segment with a GPS device. Over 300 m, the vertical climb is about 230 m. However you calculate slopes,…