Posts

Showing posts from January, 2020

Surprises in Russia

Image
This week we will be using several days to pack up our belongings and head to our next home in Riga, Latvia. Before we leave the great city of St. Petersburg, I wanted to share with you a few things that we saw here that surprised us. Things we never expected to see while living in Russia.


Shortly after we moved into our apartment, I was walking through a mall nearby. I nearly laughed when I saw a vendor selling Tupperware at a kiosk. I would have never guessed that I'd see that here. I didn't find out the price of the items since I didn't know enough Russian to ask at the time. I imagine it was very expensive to ship Tupperware products to Russia. That proved to be the case when the kiosk was filled with a different item a couple months later. Tupperware wasn't the big hit that someone thought it would be.


We were surprised to see advertisements in all the stores for a special day of sales - Черная Пятница. Translated that mean Black Friday. The date of this special …

Painted History in Padua

Image
This week I'll continue a description of fantastic art in Italy. In the city of Padua, near Venice,  we toured a small chapel that was built in 1305 called the Chapel of Scrovegni. This chapel is famous because the entire interior walls were painted by Giotto di Bondone. The paintings tell the Biblical story from the Virgin Mary to Jesus' birth to His death and resurrection.



Since the art is more than 700 years old, the visits to the chapel are very limited. In order to see the chapel, our time slot had to be reserved online, weeks ahead of time. Then when it was our turn to visit the chapel we only had fifteen minutes inside the chapel. Before entering the space, we viewed a video about the chapel during which the temperature of the viewers was stabilized to equal the temperature inside.



When we finally got our chance to view the chapel, we used the entire fifteen minutes taking in the beautiful scenes. At first, I was impressed with the blue painted ceiling overhead. I don&…

The Beauty of Ravenna Mosaics

Image
While we were in Italy, we stayed for two days in Ravenna where we saw the most beautiful mosaics in the world. These amazing mosaic pictures and ceilings were built 1400 years ago.


There were five buildings, constructed in the 400s and 500s, that displayed the amazing mosaics. Of course, the pictures, constructed entirely of mosaic tiles, depicted Christian religious history since the buildings were two basilicas, a mausoleum, a baptistry, and a museum that was formerly a cathedral.


The mosaics were still as clear to see as if the tiles had been attached to the walls only a few years ago. The one mosaic pattern that I thought was most beautiful was the blue ceiling pictured above. This was located in a mausoleum built to hold the body of Galla Placidia, the daughter of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. Not surprisingly, the building is very small.


On the other hand, the Basilica di San Vitale is very spacious and beautiful. The entire chancel is covered in detailed mosaic pictures tel…

Postcard from Italy

Image
During the last two weeks, we traveled in Italy seeing many memorable sites. I'll share a few with you.


Italy has many faces. From mosaic filled ancient churches to breath-taking beauty in the mountains. We enjoyed it all. The towns, built on the slopes of mountains with "streets" that were literally only steps, were unbelievable. These towns were built more than 700 years ago and are still home to many Italians today. The residents have to be in fantastic shape to maneuver these steps, just to walk uptown without getting winded.





While we were in Ravenna, we walked through a Christmas market where line dancing was demonstrated with country western music. The cowboy boot-wearing dancers, donned with Santa Claus hats, were trying to teach the locals how to line dance. I would have joined in, but I couldn't understand the instructions since they were in Italian.


The churches in Ravenna are known for the beauty of their mosaics. They were marvelous to see, knowing that …