February Month of Lurve, #11-13

Playing catch up again with Paula’s February Love Me challenge. I have just begun to realize that I should not make my categories too broad, or I will run out of topics!

Feb. 11: I love trees. Winter, spring, summer, and fall. I love trees during them all!

Feb. 12: is Lincoln’s birthday, which makes me think of another thing I love: history! One of the things I most like to do when traveling is to see historical places. I stood next to the Great Pyramid on the Giza plateau in Egypt and felt awed – that structure was built around 2500 BCE! It’s about 5000 years old and it is still standing! Until the Eiffel Tower was built, it was the tallest manmade structure in the world. I imagine the labor it took, moving huge blocks of stone to the site and placing them in exactly the right spot so the pyramid would not collapse. (Click on photos to see closer up.)

In Israel, visiting the places where Jesus himself had walked gave me goosebumps! (Click on photos to see full size)

In Normandy, France, we visited the city of Bayeux where we visited the museum that displays the original Tapestry of Bayeux, which tells the story of William the Conqueror and the conquest of England. This tapestry was made by hand by many artisans in circa 1100 CE. This embroidered tapestry is 70 meters long! We could not photograph the original tapestry, which was very fragile, but I did take a few shots of replicas they had on display in the lobby.

More recent history is also interesting to me. In Normandy, we visited the D-Day beaches and Overlord Museum. At Omaha beach, we saw the vast American Cemetery where 9,387 soldiers who participated in the D-Day invasion and subsequent battle were buried.

Feb. 13: I love writing. I have always enjoyed writing, and when I was a kid, I wanted to be an author or a journalist someday. Alas, life takes many twists and turns and there is always the road not taken. Then I was going to write a novel and I did research to find out how to get an agent, sell a book to a publisher, etc., etc. and it was just too stressful for me! So now it’s just a hobby. I’ve been in and out of writing groups and I do keep a journal, which is not really a diary – it’s more my musings on whatever I’m thinking about or reading about. Sometimes these journal entries turn into stories or essays or even poems. I’ve written letters to my local newspaper, which generally get published within a week. And then, of course, there is this – my blog. I’m not as regular at it as I wish I were, but on the other hand, I have a lot of other interests that keep me busy too.

Actually, I am slowly working on a book, which I intend to self-publish through a POS. It’s about the ancestors on my dad’s mother’s side. I’ve written six chapters, which has been really interesting, because I come across things I wanted to know – I have questions about how things happened, so I do research and find out all kinds of things I never would have known about. I have great admiration for my ancestors, who emigrated to America in the early 1800s. Their journey was quite an adventure! I have laid this project aside for far too long, and should get back to it soon. And it even ties in with my love of history!!

April Squares Day 19: Spires & an Un-Spire

HURRAY! I am back on my blog after being AWOL for two days! I had technical difficulties and it took the computer tech more than 24 hours to fix it. So I am at the TOP of my world!  Oh, speaking of top…

I’ve missed a few days of Becky’s April Squares with the topic top, so I’m going to post several photos. I happen to have several photos of the tops of European churches from our trip to France and river cruise in 2019, so here goes…

Most of the photos are of church spires, but my first photo is, sadly, a beautiful cathedral that lost its spires to fire last year: Notre Dame in Paris. Look on the right side of the photo, stare at the clouds and imagine the spires!  We visited only a couple of months after the fire, so we were not even able to go inside at that time. I would love to visit when it has been reconstructed and looks magnificent!
20190613_134658 Notre Dame, Paris
The cathedral in Bayeux, France…this cathedral built in the Middle Ages was the original home of the Bayeux Tapestry, which recounts the story of the Norman (France) invasion of England.
20190618_124717 Bayeux
We stopped in Bayeux on our way to Mont St.-Michel, which had been on my bucket list for several years. Here is the tippy-top of the abbey spire.
DSC00352 Mont St Michel
Really, when one tours Europe, one is amazed at the number of churches/cathedrals – every city has one! Here is the top of the cathedral in Würzburg, Germany – the cross on its steeple is lovely!DSC01384 Wurzburg
Next is Bamberg, Germany, with more beautiful crosses on top.
DSC01461 Bamberg Cathedral
What I like about this one, in Nuremburg, Germany, are all the mini spires decorating the roof, and especially, the clock!
DSC01635 Nuremburg,
I must soon post the photos I have of this lovely church in Budapest, Hungary – St. Matthias. Inside, it is very colorful and elaborate, but the roof of this church, with its colorful tiles forming geometric designs is also eye-catching!
DSC02087 St Matthias - Budapest

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Travel 2019

Last year we were able to do quite a bit of traveling abroad. For Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge this week the theme is travel. He says: As most of use are not traveling at the moment, it might be nice to travel virtually through our various blogs and share some of those enjoyed moments with each other. So, let’s share some of those wonderful places that we have visited in this week’s challenge!

How could I resist my favorite topic? And of course, I couldn’t pick just one photo, but these are a few highlights of our Travel 2019.

January: Egypt
Light show at Abu Simbel
20190102_181405

January: Israel
The most meaningful place for me was the Garden of Gethsemane. This garden is full of centuries old olive trees, including one that was around when Jesus came here to pray on the night of his betrayal.
20190113_082444

June: Paris
This is just a colorful shop that sells flowers (among other things) en route to the Sacre Coeur Church in Montmartre.
20190615_135659
Bayeux, France: The cathedral in Bayeux is a lovely Gothic structure with beautiful stained glass windows. This is one of them.
DSC00328

June: Amsterdam – Our second trip to Amsterdam in just over a year. The weather in June is definitely better than January but there are a lot more tourists in June! The owner of our Airbnb took us on a private boat tour of the canals and harbor on a hot Sunday afternoon.
DSC00543
Later that day, we took our son to our favorite poffertjes place in Amsterdam – Die Vier Pilaren.
20190623_175444d
After a week and a half in France and four days in Amsterdam, we went on a river cruise – our first!
June: On the Rhine River in Germany
DSC01196
DSC01219

July: Our last port on the river cruise was Budapest. I love this classic view!
DSC02114

 

 

CB&WPC: French Roads in Black & White

The theme of Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week is roads.

All these photos were taken on our trip to Normandy, France last June.

Roll out the red carpet in Cabourg’s touristy center, lined with restaurants and shops.
20190616_192131 (2)
Entering Cabourg
20190616_191919 (2)
Village in Normandy between Arromanches & Caen
20190617_150919 (2)
Bayeux
20190618_121328 (2)
Mont St.-Michel
20190618_213912 (2)
Looking down on the causeway from the abbey at the top of Mont St.-Michel
20190619_111849 (2)
Approaching Pegasus Bridge
20190621_104839 (2)

Hunt for Joy Challenge: Up On the Roof

Cee’s weekly challenge On the Hunt for Joy, is in week 5. This week the topic is Count Chimneys, which includes photos of chimneys, weather vanes, spires and satellite dishes. How is this topic about hunting for joy? She explains: Tip from Ingrid Fetell Lee: Count Chimneys: As you’re walking around, keep a tally of chimneys, spires, or weathervanes. Looking up at the rooftops lifts your gaze, which opens up your posture and allows more light into the eyes, two things that can help to improve your mood.

I admit, some of these photos did not involve looking up, but rather looking down, but even so, they are of chimneys, weather vanes, and spires (no satellite dishes!).SONY DSCDSC01863 (2)DSC01697DSC01530 (2)DSC00351DSC00356 (2)DSC0039920190618_124715j

 

Thursday Doors: Two Chicago Churches

I am entering this post into Norm’s Thursday Doors, as part of my tour of Chicago’s places of worship. Today I feature two Roman Catholic churches, St. Edward Church and St. Gregory the Great Church, both on the north side.

We visited St. Edward Roman Catholic Church during Open House Chicago, having put it on my “must see” list because it contains a painted replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. We had seen the original in Bayeux, France only a few months before.20191019_11582320191019_115850
20191019_120434
St. Edward’s take on the story of the tapestry focuses on Edward who had been king of England and his benevolence as king. He was very pious and supposedly saw visions and cured people by his touch, which later earned him the status of a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Edward was childless and William of Normandy was his cousin.

In Normandy, France, we didn’t hear much about Edward. There the emphasis was on William, Duke of Normandy (also known as “the Conqueror”), who invaded England in 1066 and took the English throne from Harold, who had succeeded Edward as king.  Harold did not have long to rule: he became king in January of 1066, following Edward’s death, and William’s invasion, known as the Battle of Hastings, happened later that same year.
20191019_120423
The replica was painted in oils on the ceiling of the narthex of St. Edward Church by Mae Connor-Anderson and is about 75 feet long. It is not complete, containing only 24 scenes and the Latin inscriptions were removed. The 24 scenes tell of St. Edward’s role in the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
20191019_120204
The merger of the Saxon and Norman cultures created a new culture from which the English language evolved. Government was a mix of Norman and Saxon traditions.
20191019_120305
St. Edward Parish was founded in 1899 and its current church building was dedicated in 1940.

This is one of the doors from the narthex leading into the sanctuary. There are several of these which all have the same design.
20191019_120347
Confessional and confessional door

The stained glass windows throughout the sanctuary depict many important events in Christianity and the life of Jesus Christ. The pair pictured below depicts the birth of Jesus and his presentation in the temple with Simeon.

20191019_121046.jpg

St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church has been serving the north side of Chicago since 1904, when immigrants from Luxembourg petitioned for a new parish. Its congregation today comprises many immigrant and ethnic groups.
20191103_143911.jpg
Although it was one of the sites open to the public during Open House Chicago, my visit there was with a friend for a concert by International Chamber Artists, who perform there often. The music director at the church arranges these and other concerts and is a fine musician himself.

St. Gregory is absolutely gorgeous inside. It was built in the 1920s in Norman Gothic style. It has a lavishly decorated ceiling and an intricate white reredos* behind the altar. The pulpit, shrines and stations of the cross were all hand-carved in Germany. The windows are made of English and jewel glass.
20191103_150434

The door at the front of the church…
20191103_144035
was not actually where we entered. Because we were ushers for the concert, we had to arrive an hour early to help with the preparation for the concert. Here is the door we entered.
20191103_144113
You will notice that this and other doors in the church have small windows with diamond shapes in them.
20191103_144139
The main sanctuary with its colorful and intricate decoration.
20191103_145358
The main altar, with its white reredos in front of the back wall.20191103_144204
Shrine to the Virgin Mary, common in Catholic churches (St. Edward has one also, pictured above).
20191103_145417
Inside the front entrance door
20191103_145919
Confessional and its door

An inner door – I noticed that the diamond shapes all had pictures, symbols or Greek writing inside them.
20191103_180423
I began to look at these more closely and saw a variety of pictures, each one unique.
20191103_180438
20191103_18041220191103_154738
On the church’s web site is their mission statement and that, guided by the Holy Spirit, they are committed to:
*Celebrating and sharing God’s goodness by providing beautiful experiences of prayer and worship
*Providing opportunities for people to grow in their faith, hope, and love
*Extending the healing of Christ into the lives of all people so that they may come to know and share in the love Christ has for our world
*Offering opportunities for fellowship, hospitality, and service
*Evangelizing (spreading) the Good News of Jesus Christ through experiences of the fine arts

Of the two churches, I found St. Gregory to be the more beautiful and it has more interesting doors, but I enjoyed looking at the paintings of the tapestry panels at St. Edward, which were explained in a booklet the docents were giving out.

*What is a reredos? Promounced “RARE-eh-dahs,”according to Miriam Webster online, it is an ornamental wood or stone screen or partition wall behind the altar of a church. The term’s first known use was in the 14th century.

Sources:
St. Edward Church – publications obtained at the church
St. Gregory the Great Church – the church’s web site and Open House Chicago web site.

Bayeux: Tapestry and Cathedral

The city of Bayeux, in the province of Normandy, France, has three main tourist attractions. The first is a famous tapestry that tells the events surrounding the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy’s successful campaign to invade and take over England. William became king of England, later passing the throne to his son Henry. This tapestry is about 68.3 m/224 ft long and no photography of the actual tapestry is allowed. I was able to take photos of reproductions of sections of the embroidery in the gift shop.

A more accurate description is that the Bayeux Tapestry is “narrative embroidery” – it was hand embroidered on linen by various embroiderers in the late 11th century. It contains 9 panels of linen cloth joined together, containing text as well as pictures. It was commissioned by the Bishop of Bayeux (and William’s half-brother) for display in the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Bayeux, consecrated in 1077. (More information about the Bayeux Tapestry can be found at The Bayeux Tapestry: the epic adventure of William the Conqueror in 1066.)

The cathedral is the second main attraction in Bayeux, with its beautiful stained glass windows, a variety of interesting embellishments and details, and its variety of doors. Below are photos of the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Bayeux, featuring the doors for Norm’s Thursday Doors.
20190618_124845
The cathedral was built in the 11th-12th centuries in the Gothic style, and was dedicated in the presence of William the Conqueror in 1077. It was the first home of the Bayeux tapestry.

Approach to the front entrance:
20190618_121846 (1)20190618_12193520190618_121940j
William and his beloved wife, Mathilde, are carved on the cathedral’s main doorway.
20190618_122008jThe main entrance from the inside:20190618_122459
One of the smaller doorways that flank the main entrance:
20190618_121939
20190618_122854
Interior view:
20190618_122315
Spectacular stained glass windows:

The organ:
DSC00329
The pulpit:
20190618_122257j
Interior gate leading to the gift shop
20190618_123911
There are many carvings and interesting Norman-era embellishments in the nave. These were completed at the beginning of the 12th century.

The ceiling

Other statuary

Paintings

More doors
DSC00338
20190618_123605
20190618_122131

20190618_122440 (2)
Across from the cathedral is a small square.
20190618_121948
20190618_122042
More doors and a gateway that we discovered on our walk back to our car.
20190618_12480020190618_124632d (2)20190618_140110j
We passed this old-fashioned water mill.

We parked on the edge of Bayeux’s beautiful botanic gardens, and it is possible to reach the city’s center via walking trails through the gardens, but we were unable to spend the time to admire them, because we were on our way to Mont St.-Michel.

20190618_140747

This WWII tank was on display near the parking lot.

20190618_135236j.jpg