On Monday, Ludwig hosts his weekly challenge Monday Window. I looked in my archives and kept coming across window pairs. Here are a few of them, taken in Brazil, Mont St-Michel (France), Amsterdam, and Germany.
I have stopped watching the news….I have dropped all social media, except for my blog, which I try to keep to positive vibes…. there are a lot of folks in the world, who are everyday folks, just trying to provide food and shelter and love……….they are trying to make a living…….keep their kids educated and basically just take care of their families, without an agenda. Me too. I think there is more of us…. Just trying to live our lives….. So, I would like to take the time to focus on one person a week to bring us together, to celebrate ordinary folks.
Feel free to join Just One Person From Around the World by creating your own post and then share your link in the comments!
In 2016, my husband, Dale, and I took a 3 1/2 week trip to Brazil, to visit friends and sightsee on our own. We spent the first week in the southern city of Curitiba, where we stayed with friends. The person who had prompted this trip was a 92-year-old woman, Dona Lais, whom I have known since 1971 when I stayed in her family’s house during a summer exchange program. We have written each other off and on, but for years she was always faithful in sending newsy letters during the holidays. She does not do that now, so when I realized she had turned 92, I thought I should visit her right away, because this visit could be – probably would be – the last. Here is Dona Lais playing the piano at her home in Curitiba. She had stopped playing the piano after many years, but she took it up again a few years ago, because, she says, it helps alleviate the arthritis in her fingers.
Amy of Lens-Artists invites us this week to show old and new with our photos and stories.
On our last trip to Brazil, we spent our first week staying with friends in the southern city of Curitiba, which has well over 1 million inhabitants. The city has grown a lot since I was last there in 1979! In this photo, the juxtaposition between old and new can be seen in the Centro Histórico (historical center), with Portuguese-style buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries dwarfed by modern skyscrapers.
We then spent about a week in São Paulo. Every Sunday, a major avenue, Avenida Paulista, is closed to motorized traffic; pedestrians and bicyclists have the street to themselves on that day. Being a major street, Avenida Paulista is lined with ultra modern architecture, but there are historical monuments there also, which visitors can explore. At the far end of this avenue is the Casa das Rosas, named for its rose gardens, a Victorian mansion that has become part of Brazil’s historic patrimony. Behind this partial view of the house, a glass blue skyscraper rises high.
In São Paulo’s downtown, old and new live side by side, above and below. These 19th century buildings, which can be admired for their colors nd wrought-iron balconies, now house modern stores on their lower levels.
Two years later, we were in Egypt, where we saw many monuments of its 3500 year old civilization. The Egyptians are both proud of their heritage and dependent economically on tourism. This modern apartment building is decorated with motifs of ancient Egypt.
While visiting the ancient pyramids in Giza, just outside the city of Cairo, we also took in a museum housing a restored ancient boat belonging to one of the first pharaohs. These boats were buried in pits next to the king’s tomb because the ancient Egyptians believed he would need his boat to travel to the afterworld. While the pyramids and the boat are ancient, the hexagonal Giza Solar Boat Museum which houses the ancient boat is quite modern looking on the outside, in contrast with the 3,500 year old pyramid behind it!
We visited the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, a woman who ruled as pharaoh for nearly 20 years during Egypt’s 18th dynasty. I took this photo of my silly husband with his Nikon camera hanging down over his chest, posing with two Egyptian guards dressed in traditional garb in one of the temple’s sanctuaries.
Every one of the monuments was swarming with cellphone-toting tourists snapping photos.
South of Aswan is the city and monument of Abu Simbel, which is less touristy, because many people do not want to take the two-plus journey there to see the twin temples built by Ramses II. When the Aswan High Dam was built in the 1960s, it caused a lake to form south of the dam, which flooded previously inhabited areas. Because of its historical value, a huge effort was made, before the dam could be built, to remove the ancient monuments that would otherwise end up underwater. Ramses II’s temple and the smaller temple next to it he had built for his beloved wife Nefertari were divided painstakingly into sections and lifted 200 meters higher where a cliff had been carved out for its placement to look at much like the original location as possible. In the old position, Ramses II’s architects had cleverly created an inner chamber in which there were statues of the pharaoh and two gods, which received direct sunlight for 45 minutes on only two days of the year – his birthday and his coronation date – February 22 and October 22. One of the gods, Ptah, remained always in shadow, for he was the god of darkness. When the monuments were raised up to the higher cliff in the 1960s, the sun’s rays no longer illuminated the statues on those two dates, but close – they now shine upon the statues for fewer minutes on Feb. 21 and Oct. 21, only a day earlier.
Several of Egypt’s ancient monuments, including the temples at Abu Simbel, now have a special light show for tourists, which project colorful images onto the outer face of the monuments starting at twilight. As the images are shown, there is narration to accompany them in several languages that you listen to with an earbud attached to a small transmitter. New technology is juxtaposed with ancient buildings by using them as a “movie screen” for the images. During the projection of the images, it is difficult to make out the shapes and features of the statues behind them.
In Israel, where we traveled after our tour of Egypt, there are also many ancient places. Much of the original wall of Jerusalem and its gates still exists; millions of tourists and residents enter those gates on a daily basis. Here are some young Israelis dressed in their military uniforms about to enter this ancient gate.
In Gethsemane, there is a garden with ancient olive trees. One of them is exceptionally old – dating from the time of Jesus and is believed to possibly have been a young tree when he leaned against it to pray on the eve of his crucifixion. In order to protect it, a fence now surrounds it.
Finally, while on a boat tour of the canals and harbor of Amsterdam, I took this photo of Amsterdammers in a boat shaped like a Heineken barrel, about to pass under a medieval bridge.
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week are things that begin with the letters Ap. In my archives I have photos that are appropriate and aptly suited to this challenge. I hope they meet with your approval!
Appliances: Old fashioned refrigerators (Bonanzaville, West Fargo, ND)
KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Appetizers: (Oh, so appetizing!)
Appetizers and sides buffet at a Brazilian churrascaria (steak house), Curitiba, Brazil
April: They say that “April showers bring May flowers” but there are flowers to look forward to in April too!
My church’s huge rummage sale, called Second Time Around Sale, always takes place in April:
APL: apparently cheating 😉 !
I end with a picture of my brother, Allen Perry Lovejoy IV. OK, using initials is cheating a little, but Allen had hoped that he and his wife would have a son that would be APL V, but they only had girls. So each of their three daughters was given a name using one of the initials (Allie, Paige, Leslie)! When we wanted to refer to that family group, we often say, “the APLs.” Our uncle was APL III, his father APL Jr. and his grandfather APL Sr.
Last but not least, here is my favorite of all! I was fascinated by a species of pine tree found only in the region around the state of Paraná, Brazil. Its scientific name is araucaria but people there call it pinheiro paranaense (pine tree of Paraná). The native people of this region, a tribe of the Tupi-Guaraní, called it curi, which is how Curitiba got its name!
Carlos, D. Lais, Dale and I went the Ukrainian Memorial, our last sight-seeing site in Curitiba. It is a park within the larger Tingui Park, surrounded by forest and on the grounds is a replica of an old Ukrainian Orthodox church and a little gift shop. The church is a replica of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel and was constructed at the end of the 19th century by Ukrainian immigrants in the Serra do Tigre, in Marechal Mallet, Paraná. The architectural style is Byzantine, with a bronze onion dome cupola and external bell tower.
Near the entrance to the park is a small memorial to the Holodomor, the genocide of Ukrainians by Stalin’s politically engineered famine, which killed 3-10 million people, according to an informational poster. The genocide through man-made famine was carried out in 1932-33 in which one fifth of the rural population of Ukraine perished. Over a third of these were children. Besides taking farmers’ lands and goods, Stalin also attempted to eliminate the Ukrainian culture and language (in this, fortunately, he did not succeed). The memorial, a replica in granite 1.8 x 1.4 meters of the original Holodomor memorial in Kiev, was created by Elvo Benito Damo, a sculptor from Paraná.
In the shop, the shopkeeper said it was OK to take pictures and she was very friendly. She asked where we were from, we talked about the weather and admired the things she had for sale. I was trying to decide whether to buy a picture frame or a hexagon-shaped pen holder. Lais then insisted on buying the picture frame for me, and I bought the pen holder for myself, as well as an edible Christmas memento. The shopkeeper explained what the different designs on the items meant.
I wandered into the church, which was decorated with religious icons in frames with embroidered scarves draped over them. There was also a cabinet full of beautifully painted eggs called pessankas, for which the Ukrainians are famous, each one with some meaning in its design. There was a nice poem embroidered on a cloth with a translation in Portuguese. The Ukrainians, like the Russians, use the Cyrillic alphabet.
A large metal egg-shaped sculpture stood in the yard and next to it was the bell tower, a small building with a lookout on the upper level. This whole area had suddenly filled with a group of middle school kids from a school, all dressed in their uniforms of a white shirt embroidered with their school’s logo, and dark pants. Their school was in Blumenau, (in the state of Santa Catarina, to the south of Paraná), I read on one of them. I didn’t get the name of the school but someone told me it was a Jewish school.
Carrying the plastic bags with my wrapped purchases, I climbed up the stairs too and looked around. When most of the kids had vacated the area around the pessanka sculpture, I took a closer look and snapped a few pictures.
Egg metal sculpture
As we were getting back in the car, it started to rain again! Once again, good timing!
That evening, we packed, because the next day we would have to say good-bye to our friends and depart for São Paulo.
In the late afternoon, the weather was still decent so we went to the Ópera de Arame, (Wire Opera House) which we hadn’t had time to see before. We got to the opera house just before 5 – it was supposed to close at 5, but there were lots of people there still, out for a stroll in the nice weather.
This venue, surrounded by native flora, is set up in a semi-circle, sloping down to the stage. The roof is made of glass and metal. Sometimes, Eliane told me, they open the curtains that cover the sides, so that one feels completely surrounded by nature. The acoustics are good, she said, and the box seats are some of the best in the house.
A larger venue is located next door, at the pedreira (quarry) but we couldn’t go in to see it. A guard told us they were setting up for a big event in a couple of days. Two days later, it was in the newspaper – Guns n’ Roses were going to perform to large crowds! We had noticed tents set up outside and had wondered what they were doing there; it turns out they were set up by people who camped out to be the first in line to buy tickets to the concert.
Carlos and Eliane had quite a discussion in the car about which churrascaria (Brazilian steak house) was best. They had given us an option of different kinds of restaurants, but Dale was interested in trying out a typical Brazilian churrascaria in Curitiba.
They settled on the “third best” one in town – Batel Grill.
Arriving there with Dona Lais at 1:45, we were told we’d have a 30-40 minute wait. This was fine, even expected. There was a bar and lobby full of people.
Like at Madalosso, there were complimentary mini batidas to sample in small plastic cups, as well as appetizers: polenta sticks, mini meat pies (pastéis de carne) and French fries. I had a batidade côco and another of maracujá. I ate a few polenta sticks but didn’t want to eat too much now, knowing how much food we’d be offered.
After we were finally seated, we got plates and went to the buffet. I tried to put just a little of various different salads and things, but my plate was completely full when I returned to our table.
To drink, someone ordered water and Dale and I ordered caipirinhas – actually mine was a caipiroska! Waiters arrived with long spits of meat and carving knives. I refused the first few because I didn’t have any room on my plate, but eventually I shoved food aside to make room for small pieces of meat. Besides meat offerings, there were also pastas, pastéis and other kinds of food.
If you have ever been to a Brazilian steak house, you will know that the waiters show up with meat and long knives every few minutes, one after the other!
I ate very slowly and eventually couldn’t eat any more. I think just the amount of food was overwhelming. I let them take my plate away, still ¼ full, including a piece of palmito (hearts of palm), which I love!