Photo of the Week: Wooden Chapel Bridge – Lucerne, Switzerland

Wooden Chapel Bridge
Wooden Chapel Bridge

 

The Wooden Chapel Bridge is an iconic wood bridge that dates back to 1332 on River Reuss, Lucerne in Switzerland. It features one of a kind paintings of Lucerne’s history harking back to the year 1332 and for being the world’s oldest surviving wooden bridge. The paintings depict local and cultural scenes of the Swiss town. Part of its complex is the Wassertum, meaning “water tower”, which existed 30 years before the bridge. Over the course of history the tower has held all sorts of activities, from holding captives, to being a torture chamber and, an archive.

The beautiful city of Lucerne is nestled in the heart of Switzerland on the banks of Lake Lucerne. On one side of the lake is New Town, replete with cultural delights. The Rosengart Collection houses artwork from the 1800’s, including Picasso’s.

Lucerne’s Old Town is tall, colorful houses of medieval times, each competing for the eye, and narrow streets that lead to the Mussegg Wall, part of the fortification walls of 1386. Below are views of the blue Lake Lucerne shimmering under the sun, the rooftops of Old Town and beyond.

Lake Lucerne, atop which the Chapel Bridge stands, is surrounded by and rewards you with unrivaled panoramas of the Swiss Alps. A boat cruise on the lake is a treat – enhanced by graceful swans obliviously gliding across the lake and splendid views of the town, the wooden bridge and ridges afar.

 

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Photo of the Week – Trou Aux Cerfs Volcano, Mauritius

Trou Aux Cerfs Vulcano, Mauritius
Trou Aux Cerfs Vulcano, Mauritius

 

The Trou Aux Cerfs in Curepipe, Mauritius is a dormant volcano with a depth of around 100 meters, and unlike the typical volcano, it’s covered in lush greenery of indigenous trees and flowers. Scientists believe the volcano erupted once more than 700,000 years ago and will erupt again. Though it’s dormant now, it’s still a reminder of the sheer force of nature.

In the south west, Black River Gorges defines raw nature. If it isn’t the hills, it’s the thick greenery, or the waterfalls. And you’ll catch sight of the rare pink pidgeon, Mauritius parakeet and the flying fox. But atop the Black River Peak, the highest point in Mauritius, the Indian Ocean is in all its glory, as does the vast landscape and blue lagoons below.

At Casela National Park, the lions and their cubs are nice and ready to play. But so do the majestic giraffes which are eager to be fed, and the camels which won’t mind if you hoist on their backs for a ride or two. At the aviary, a kaleidoscope of beautiful birds, some only found here, is a rewarding sensation.

But you haven’t seen everything unless you’ve been to the world-famous beaches of Mauritius. They’re talcum white, with clear blue-green waters, some with endearing lagoons, and others with colorful aquatic life. And of course, they have countless water sports, if you’d prefer to get in the action.

 

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Photo of the Week – Madaba, Jordan

Madaba, Jordan
Madaba, Jordan

 

Madaba, an ancient city in Jordan is first mentioned in the Bible as “Medeba” in Numbers 21:30 and many other references follow, mostly in the Old Testament. As a city, Madaba was a subject of many wars as kingdoms fought each other to occupy it. It exchanged hands every other time, going from one conqueror’s hand to another. In 747 AD, an earthquake reduced the city to rubble, and the city was abandoned until the 1880’s when it was settled by Christians fleeing from southern Jordan.

Madaba is called the City of Mosaics due to the many depictions of mythology, daily life, wildlife and plants and floors in many places within the city. It is home to the Madaba Map, which residents discovered after clearing out rubble from an old church.  The map is a mosaic of almost two million colored stones, which accurately depict the Middle East, and whose artists are unknown. The map is astonishingly detailed, featuring lions, rivers, mountains and livestock. It is the most famous mosaic in the city.

Within the area is Mt. Nebo, the mountain where the Biblical figure Moses lived out his remaining days and got views of the Promised Land. At the peak, you get vivid panoramas of the Dead Sea, River Jordan, and if the weather is clear, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Madaba is an amazing place steeped in rich history, friendly people and mosaic magic.

 

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Photo of the Week, Giralda Bell Tower

Giralda Bell Tower
Giralda Bell Tower

 

Giralda in Seville, Spain is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville which is the 3rd biggest church in the world. In the 12th century, it was a minaret, until Christians arrived, conquered the area and made it a bell tower. Standing at 98 meters, it dominates the skyline of the historic city of Seville. At the top, the city is laid bare in all its ancient glory.

At the east coast of Spain is tucked the charming city of Valencia, which has a bewitching mix of monuments of yore, splendid beaches and a jolly weather. The Valencia cathedral, built in the 13th century with several architectural styles, is simply compelling, as are the avant-garde buildings at the City of Arts and Sciences.

Legendary artist Picasso’s most famous art piece, Guernica, is found in Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum. The painting is popular for its dramatic plea against terror and war. The Royal palace is stylish with Baroque design, and it houses the dramatic, otherworldly hall of mirrors.

Barcelona is a juxtaposition of the ancient and the modern, with the several magnificent buildings of the architecture genius Antoni Gaudi, and the Gothic Quarter, the city’s oldest place. At the Gothic quarter, no matter how much time you look around, you are bound to happen upon yet another enchanting plaza or a mysterious alley.

 

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