Tag Archives: Cathedral

Last Day in Cuenca, Ecuador

Jul 9 – On our last day in Cuenca, we checked out the Cathedral.

Across the street is the Old Cathedral, which is now a museum with frescoed walls and some passionate paintings.

We visited the flower market.

The Museo Pumapungo contained Incan ruins, shrunken heads (no photos allowed) and a botanical garden with llamas and parrots.

Lunch here (almuerzo) always consists of a bowl of soup, an entree and a dessert (postre). This wins the prize as the chintziest dessert ever – a single Ritz cracker smeared with jam!

The Museum of Modern Art was interesting.

And we ran into Dante, the student working for world peace, who works in a fair trade shop by day.

We had a great time in Cuenca – if you’re looking to retire to an exotic location, put Cuenca on your list!

Jul 10 – Today we flew back to Quito Airport, so we would be in place for our flight home tomorrow. One short flight sure beats all day on a bus! Had our last breakfast of scrambled eggs, bread and white cheese.

Jul 11 – Got to the airport at 3am for our flight to Miami, then home to Norfolk without a hitch. So happy to see David’s smiling face at baggage claim! So we are home, with a dog who is happy to see us, hugs from grandkids and a garden full of ripening tomatoes. Til next time!


Mar 13 – If you recall, we started this trip by flying down to Mexico City, then took a short flight all the way south to Huatulco, and have been working our way back north by bus. To break up the last long stretch from Oaxaca back to Mexico City, Jim added one more stop for us – the city of Puebla, a five hour bus ride from Oaxaca. This was a full sized, very comfy bus that showed movies as we traveled. We got to watch “Sing” in español, one of our grand girls favorite movies!

Puebla and Oaxaca have a friendly competition going on. They both claim to have invented molé, although Oaxaca has seven different colors, and Puebla is most proud of molé poblano. They tell similar stories of the poor nuns who had nothing to serve the bishop during his visit, so they scraped together bits of many spices, boiled the melange down and served it over an old turkey. The bishop loved it, and molé was born.

Puebla has beautiful architecture and many colorful buildings.

Puebla has the second largest cathedral in Mexico, second only to the one in Mexico City. To my little mind, this cathedral is so much prettier – lighter, brighter, shinier! The ceilings are particularly lovely.

Puebla is also the home of the Convento Santo Domingo. I particularly liked the main altar.

The Convento also contains the famous Rosary Chapel, or Capilla de Rosario. So much gold!

The first public library in Latin America is here, with over 5000 volumes donated by Bishop Palafox in 1646 with the mandate that the books be shared with the common people:

There is an interesting statue here. Do you prefer the front view or the rear view?

Want to know what else there is in Puebla? I’ll tell you tomorrow!

Oaxaca – Chocolate, Cheese and Churches

Mar 12 – One of the things Oaxaca is famous for is chocolate. It is the basis of molé sauce (which tastes much better here – I think I’m becoming accustomed to it), but is also sold in all its forms. Today we stopped at Mayordomo for a classic hot cocoa made with milk, which is what many folks here drink in the morning instead of coffee:

While we were waiting for the cocoa to come, we were served a dish of corn chips with molé negro (black). It turns out that molé comes in many colors:

On the menu of the chocolate shop was a list of postres (afters), which usually means dessert. Not knowing what any of them were, Jim picked one at random. We expected a cookie or a pastry, and instead we got…

…tortillas with molé and Oaxacan cheese! We have really enjoyed the cheese made here, which crumbles like feta, pulls like string cheese, melts like mozzarella, and is served on everything!

Oaxaca has several beautiful churches, a cathedral and a Basilica. We’ve been sampling them in between shopping, sightseeing and eating. Here are some highlights.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Solitude (la Nuestra Señora de Soledad), was built in the 1600s out of green cantera stone. It was built without tall spires to better withstand earthquakes:

El Templo de San Felipe Neri was our favorite, with old stenciled walls, old paintings, and San Felipe himself (I think) up on the altar:

Metropolitan Cathedral, built in the 1500s out of the same green stone was pretty on the outside, but dark inside:

Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman used to be a monastery. The family tree of Santo Domingo is illustrated in gold on the ceiling:

We’ve really loved our time in Oaxaca, but it is time to move on. Where do you think we will go next?

Sunday in Barcelona

10/19 – a beautiful Sunday, and we’re back in summer, with warm, balmy breezes and temperature in the 80s. Here in Barcelona, the people speak Catalan, so it’s Buen Dia, instead of Buenes Dias.

After a coffee and pastry breakfast (we have to find less caloric food now that we’re not hiking every day, but around here, breakfast means pastry), we walked to the gorgeous Cathedral of the Cross and Santa Eulalia, and participated the high, sung mass. The priests and the choir had such beautiful voices that I was left speechless and (of course) teary. Even the sermon, of which I did not understand a word, was a joy to listen to.







The Cathedral is home to a flock of 13 white geese that have their own pond within the church walls. It is said that the number of geese reflects the age at which Santa Eulalia, patron saint of Barcelona, was martyred.



We emerged from the mass into a crush of people enjoying the Sunday street markets.IMG_2836.JPG

There were also many demonstrators speaking out for the independence of Catalan.


All day, we encountered demonstrators, young and old, wearing red or yellow shirts and buildings draped in Catalan flags. They would like to secede from Spain and form their own country.image

This city is all about the famous organic architect, Antoni Gaudi. After a delicious tapas lunch, we walked to la Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s most famous work in progress. This cathedral, started in the 1880s, isn’t due to be completed for many years. The outside is covered in scaffolding, and there was a long line of folks waiting to buy tickets to see the interior. I balked at the $25. entrance fee, so here are our pix of the outside, and some internet pix of the inside.

After looking at these pix, we probably should have coughed up the $50., but oh well. There’s another Gaudi site on our list of things to do tomorrow!

A Short Stay in St Paul

8/17 – a six hour train ride west on the Amtrak Empire Builder (which journeys 46 hours to get from Chicago to Seattle) took us from Portage, Wisconsin to St. Paul, Minnesota, giving us a glimpse of the Mississippi River along the way. Leg room! Reclining seats that you can actually sleep in! Dining car! Bar car! Snacks! Here is sunset in Winona, where we enjoyed a stretch-your-legs stop.


St. Paul is the first big city we’ve been to in a while. We checked out the neighborhood, and opted to treat ourselves to some excellent Thai food, then found the T-Mobile store to get a new phone that should work overseas (good riddance, Verizon!).


To get downtown, we had our choice of bus or light rail. We took the bus, and will use the Metro to get to the airport on Monday.


On Sunday morning we visited St Paul’s Cathedral, and participated in the high mass. I knew all the hymns! The cantor had a crystal tenor, and the pipe organ was fabulous.



The Cathedral just received a gift of a new statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and many stopped to admire The Lady.


Just down the road from the Cathedral is Summit Avenue, where F. Scott Fitzgerald and the railroad magnate James J. Hill’s posh estates are located. We looked for Garrison Keillor’s house, but couldn’t tell which one it was…




We ended our sight seeing by treating ourselves to some excellent Vietnamese food. (I guess we were too long in the Land of Cheese…)


Tomorrow, we fly!