Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

2016 - Castelo dey Santa Maria da Feira, Aveiro, Portugal

While on our grand adventure we had spent a day and a night in Portugal. On our way out of town the following morning, we stopped to visit Castelo dey Santa Maria da Feira, a medieval castle dating from the middle of the 9th century (868AD). This gorgeous relic of the Middle Ages is very well maintained and worth a visit.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain

I've had an obsession with cathedrals after having read Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth many years ago. In Follett's book, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was featured near the conclusion of the story and I've been at awe that such grandiose and ornate examples of architecture could be constructed nearly a thousand years ago. On our recent adventure to Spain, we had the privilege to not only visit the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, but to also attend Easter mass. Consecrated in the year 1211, this wonderful symbol of Christianity has survived time and many struggles. Unfortunately though, time is also taking its toll and during our visit the cathedral was surrounded by scaffolding for planned cleanup and renovation.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - San Miguel de Lillo, Oviedo, Spain

Passing through the northern province of Asturias, we pulled into the town of Oviedo, Spain, to visit the San Miguel de Lillo. Consecrated in the early year of 848, this Roman Catholic church had early aspirations of being a basilica. Unfortunately, the larger original structure collapsed sometime in the 12th or 13th century and the project was never completed. One feature of this church that remains intact is the magnificent lattice work above each window. If you look closely, you will observe that the lattice work is sculpted from a single piece of stone. The lattice above the window on the southern wall is the most stunning.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, Barcelona, Spain

You are probably catching on to the theme at this point in our Spanish adventure that ancient Roman Catholic cathedrals are what we love to visit. There is no place within the United States where you can capture the essence of the history and the architecture like you can in Europe. To wander beneath the arches and buttresses, knowing those from the middle ages many centuries past walked these very stones, is a feeling like no other.

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia is actually one of the newer cathedrals of Spain. Consecrated in 1448, the Gothic style cathedral took 150 years to construct and is actually built over the top of the foundations from at least two prior churches.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - Valencia Cathedral, Valencia, Spain

During our stay in Valencia, Spain, it goes without saying that the historic cathedral was on the top of our list of must-see destinations. The cathedral, formally known as the Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia, is primarily Valencian Gothic in style. But since its consecration in 1238, this awesome example of historic architecture has taken other styles over the centuries during additions, remodels and restorations such as Romanesque, French Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and even Neo-Classical. The cathedral is home to a chalice claimed to be the actual Holy Grail. Unfortunately, the chalice is not open for public view.

During our tour of the cathedral, we were lucky enough to climb to the top of the Micalet, the octagonal shaped belfy. Atop the 51 meter (167 feet) high tower, a panoramic view of the entire city can be found including the mountains to the west and the sea to the east.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - Cathedral of St. Mary, Toledo, Spain

During our visit to Toledo, Spain, we had the pleasure of visiting the Cathedral of St. Mary. The 13th century Roman Catholic cathedral is of style High Gothic and is a magnificent structure. Not only is the architecture of the cathedral amazing, but it is also home to many famous works of art by many world renowned artists, including El Greco and the unbelievable fresco by Luca Giordano on the high ceiling of the sacristy.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit, MI

While visiting the greater Detroit, MI area, we stopped in to tour the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Located in Detroit's Boston-Edison historic district, the Roman Catholic cathedral is an oasis of remarkable beauty among the blight and worn torn neighborhoods of greater Detroit.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Crookston, MN

On a recent road cruise to the northwestern corner of Minnesota, I stumbled upon this beauty while geocaching around downtown Crookston, MN. Built in 1912, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception has triple Gothic spires. The original architect built two other churches just like it, one in Duluth, MN and the other in nearby Terrebonne, MN. This particular building was abandoned in 1990 after the parish moved it's church to a newly built box style structure. It's a shame that this beauty is in such disrepair. Just standing next to this building one gets the feeling that in its day, being within the walls of this cathedral was a grand experience.

The story of the demise of this cathedral is quite sad. Read more about it here..

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Savannah, GA

Passing through Savannah, GA, would not have been complete without a visit to St. John the Baptist Cathedral. While the outside of the cathedral was undergoing renovations, inside the gorgeous structure was alive and well.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..