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Archive for 'Cathedral'

Christchurch: Then and Now #travel #NewZealand

On 4th September 2010 an earthquake struck Christchurch in New Zealand. A second struck on 22 February 2011 with loss of life and property damage.

I visited Christchurch in 2006 and this year was the first time I’d returned. It was sobering, even now almost five years later. The center of Christchurch remains empty with ruined buildings and lots of vacant lots.

Christchurch Cathedral

This is a photo of the cathedral and the square, taken prior to the Earthquake.

Christchurch Cathedral

A second view of the cathedral.

Cathedral Ruins 1

Cathedral Ruins

Cathedral Ruins

Cathedral Ruins

As I said, sobering. The cathedral is one of the many buildings in the city center that is still damaged. There are also many empty lots where the buildings have been removed. There is talk of restoring the cathedral, but the cost is phenomenal. I would like them to reinforce the shell enough to make it safe and to use it as a memorial. It’s certainly an emotional topic for the Christchurch locals.

Update: A 5.7 magnitude earthquake occurred on Valentine’s day (14 Feb 2016)–the first big quake for some time. Thankfully, there were no fatalities.

Doing The Pisa Dance

Most tourists who visit Pisa can’t resist taking a photo that looks as if they’re holding up the leaning tower or pushing it over. We have some of those photos from our last visit. During this visit we couldn’t resist taking photos of people taking photos.

I give you…

The Pisa Dance!

The Pisa Dance

Gargoyles. I have a fascination with them, especially since they’re not common in New Zealand. Their purpose is to shoot water off a roof and away from the side of a building. In other words, a gargoyle is a fancy water spout.

They’re quite common on churches throughout England and Europe. My fascination means I’m always gawking up at the carvings and strange figures decorating the old buildings. Here are two we saw on the cathedral in Pisa.

Gargoyle Pisa Pisa_gargoyles

The bottom one isn’t a true gargoyle, but it’s certainly interesting with his sly expression and his tail.

Do you think gargoyles (i.e. gargoyle shapeshifters) make good heroes in romance novels? Or do you find the idea of a stone man a bit icky?

Look at that Tower. It’s Leaning!

Pisa_1

When you’re growing up you hear about the leaning tower in Pisa. You’ve probably seen pictures of the bell tower, but actually walking through the archway and seeing it in person is a “wow” moment. We’ve visited before when we were in our early twenties, yet it was just as magical seeing it again.

Pisa

The buildings are (from left to right) Baptistry, Cathedral, Bell Tower. The land on which they’re built is unstable and the bell tower started to lean as soon as it was built in 1173. This visit we didn’t have time to climb the tower, which is 294 steps, but last time we did puff our way to the top. At the time there were no railings and I worried about slipping on the marble and falling off the edge. The distinct tilt added to the sensation of unease!

Pisa_Shelley 

And here’s another photo of me standing in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Our visit took place early in the morning and there weren’t many people. By the time we left the crowds were starting to arrive and the rain was coming down. The young boys selling umbrellas made a killing. We’re the proud owners of a souvenir Pisa umbrella. We had a fun visit.