Friday, April 11, 2014

Stockholm, Sweden March 7th, 2014 day one: wandering in Gamla Stan and Vasa museum

upon arrival an elegant dinner with friends at their lovely home 
local church in quiet park on way to friends' dinner 

same church in the daylight

"Marten Trotzigs Grand", 90 meters wide and the narrowest street in stockholm. It is located on the medieval island of "Gamla Stan" where we started our day on an early cool Friday morning.

fun store windows in gamla stan

Quiet and cold streets in Gamla Stan, the largest of the islands in Stockholm.

fun buildings, most with old, wonderful stone door frames 

narrow cobbled medieval streets and old churches 

 lovely colorful Stortorget square with buildings dating back to 1650

one of the oldest buildings in the square now a lively coffee shop.  we warmed up here on Sunday morning with a cappuccino and wonderful yummy, sticky bun

crossing from one island to the next

walking over toward the "wealthy" strandvagen street

pretty water views everywhere

Swedish horse souvenirs
 Storkyrkan, 700 yr old, church in gamla stan. lovely red brick columns, an altar from 1650, wonderful gothic arched ceiling and much more
fantastic wooden statue of st. george and a fanciful dragon from 1489 located on side of altar. one of the most famous  Gothic statues in Northern Europe. 
new, brightly  colored stained glass in back of  church, one on the right shows a kneeling man. see if you can see it.
some of the arches in the church still had their painted ceilings
St George is popular there, one of their patron saints, shown here in a small square in Gamla Stan

Riddarhuset, house of nobility in the Dutch Baroque style where the coats of arms of nobel families are displayed. We had fun locating one we were interested in.

room in house of nobles with the noble families coat of arms on the wall, all in tin
we walked over to the island of Ridderholmen to see the church where the royals are buried but it was closed. 

After lunch we moved onto the island of Djurgarden where many wonderful museums are located. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the Vasa museum which houses the Vasa warship from 1632. Incredible story from the beginning to end. I loved the place.

view of most of the ship which sank on its first trip in 1628 1 km from shore.  it was raised in the late 1950's and was 98% intact due to the seawater having neither salt nor woodworms in it.

incredibly carved stern of  Vasa warship with royal coat of arms. ship has over 700 statues/carvings on it.

another shot of stern

a small, modern model reconstruction of the boat, here showing the stern with the crown seal at top in what would have been the original colors
amazing carvings on the ship

There are 19 roman emperors carved on the ship. One can never get away from the power of Rome it seems.

close up reconstruction of royal seal
more of ship,. It is a great museum on 3 floors with very good detailed signs.

this sign was a funny surprise
the building where the ship is, the mast coming out of the building shows the height of the ship

a view from the ferry toward sodermalm where we were staying, our hotel is visible in the photo, mid way up hill

another view from ferry toward gamla stan

We took a stroll along the top of the hill in sodermalm, the island where we were staying, to see the view and the house boats

there were many galleries in sodermalm and this one had a gorgeous, glass octopus (more on this in another blog)

nice views on one of our walks near hotel in sodermalm

day one was very busy filled with lots of fun. I have a tremendous amount of photos so will try to narrow them down and upload more of them. An exciting place to visit, lots to do and see, expensive, but I dont' think anyone would be disappointed in the city. Some of the above photos are a bit out of order but I got tired trying to fix them all in the right place.
Friday night dinner at  "den Gyldene Freden" (the golden peace) in Gamla Stan in a building from 1722.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

fun weekend in Bologna, Feb 22-23,2014

 Part of Main Piazza, Piazza Maggiore, Bologna

gothic architecture all around town. 

Medieval towers everywhere

Torre Pendenti (leaning towers) belonging to two families in the middle ages

another tower pops up

gothic windows of Palazzo Communale

Palazzo Communale, with statue of Pope Gregory X111 between the flags. Palazzo was built during varying periods from 13-15th century. you can see the different styles easily here. left side 13thc, right 15thc.

 one courtyard inside palazzo comunale

Neptune fountain by a flemish sculptor in the 16th century

Palazzo di Re Enzo (king enzo's palace), 13th century

 ceiling of  the sala da Borsa (old stock exchange building) inside the  Palazzo d'Accursio. Palazzo stood over Etruscan, Roman, medieval ruins and a garden from the the late 1800's. It has had many lives! in 1880 it became an economic center with the stock exchange taking place there. Now it has become various libraries, all of which looked inviting.

inside the sala da borsa, all art nouveau, was really captivating
 Etruscan, Roman and Medieval ruins under the sala da borsa

back of San Domenico Church

one of the many covered walkways, useful in the rain

Santo  Stefano complex

lovely Romanesque church of San Vitale and St Agricola (8-10th centuries) inside complex of Santo Stefano

one of the interior courtyards in the santo stefano complex, called Pilate's courtyard built in 11-12 Centuries

one of the many byzantine pieces scattered about the complex

gothic windows on the side of San Petronius

sunset over the palazzo comunale and the palazzo dei notari (notaries palace)

wonderful 15thC terra cotta sculpture group of the crucifixtion in Santa Maria della Vita  church

Joseph of Arimethea with his wonderfully pleated coat

 a screaming Mary Magdalen

main piazza at dark, was very pretty

main piazza

inside church of San Petronius which had lovely, gothic features and a fabulously, 15th C frescoed chapel of the magi on one side, and last judgment (inferno and paradise) on other side. in great condition and well worth seeing. we tried 3 times before we got in due to one excuse or another from the church guards! Glad we persisted.

fun buildings everywhere with covered arcades

a sunny Sunday morning

lovely  rennaissance quadriportico of Santo Maria dei Servi

"Maesta" painting 1285 in church, somewhat hidden in back behind the altar

another wonderful 13 century fresco by a local in the church

inside Santa Maria dei Servi

facade of San Maria dei Servi

the 4 travelers

 After Santa Maria we headed across the street to the museum of  Industrial Arts also called the Galleria Bargellini which was housed in a 16th century palace. great art nouveau sign in the museum

museum was full of incredible items, case full of keyhold covers. the collection belonged to the Bargellini family and it was like touring their attic filled with treasures from the 14-18th centuries.

cases full of door knockers

terra cotta statue of, probably, an ancestor 

St Matthew

an 18th century doll house
a frescoed corridor on our walk after Sunday lunch

lovely architectural details on the side of San Petronius

Scala dei cavalli (horse carriage stairwell) in palazzo Comunale

wooden intarsia by Sergio Govoni (Sergov)  of Santa Maria dei Servi. Made ENTIRELY of small wooden pieces.  he was a local boy who worked in the 1960's and on. he died a few years ago. we squeezed his exhibit in after lunch before our train back to Rome. There had been a lovely wooden intarsia in the Bargellini museum and the caretaker informed us of this exhibit taking place. Glad we could fit it in. Was amazing.

 leaning towers intarsia by Sergov. He did  intarsias of all the main bolognese sights 

salumeria intarsio, he loved doing pictures of local trades
Fast train (just a bit less than 2 hrs from Rome) on Saturday morning to Bologna for an overnight visit. We had tickets to see the much talked about Vermeer exhibit. Exhibit turned out to not be a highlight, as it was not organized well with small cramped rooms overloaded with people. There were only two Vermeers, both lovely and some other very pretty paintings, plus we had just seen the Vermeer exhibit in Rome which actually had 5 paintings! The Palazzo Fava which hosted the exhibit had ceilings and upper walls frescoed by the Caracci brothers which were beautiful. We were also in Bologna to help our friend celebrate his 60th birthday. We found lots of other churches, architectural sights and museums to keep us going and needless to say we had 3 wonderful meals. Lots to see and do in a lovely city which is generally not on the tourist path. It is well worth a visit or two or three. We had been once before about 20 years ago, glad we found a reason to return.