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Island State-of-Mind

When your visit to a tropical island is extended, you develop an island state-of-mind. You wear flip flops from morn till bedtime, your shades are comfortably resting on your head on the ready, lunch of seafood on the beach is frequent and your hat is in the bag. But the hat has now been replaced with an umbrella as monsoon season is upon us bringing afternoon showers with it.
This is my view while eating lunch. My favorite here is the grilled tanigue fish and the Hawaiian pizza. When it rains, the island is shrouded in mist. So I go again to the Wayfarer when the forecast calls for a clear and sunny day.
The sweetest mangoes are from the island of Guimaras. And I was lucky to have received a few during the month of June when the market was flooded with mangoes.
Driving around the coastal towns is my favorite pastime. The coves of Ivisan are so picturesque. And there’s dried fish to buy along the road.
Basiao Beach In Capiz, everyday is beach day!
Here’s where I go during the Black Friday f…
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Excerpts from The Prisoner of Chillon

Chateau de Chillon There are seven pillars of Gothic mould, 
In Chillon's dungeons deep and old,  There are seven columns, massy and grey,  Dim with a dull imprison'd ray,  A sunbeam which hath lost its way,  And through the crevice and the cleft  Of the thick wall is fallen and left;  Creeping o'er the floor so damp,  Like a marsh's meteor lamp:  And in each pillar there is a ring,  And in each ring there is a chain;  That iron is a cankering thing,  For in these limbs its teeth remain,  With marks that will not wear away, 
Lake Leman Lake Leman lies by Chillon's walls:  A thousand feet in depth below  Its massy waters meet and flow;  Thus much the fathom-line was sent  From Chillon's snow-white battlement,  Which round about the wave inthralls:  A double dungeon wall and wave  Have made—and like a living grave  Below the surface of the lake  The dark vault lies wherein we lay:  We heard it ripple night and day;  Sounding o'er our heads it knock'd;  And I have felt the winter'…

Ulrich Zwingli at Eye Level

“I ask Christ for this one thing only, that he will enable me to endure all things courageously, and that he break me as a potter’s vessel or make me strong, as it pleases him.” Ulrich Zwingli
For the 500th anniversary of Swiss reformation leader, Huldrych (Ulrich) Zwingli, fifteen plastic statues of him were cast from the model of the bronze original found on the Wasserkirche (Water Church). One of these statues was included at a festival parade in Zürich and twelve of them were installed in each of the twelve districts of the city. Both the main train station and the airport each had a statue on display as well. Ten of these Zwingli figures were later moved to the Limmatquai to stand under the shadow of the Grossmünster Church overlooking the river. According to Christoph Sigrist, pastor of Grossmünster, the goal of the celebration is to bring Zwingli to the people, at eye level, thereby inviting dialogue and spreading the reach of the Church beyond its walls.
The eco-Zwingli in mirro…

Naantali, the Sunshine Town

The steeple of Naantali Church rises above the harbor and is the first thing you see on approach to the popular summer destination of Finland. It is the only remaining building from the convent of the Bridgittine Sisters built after the building permit was signed in 1443. The establishment of the Vallis Gratiae (Valley of Grace) convent coincides with the founding of Naantali. Both convent and town prospered from trading rights and privileges until the 1500s when Protestantism was introduced and adopted in Finland and the convent was closed. Naantali’s fortunes suffered with the closure and it was soon forgotten.

The discovery of therapeutic waters of Viluluoto Spring in Naantali in the 1700s helped the town get back on its feet with the initiation of spa activities. This was further developed in 1863 and established Naantali as a spa destination. Today, Moomin World Theme Park in Kailo draws the most visitors to Naantali. Children have the most fun meeting their favorite Moomin family…

Highlights from the Stedelijk Museum

Marc Chagall, Self Portrait with 7 Fingers, 1912-1913. Oil on canvas.      The Stedelijk Museum is one of the leading modern and contemporary art museums in the world. Since its inception in 1874, the Stedelijk’s collection has steadily grown and evolved. A new wing completed in 2012 added another 10,000 square meters of space which the museum needed to display its vast and distinguished collection.
     The museum also has an impressive number of forty Marc Chagall paintings, six of which it owns and three are on extended loan from the State. These nine paintings span a period of 35 years and provides a comprehensive look at Chagall’s works over three and a half decades. The Marc Chagall Research Project was undertaken by the museum to study the technique and materials used by the artist and the state of conservation of the paintings. The research found, among other things, that Chagall painted with tiny brushes at a fast pace, used pigments like cadmium yellow and cobalt blue which we…

Seoul Traditions

The Gyeongbokgung Palace complex covers a staggering 4.4 million square feet. There are over 330 hundred structures in the compound and to see everything properly will require at least a couple of visits. The National Folk Museum of Korea is also within the palace grounds and its displays of historical domestic and agricultural artifacts are worth a visit. 
Heungnyemun Gate is one of three entrances to Gyeongbok Palace. Gyeongbok was the main residence of the Joseon Dynasty from the 14th century until it was razed by fire in the 16th century and left abandoned for more than two and a half centuries. It was reconstructed in 1867 only to be demolished during the Japanese occupation and the Korean War. A 40-year restoration project of the palace was initiated in 1989 by the government. 
Geunjeongjeon is the Imperial Throne Room and one of a handful structures that survived from the 19th century. Geunjeongjeon means “diligence helps governance”. Behind the throne is a screen painted with th…

Nice la Belle

Promenade des Anglais Though I had been to Nice several times in the past, I saw a different Nice in 2019. Gone were the familiar scenes with the exception of the Promenade des Anglais and the pebbly beach. How these people in the photo embrace the sea! For there lies the key to relaxation and a “happier, healthier, more connected” * mind. *Blue Mind, Wallace J. Nichols.
Basilica Notre Dame de Nice It was a sad day when the Notre Dame de Paris burned down in April 2019. I remember attending a special prayer at the Notre Dame de Nice on Avenue Jean Médecin when all of France was mourning after the devastating fire that consumed the spire and roof of the 800-year old Gothic icon of Paris. 
House of Adam and Eve Bas-reliefs of Adam and Eve in the old town of Nice was a surprising find. This former private residence dates back to the late 16th century and the reliefs are said to be of Adam and Eve. But there’s another story about these reliefs that attributes the figures to a quarrelsome coupl…

Budget Friendly Lodging Options

A Room with a View When I was in my 20s, I had the opportunity to stay at one of the dorms in the University of Paris for $15/day. That was quite an experience deserving a full narrative! I also stayed at a student dorm in Switzerland where I had my own room overlooking a garden courtyard and a refrigerator space in the kitchen. Until one morning when I went to take a shower and found a man in his briefs showing off his diminutive frame to all the guests who happened to pass by the shower rooms. So much for exhibitionists! 

Over the years, I’ve found and stayed at more refined lodgings without emptying my travel wallet all too quickly. Many of these places are in Europe and run by religious orders like the Brigidine sisters. The room rates at some of these guest houses start around €35,00 depending on the period of stay and the location. The rooms are simple but have comfortable beds and usually have their own private bathroom. They are always kept clean. The only drawback for some trav…