Old and New

Bangkok Towers

There are some interesting contrasts of old and new everywhere, so we are taking a look at a few of them.... just for fun.  For instance, this is Bangkok, Thailand where the new buildings in the background are in contrast to a part of the (Temple of Dawn) Wat Arun.

The temple was present in the Ayutthaya era according to a French map of Thonburi (the capital of Siam from 1768–1782) but there were architectural additions during the Rama II-period (1809-1824) in late-period Ayutthaya style. 

Winter Blues

Vilnius Skyline

Here we are a little past the middle of the winter season (in the northern hemisphere), and its just about the time some of us get a little too anxious for spring. Combine that with a lack of sunshine and you can find yourself with a case of the "winter blues."  This winter the blues have been staved off for us by enjoying the Olympics with friends.

We love the the colors of winter and the glistening ice and snow, and are reminded that winter has been described as being the warmest season.  Picturesque blankets of snow, warm wooly mittens, wrap-around scarves, and hats with ear-flaps warm in our imaginations, if not in deed. We love cozy nights with fires burning in fireplaces and candles in window sills, and there is nothing like being under a warm comforter with a book or newspaper in hand and hot chocolate at your side.

With those descriptions in mind, we hope you will enjoy our style of "Winter Blues" and are enjoying this once every four years, winter spectacle that is happening in a relatively warm, Sochi, Russia.

The Indescribable Something

Woman In The Light

"For the last three years I motored many miles through Europe. After traveling all day, I would arrive at my destination to see a church, a cathedral, a town hall, a scrap of Roman wall or viaduct, a colosseum or an ancient theatre. It was always a piece of architecture that suddenly dissipated the obscurity of time and brought the living presence back of all ages. It is in the stones and wood that the personal record of man comes down to us. We call it atmosphere, this indescribable something that still haunts old monuments. You can read history, you can visit a hundred museums containing their handiwork, but nothing can reincarnate their spirit except to walk through rooms in which they have lived and through the scenes that were the background of their lives. It is a marvelous thing, this expression of human ideals in walls and windows."
 (John Hays Hammond, Jr., Unpublished letter, 1929)

Home for the Holidays

 Frozen Prinsengracht

 Frozen Prinsengracht
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

It's Christmastime again and we are thinking of our family and friends all over the world, and in so doing we realized that we have called many different places "home".  We have warm memories and feelings about those places and understand that home is often where you hang your hat, and even more.... home is where your heart is.

There is no rule about leaving family or friends "behind" anymore as we move forward in our lives, in these days of modern technology, we visit over Skype or telephone, text, or email.  We find ourselves passing through a city we have once called home and pick up with our friends where we left off, as if we have only been gone a short while.  We can stay connected over time and space and still call each place "home" because our hearts are with those we love in those cities.

We hope each of you are able to connect with your family and friends during this holiday season and all through the year, and we also wish you peace, joy and love.

Urban Hallmarks

 Red Square Sunrise

Red Square Sunrise
Moscow, Russia

~ An Urban Landmark Building ~

There are identifying markers that are hallmarks of urban areas, many of which we recognize so readily we know the name of the marker and where that marker is.

Years ago there used to be a computer game called "Cesare" where the object was to "build Rome".  It started off very elementary with building a hut and a farm for food, then there had to be a market to distribute food, a prefect for watching over the little houses... eventually adding (in proper order) a "fire department" and forum, a Senate building and Colosseum and Circus Maximus, Theaters, Temples, Forums, Baths, Barbers, Hospitals, and Tax Collectors, etc......... and all had to be built with enough housing for workers, provisions, and money(denarius) or there would be strikes, fires, famine, plague, poverty and unrest. Those little itty-bitty Plebs would start shaking their fists at you.  The whole city could burn down and you would receive notice that you are fired from your job and ordered to slink off in defeat.  That's what gave us the idea to do this post... remembering how Rome was built, and observing that the basics still apply over 2,700 years later.