Category Other Cities
You have to be kind of a good sport about riding camels, because they are awkward beasts, and you can tell that they don’t particularly want to do much but sit around. You mount the camel while it’s sitting with its legs folded under it. The camel driver then whacks its knees with a switch, and with several put-upon grunts, the camel rises to its back legs first, pitching you precariously forward, then to its front legs, daring you to have overcorrected your balance.
I’d like to post some pictures of the parish church of Tlacolula, or specifically the 17th century chapel attached to the bigger, later church. It is called the Capilla del Señor del Tlacolula, and it is a great example of the colonial Mexican baroque style.
Back in Oaxaca de Juarez, there is another church, Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman, that exhibits very similar Mexican Baroque. However, it is on a much bigger scale.
We stayed in Antigua, which is a beautiful old town that was abandoned for what’s now Guatemala City after a devastating 18th century earthquake. That abandonment proved something of a boon for historians, preservationists, architecture fans, and tourists, because quite a lot of what was there before still remains. People have since moved back, but the modern capital still dwarfs Antigua.
Earlier this year, Michelle and I were fortunate enough to have had time to check out Guatemala. We spent most of our time in Antigua, about which I’ll post more later, but one of the highlights was a weekend trip out to Lake Atitlan. Its volcanoes, along with the clear, deep, blue waters and little shore villages, many of which are accessible only by boat, make Lake Atitlan one of the most picturesque places in the world, much less just Guatemala. And it makes for a great place to take some photos.
Traveling as a lifestyle affords plenty of opportunities otherwise unavailable, but maybe not as much as the simple power of “yes.” As an introvert, I would tend to accept quiet nights in without much fuss. As someone married to an extrovert, I hardly get the opportunity. But this time, saying “yes” to a pub crawl in Bucharest, Romania led us to an abandoned cable car station on top of a mountain in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Just after the turn of the 18th century, however, another church was built here: the present Peterskirche. It was begun in 1701 and consecrated in 1733. It was the first domed structure in Vienna, and its towers are said to have been inspired by the tents of the Turks during the siege just a few years earlier.
We didn’t mean to visit Santa Maria, or Our Lady in Trastevere, when we did; we were just looking for good food in the Trastevere (“across the Tiber”) neighborhood. Eventually we would have found our way to it, but hungry as we were when we walked by, I simply couldn’t help myself. I had to go in.
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, one of those mysterious eastern European countries that we typically associate with vaguely Russian accents, lots of potatoes, and that charming style of Soviet architecture that I like to call “cell block chic.”
No visit to Riga, Latvia is complete without a visit to the sprawling Central Market, a melange of fresh foods and handmade goods that fills out not one, but five, “upcycled” German zeppelin hangars and bulges out onto the surrounding streets and waterfront. It is so substantial that it has been called Europe’s largest market and bazaar; I have no square-footage facts to back that up, but I have no real problem believing it after having seen it.
Estonia went from a backwater basket case to a modern EU country, a NATO member, and a driver of digital innovation that punches well above its weight in the world economy in just twenty years. That’s remarkable.