Church

Duomo di Siena

Siena’sDuomo was constructed from 1136 to 1382. Is a late Gothic church with early Renaissance painting and Baroque design. Early architects used striking Romanesque stripes but the form of the church is one of the best Gothic styles in Italy.

Originally designed to be the largest church in Christendom, The plan had to be altered because the plague of 1348 virtually halved the city’s population.

There are many masterpieces in the church including some from Donatello and Michelangelo. Other buildings include the Baptistry, the Museo Dell’Opera Metropolitano, and the Santa Maria della Scala hospital across the Square, where are 1440s frescoes in the wards depict a series of fascinating medieval hospital scenes.

The Campanile (tower) was added in 1313. The pulpit panels were carved by Nicola Paisano and 1265. And the extraordinary frescoes in the Piccolomini Library portray the life of Pope Pius II.

Firenze Santissia Annunziata

This church was founded in 1250 as the Holy Annunciation. It was rebuilt between 1444 and 1481. It’s atrium contains frescoes by the Mannerist artists Rosso Fiorentino, Andrea del Sarto, and Jacopo Pontormo.

The dark interior of the church has a fresco ceiling completed by Pietro Giambelli in 1669. There is also a shrine painting of the Virgin Mary that was begun by a monk in 1252 but completed by an angel (according to Florentine legend). Newlywed couples visit the shrine to present a bouquet of flowers to the virgin and to pray for a happy marriage. The church is situated on the northern flank of Piazza della Santissima Annunciata, one of the finest Renaissance squares in Florence.

Belfast

Stop #14:

I found Belfast to be the highlight city from our visit.  While the trip was focused primarily on landscapes and scenery, the cities definitely added to the experience.  And after long days of driving, Guinness was welcome in the many pubs each night.  Belfast seems to be one of the up-and-coming destination cities.  It has so much to offer.  I’ll definitely plan a longer visit at some point in the future.

If you love street art (not graffiti), then there is plenty to see (below is a panorama of one of the places I particularly found interesting).

And the pubs are incredibly interesting with some Irish themed whiskey or beer ads in just about every squire inch of the wall (and ceiling) space. Great photo opportunities!

A man I met at the front of the church pointed this out to me. Recognize these from playing cards? They are front and center on the Church of Ireland Cathedral…

Diamonds – Greed

Clubs – Conflict

Hearts – Love

Spades – Toil

Old Mellifont Abbey

Stop #13:
Mellifont Abbey was a Cistercian abbey in County Louth, Ireland. Founded in 1142 had one hundred monks and three hundred lay brothers by 1170. The abbey became the model for other Cistercian abbeys built in Ireland, with its formal style of architecture imported from the abbeys of the same order in France; it was the main abbey in Ireland until its dissolution.

I found a 3-D sketch of the abbey online that I thought was pretty neat:

Kilkenny

Stop #8:

So I thought Kilkenny looked familiar, but I thought it was because I was getting good at recognizing Georgian Architecture! Imagine my surprise when Randy spotted a picture of a red and yellow door that he was sure I also had in an older portfolio. So I now realize that I returned to Kilkenny with Randy after visiting there about 5 years ago while on a work trip!

Budapest, Hungary

Stop #25

This was my second visit to Budapest, with my first visit about 15 or so years ago.  The city is as beautiful as I remember it, but this time it felt like there were a lot more tourists.  I was probably too ambitious about seeing as much as possible in the day and a half that we spent there, clocking just about 22 miles on my iWatch in one day!  But I’ll have great photos to remember this city for the rest of my life, so it was a small price to pay!

There are three additional portfolios for Budapest and the links are below.  I wanted to capture more details of each because I remembered them being some of the most incredibly beautiful places from the last time I visited this city.

Highlights:

  • Hungarian Parliament – this was one of our first stops.  I got pictures just after sunset and during twilight and then returned the next morning for dawn pictures.
  • Buda Castle – now a museum, it is the building you see on the hill with the green dome in all the pictures of the Buda side of Budapest.
  • Fisherman’s Bastion – I visited early morning to beat tourists and then returned with Randy later in the afternoon.
  • Liberty Statue on Gellért Hill – we climbed this hill after I had already been walking around for miles that day, so I was a little pooped at the top.
  • Heroes’ Square in City Park – we caught this during the golden hour!
  • National Theatre
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica – we visited before leaving so I just realized that the photos are still on the memory card in my camera…oops.
  • Széchenyi Chain Bridge – the pretty bridge with the lions on each end.
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