Friday, 30 January 2015

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Looking Inside Trakai Island Castle

The exterior brick of Trakai is impressive, but how about the interiors? Can you fantasize about being part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, way back when?

Tourists, reading and capturing everything.

Period furniture and tapestries to set the mood.

Life-sized diorama, to help your imagination. Gold! Robes! Grand facial hair!

Two more scenes, strong colors to liven up the long winter.
Bearded log man, a happy souvenir found outside a nearby shop. "Good day to you!"

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Winter At Trakai Island Castle

Open any calendar or tour guide for Lithuania and you'll run across a picture of Trakai castle. It's easy to see why. Trakai is an elegant brick structure situated on its own island within lake Galve. Think of it like Japan's Golden Pavilion Temple, in being photo-ready.

Trakai in winter. The castle dates to the 14th century.

Inside the compound and a look at the Ducal Palace, reached by a drawbridge.

The moat, now dry.

View from the compound to the lake. Ducal Palace courtyard.

The mighty outer wall and corner tower.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Savoring Winter Sun In Lithuania

Our winter hasn't been more extreme than that of most US snow belt cities. Not much cold, perhaps less snow. Seeing sun is another matter. Between short days and socked in gray skies, bright sun is rarer than snow falling.

When the sun shows, it seems to glow. Out commuting.

Extended bus and visiting a kiosk.

Looking like a star boarded a bus.

More commuting and temporary winter entrance to a clothing store.

Waiting for buses.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Winter In Lithuania

So many places we've been, so little space on the blog. Not true! Due to an ever-increasing inventory of fabulous blog items, Hello Talalay is going to a Monday-Friday, five-posts-a-week rotation. Enjoy (dread?) the increased onslaught.

We were teased with a few cold snaps and snow dustings, until winter showed up around the first of the year. Finally, Vilnius as a snow-covered winter wonderland. OK, maybe drop wonderland.

Vilnius, wearing her winter coat.

Blowing snow, settling snow.

The main Old Town square, looking wintery.

Nearly empty places.

The ice skating rink is open.

The Skoda Yeti, named for this season. Soon enough, mush to jump through.

Getting a little sledding in.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Getting Mighty Crowded In Rome

Go to Rome. See the sites. Just be prepared to see the sites with many other people. Many, many, many other people.

Head to the Spanish Steps. Just don't expect to climb them, now renamed the Spanish Seats.

Plenty of fine paintings to see in the churches in Rome. And plenty of people. It's amazing, no surface left un-photographed.

The huge Colosseum, crowded.

Trevi fountain, rumored to still contain water. Snapping pics, an extreme sport, passed down from mother to daughter.

St. Peter's, everything to see here, especially the waves of people. Click!

Thank you, Rome, you've been a great host. But our space has been bumped, and it's time to head back to Lithuania and see how the winter's going.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

Right around the corner from the Pantheon and near the Piazza Navona is the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. There are plenty of fancy churches throughout Rome. What makes this one special are a few Caravaggios tucked into a corner chapel.

Outside, an inviting church.

Inside, the usual baroque bounty that's so common in Rome.

What draws the crowds: the three Caravaggios.

The paintings depict scenes from Saint Matthew's life - the calling, inspiration and martyrdom. No matter what the subject, the paintings are an amazing combination of composition, heightened emotion and a masterful play of chiaroscuro.

Monday, 19 January 2015

The Details Of Rome

You want the base of an ancient column? Close up of an arch? Maybe a look at a pizza slice? Let's see if there are other details in Rome.

How about a simple room with curtains? Are they curtains?

A nun, letting it rip on the organ. Ancient and modern, happily co-existing in a back courtyard.

Taking out the trash and marching in high fashion. Just another moment in Rome.

Hallways and rooms, never left un-embelished.

Small garage. Tiny car.

Doorways to mysteries.

Re-packing a bag.