Thursday, 13 February 2014


A miracle


A colourful plaque on a house in Calla de Virgen de Villavana at Morella in Spain depicts a prodigious miracle which is said to have happened at the house in 1414.   San Vicente Ferrer is said to have resurrected a child who had been chopped up by its mother and stewed because she could find nothing else fit for the saint to eat.




Salvador Dali house


 This amazing building at Figueres in Spain, now a museum,  was the home of the great Surrealist artist Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989). who was born in Figueres.

Sagrada Familia

The name Antonio Gaudi is synonymous with Barcelona in  Spain and evidence of his architectural genius is apparent everywhere.not least at the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's most emblematic work. A symbol of Barcelona all over the world, this church is the greatest example of the man's genius and probably the greatest curiosity in the city. Born in  1852, Gaudi obtained his degree in architecture at the age of 26 and soon became the visionary genius of art nouveau. The Church of the Holy Family had been under construction since 1882 under the direction of architect Francisco del Villar who began the crypt in neo classical style. Gaudi took over in 1883 before the crypt was finished and changed the whole project using complex symbolism whilst providing a visual explanation of the mysteries of faith. Since Gaudi's death in 1926, building work has been erratic and controversial but continues as and when funds are available.

Donkey taxi


The amazing village of Guadalest near Benidorm in Spain is built literally into the rocks at the top of a mountain, a place where it is impossible to drive a motor car.  It is very popular with tourists who are dropped off from their coaches on a car park way below the village itself, where they are left to walk up the steep paths and steps to reach the village.  All is not lost however because it is possible to get a taxi, but it would have to be one of the licensed ‘donkey taxis’ which ply for hire.

Silent Night Chapel


The little Austrian town of Oberndorf is situated on a sharp bend of the Salzach River, downstream from Salzburg.  At this place is a tiny memorial chapel dedicated to Joseph Mohr, a curate, and Franz Xaver Gruber, a music teacher, who created the world famous song ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’.

The idea for the song came from Mohr and his idea was to write a song for midnight mass on Christmas Eve.   In 1818 he wrote the lines and his close friend Gruber wrote the melody and it was heard for the first time in the parish church of St Nikolaus in Obersdorf.   The rest is history.

In 1899 the church was demolished as a result of flood damage and the Mohr and Gruber Memorial Chapel stands in its place.

Both men are depicted in stained glass inside the chapel.

The castle guard
The  very fine castle which dominates the town of Thun near to Bern in Switzerland was undoubtedly once heavily fortified.   Now it is merely an great tourist attraction.
The only guards to be seen now are the flock of geese kept in  a small compound alongside the hugs walls.  They are said to be the finest possible early warning system.

The Barbary Apes


The apes on the Rock of Gibraltar are a great tourist attraction, particularly when they are being fed by the army sergeant who is the Official Keeper of the Apes.   It is not known how they came to be on the Rock but they have certainly lived there in considerable numbers since at least the 18th century when the British took possession of the territory.

It is said that if the apes should ever leave the Rock, then so will the English.  Winston Churchill himself ordered that their number should never fall below 35.


Unexploded bomb


Malta, the George Cross island, is well known for its wartime exploits.   In 1942 a 1000lb German bomb penetrated the dome of the church in Mosta but fortunately if failed to explode, otherwise this beautiful church would have been severely damaged.   The bomb is still preserved and on display inside the church.


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