My Virtual Vacation Day 5—Milan Italy

We had hoped in retirement to travel the world. So far we have done a pretty good job with trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and The Czech Republic. However the pandemic has stopped all of that for a while. So while waiting for Africa, Alaska and Scandinavia, our current travel is going to have to be virtual. Today’s stop Milan in Northern Italy. Many bypass this city for Rome or Florence but Milan has its own fascinating history and is the gateway to the beautiful lakes of Tuscany.

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Candidate#3–Canals of Milan

The Girl in The Blue Dress

Milanese Fashion

At Prayer

Never Forget Kristallnacht

November 9, 1938

Americans have some dates burned in their memory. September 11 and December 6 are two notorious dates where Americans were attacked, killed and suffered extreme hardships. It is important as Americans to remember these dates and honor the fallen.

However, as citizens of the world we MUST remember today as well because it is the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Tonight were the first attacks on Jewish homes in Germany. At least 91 Jews were killed in the attacks, and a further 30,000 arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, over 1,000 synagogues were burned and Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged. Millions of others experienced death and torture by the lunatic Hitler.

We must never forget and always honor this day. Things are much better in Europe now for Jewish people that have remained or returned over all these years. However, this year when visiting Italy I saw it was still necessary for soldiers to guard the synagogues.

Synagogue in Milan Italy

Anne Fankhuis Removed By RedBubble

I was notified this week by RedBubble which I used to house my commercial storefront that they had adopted a new policy on sensitive events like the Holocaust and had removed one of my works. I thought at first that they had removed my image of The Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam. It turns out while I have used that image a few times on this blog I had never uploaded it to the commercial site.

They chose to remove this image taken inside the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. It’s not a high quality image. It was taken quickly with a 2 megapixel Canon Camera in 1999. I was still shooting film back then and didn’t take out my gear inside the Anne Frank Museum.

I like it because it was the window she used to stare out of and there are children going to school outside. It made me empathetic with how she must have felt. I appreciate RedBubble’s heightened sense of responsibility because of rising anti semitism in the world but believe they overreached in this case. Please let me know what you think!

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Anne Fankhuis Amsterdam NL

Saint Vitus Cathedral Prague

Saint Vitus Cathedral in Prague Czech Republic is a very important Cathedral in Roman Catholicism. It is located within the Prague Castle Complex which is a collection of ancient buildings dating back to the tenth century. At the time Prague was the seat of The Holy Roman Empire.

It is a be example of Romanesque architecture with awe inspiring stained glass and statues inside and outside the Cathedral.

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Saint Vitus Cathedral

Outside Saint Vitus Cathedral

Saint Vitus Cathedral

Stolen Art at Museum Judenplatz Wien

The Jewish Museum of Vienna is a fascinating and well curated collection. The displays are thoughtful and well presented. Although some sections brought tears to my eyes. Some I viewed with amazement. One area did both.

This is a picture of one part of the 4th floor archive archive. It is filled with all the valuable Torah decorations that the Nazis stole form the European Jews. They burned all the scrolls but kept all the decorations made of gold and silver.

It bears repeating that this picture is only one section. The whole third floor of the museum is filled with other glass cases just like this.

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Stolen Art

Have Harp Will Travel

One of the things I love about traveling in different parts of the world are the variety of street performers.In Prague they have pianos scattered around the city in public places with signs that say play me. In Paris we saw a string quartet. In Germany we saw organ grinders. In San Francisco we saw someone playing the Chapman stick.

Of course guitars, fiddles and singers are common everywhere. However In Puerto Morelos I saw a new one for the first time. We were leaving when we passed this man heading towards the sqaure. Kinda of sorry I didn’t stay around to heard him play.

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Have Harp Will Travel

Iglesia de San Jose Puerto Morelos

About a half and hour south of the Cancún Airport is the town of Puerto Morelos The town has not exploded like Cancún and Playa Del Carmen. It is still a quaint fishing village with boats for hire, street performers and quaint restaurants. There are no huge resorts but many quaint upscale condominiums and tourist hotels along a beautiful beach .

In the center of town is a community Catholic church which reflects the close relationship the people have with the sea and the fishing profession. It is small, quaint and uniquely Mexican

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Jardin Botanico Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin

If you rent a car and drive about 45 minutes south of Cancún you will come to the wonderful little town of Puerto Morales. More on that in the future. Outside of the town off the highway is a hard to find botanical garden Jardin Botanico Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin It is a fascinating visit and stroll through the Jungle.

It is not an easy hike, the ground is quite uneven in spots and you either have to cross a suspension bridge or hike up a steep hill. Well worth it though. There is allegedly a lot of wildlife but we only saw birds. Of course there were some ruins but also examples of how ancient Mayan’s lived. Inexpensive, uncrowded and very unique. Bring bug spray, it is the Jungle!

These grass roof structures were part of family living. There were three or four adjacent to each other. One had a chimney structure where the family cooked and ate, kind of a Mayan great room.Others were used for sleeping and storage. This is how the common people lived. In Tulum and Chichen Itsa you can see the ruins of stone dwellings were the rulers and elite lived.

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Mayan House

Mayan Housing

People of Prague #1

Over the years I have developed my technique for photographing people without looking through the viewfinder. In the 1970’s I first became aware of The Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Although it really has nothing to do with the observer effect it does help to mathematically corroborate that principle. Simply stated the act of observing something changes that thing. I knew when I pointed my camera at people their behavior would change.

I thought to not have people react to me I had to photograph them in a stealth mode. First I employed telephoto lenses but since going digital I have began shooing without looking through the viewfinder. Wasting bits and pixels is a lot different than wasting film. I set the camera to a wide angle and select automatic focus and exposure. I get a lot of crap but then I also get shots like this one which make it all worthwhile. Next a mirror-less camera because people do react to the shutter noise if they are close enough.

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People of Prague #2

People of Prague #2

Child of Prague

We had been touring for a month and the last thing I wanted to see was another European Church. It was our last day in Europe and we had spent about five hours at Prague Castle. I was tired. However my bride of 45 years insisted we had to see The Child of Prague. I had no idea what it even was but have learned Happy Wife, Happy Life so I grudgingly agreed. It is truly one of the most interesting religious artifacts I have ever seen.

The Infant Jesus of Prague or Child of Prague is a 16th-century Roman Catholic wax-coated wooden statue of child Jesus holding a globus cruciger. It is on display at a very small Church of Our Lady Victorious in Malá Strana in Prague. It is very beautiful and difficult to photograph due to all the reflections.

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The Child of Prague

The Child of Prague