Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Beauty of Fatima, Portugal

                                     Our  Lady  of  Fatima

                Our Lady of Fatima was a name given to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
                   Three shepherd children reported seeing apparitions of  the 
                       Blessed Mary on the 13th day of the month for six consecutive 
                         months in 1917.   Three secrets were revealed to these
                                          visionaries during the six months.

The beautiful arches of the Basilica 
Construction began in 1928 and was consecrated in October 1953.
Basilica of Fatima
This shrine attracts 1 million followers from May 13 to October 13 each year.

                                     The inside of the sanctuary is peaceful where you can
                                                              sit in silence and pray.

                                 A place for people who seek healing to meditate and pray.  
                             Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  John 14:27

Thousands of people come from around the world to Fatima.
Over 1 million during the 6 months of May to October

                                                   Lucia dos Santos with her 2 cousins 
                                                        Francisco and Jacinta Marto
            These poor Shepard children reported the apparitions of the Blessed Mary over a 
     6 month period  in 1917 . The 3 secrets were revealed to them about the world.

                                               Newspaper articles published in 1917

                                                   All 3 are buried inside the basilica 

Jacinta and Francisco died when they were children.
Lucia became a nun and lived a very long life of service.
Sister Lucia 
She became a recluse in 1948. She served under the order of the Carmelite Sisters.
Loucia dos Santos died February 13, 2005 at the age of 97

                                                          Sanctuary of Fatima                             
                                                     Candles and incense are lit 

                                                Prayers are offered up by the believers
Chapel of Apparitions was built where the 3 children saw  the 
apparitions at Fatima.
Believers actually crawl on their knees to reach this area of prayer and healing.

One of the stones in the crown of  the Blessed Mary is the actual bullet 
removed from Pope John Paul II
      in May 1981, during an assassination attempt that critically wounded him.

I submitted 2 pages of prayer request given to me by  my friends and family from the
United States to
Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. The beauty of this is you do not have to be Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Buddhist, Hindu or any other formal religion to make your prayer request. 

You just have to believe in miracles.

Fatima,   my Belles Choses, my beautiful things

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Beauty of Ronda, Spain

                                             Ronda, Spain

             A beautiful city atop an Andalusian mountain slightly north
                                  of Spain's Mediterranean coast.
Ronda, in Spanish, pronounced Rhonda.   Population 35,000.
This magical prehistoric settlement dates to the Neolithic Age.   
Ronda is a very peaceful city that you can relax or explore.

Majestic Ronda.   
The fabulous Parador Hotel sits atop the hill, it was once the Ronda Town Hall.  The La Ronda Bullring in the distance and the Tajo Gorge below.

                                                      The New City of Ronda
                                  Ronda has a mixture of old and new architecture in the city

                                                 Ronda,  "Old Town"  a city  at  Sunset  

                                         Black & white drawing of the  city of Ronda

The city can be traveled to by train from Madrid. You can travel by bus or car from Costa del Sol Resorts, from the coast of southern Spain. Be prepared for a lengthy and curvaceous ride though the mountains before you reach the city of Ronda.

                                                     Quaint street in Old Town Ronda                                              

                                       A Horseman riding down the rocky streets of Ronda.
                            Horses have played an integral part in rural life for centuries.

                                      Spanish are known for their skill in ceramics.
                                Making ceramics  is a tradition in Ronda. Factories
                         and potteries make these exquisite pieces. Many woman go to   
                            Trade School to continue to learn and practice this art. 
                              The ceramic tradition has led to a  "white glazing."
                      Ceramic shops can be found throughout Ronda and Spain. 

                                              La Ronda Bull Ring above the Tajo Gorge

                                                           Interior of the Bull Ring

PLAZA de toros de Ronda  - Ronda Bull Ring
This Neoclassical style building is one of the largest and oldest in Spain
It was inaugurated in May 1785 and has a capacity for 6,000 people.
A Bull fight held in September but visitors can visit the ring year round.
 It is an amazing place to see.

                                                              Piletas's Cave   
           A short distance from Ronda is  La Pileta Cave. It was discovered in 1905.   

                                                            The pregnant mare
  This cave contains some important cave painting which include horses, goats and fish. 
The caves were a place to live and a place to be buried.                                     
                                                                  Puente Nuevo     
                              An incredible bridge over the Tajo Gorge, finished in 1793.

                                    A view from Puente Nuevo from El-Tajo-Gorge
            The weather has a tendency to change very quickly in this mountainous region.

                               Such a beautiful memory of this absolutley intriguing city.
                                             my Belles Choses, "my Beautiful Things"

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Beauty of Tokyo, Japan

                              Geisha wears a beautiful colorful Kimono (Japanese robe)

                                                                Tokyo, Japan
                              Tokyo is the capital of Japan. It is the largest metropolitan
                            area of Japan and the world.

                                              Tokyo is rich in culture and tradition
                                          A group of Japanese women out shopping

                                                                       Tokyo, Japan
                                        The city as seen from the top of the Tokyo Tower

                                                                   Tokyo  Tower
                                 The tower is an icon for Japan.  It is primarily a TV antenna 
                             tower that is  styled like the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  There is an 
                            observation deck that provides views over the Tokyo Bay Area.

                                                        A busy day in the city of Tokyo

                                                             The  city at night   
                                Not only does Tokyo offer night clubs and geisha bars 
                                              but the  New National Theater.
                                   This theater offers opera, ballet, dance and plays.
                                                       The New National Theater               

                                                 A day on the sightseeing tour through
                                                             the streets of Tokyo. 

                                                             Imperial Palace
                                                         Moat, wall and turret

                                                  Imperial Palace East Garden Lake

                                               Imperial Palace  Nijubashi  Bridge

                                                                    Meiji Jingh Shrine    
         The central scantuary where the Meiji emperor is enshrined.   Meiji Jingu Shrine
        is dedicated to the souls of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken.  
       The Shrine was built in a garden area where they both visited before their deaths 
       in 1912 and 1914.
                The shrine was built in Nagarezukuri style. It is mainly constructed of Japanese cypress, which is considered the best timber in Japan.
The shrine gardens consist of two areas.  The Naaien, the inner garden. The Gainen, the garden with the Picture Gallery which houses 80 large murals.  Meiji Memoral Hall today is used for Shinto weddings.

                                                           Shinto Wedding Procession
                                                 Shinto Japanese Wedding Party                                    


                                                      The  Wedding  Couple
                                                  Wedding  guest in  beautiful  Kimonos      

                                         Trainee Geisha walking on the street in Kyoto     
       Geisha means "performing artist."  A professional who entertains and a social
           companion who is skilled in the art of conversation, dance, music, literature and 
             tea ceremony. Traced back to female enterainers in the 18 century Japan. 
                 In the 1920s and 30s it was estimated that there were  80,000 geisha. Today  
                        estimates are between  1,000 and 10,000 women.   In Kyoto, girls often 
               begin their geisha training at a young age by joining an okiya or geisha house.  
                     There are 3 stages of training: shikomi, minarai and maiko.
                             During the shikomi stage the girl serves as a house maid. After 
                       passing an intense dance exam the girl will become minarai and will 
                         no longer do chores but be trained in the skills of light conversation.  
                            When the girl becomes maiko she will apprentice with a geisha.  
                           A professional Geisha may charge full price to attend 
                                                          parties  or engagements. 
                     Advertisement  for Geisha Makeup  Service in  Kyoto

                                           Meiji Jingh Shrine Maidens 
        The 175 acre  forest has 120,000 evergreen trees blocking the city noise of Tokyo.

                                                          Shrine Maiden alone  

                                                      Priests on the way to the Shrine   

                                                   Priest  Buddasenso-ji-temple 
                                                          Ginza Shopping District
                                  The Ginza Shopping District is a chic area of Tokyo with
                       theaters, night clubs, art galleries, exclusive stores, and restaurants.
                                                        The  Kabukiza Theater       
                            This is a traditional Kabukiza theater with performaces daily
                                                      in the Ginza Shopping District.          

                                                       Japanese  Baseball Dome        
                            The Dome opened in 1988 and has a capacity for 55,000 

                                        Yakyu, is Japanese for baseball.  It was introduced from
                        the United States during the early Meiji Period (1868 - 1912).
                                                 The Japanese  team is Yomiuri  Giants

                                                                          Dome City

                                                       The Bullet Train Day Trip 

                                          The Bullet Train can reach a speed of 138 mph       
                                             This is a great way to travel to Mt Fuji.

                                                                  Mt. Fuji  
                                   This snow capped mountain is a well known symbol of Japan.
                           It is an active volcano which last erupted in 1707 -08.  Mt. Fuji is
                                           the highest mountain in Japan,  12,389 feet.
                                                                   Mt. Fuji    covered in clouds           
                                                      Sky Ride Station  at  Mt. Fuji

                                     Clouds rolling in on Mt. Fuji  made visibility difficult

                                               Hakone Komagatake Ropeway   
                                                  Lake Ashi to Mt. Komagatake   

                                             Hakone Ryuguden Hotel  Lake Ashi           

                                                   Lake  Ashi  Hakone  Map

                                             Lake Ashi is a tourist destination
                                                                  Small boats on the lake    
                                                Lake Ashi sightseeing trip by pirate ship    
                                            Magnificent views of Ashi Lake by boat cruise 

                      A beautiful day on the Ashi Lake by boat near Mt. Fuji

                                         A wonderful day with beautiful memories.

                                            my "belles choses"   my beautiful things
                                                      Beautiful  Tokyo, Japan