Hometown Team

BWB8 (personal photo)

the hometown team
returns to a media blizzard
an icy reception
but underneath it all
little hands clamor for attention

Preparing to Fly πŸ‘

After the heat and sunny skies of Italy we have been treated to grey skies and rain in Holland. We dressed in traditional Dutch costumes and tasted cheese in the historic town of Volendam. Despite rain we visited the village of Marken and toured a wooden shoe “factory” where we saw traditional wooden shoes as well as many other styles including pink high heel wooden shoes. We listened to classical music in a stone arch passageway in Amsterdam- violins, accordion and trombone sounded like a full orchestra as notes of Handel’s Messiah soared around us. We admired Rembrandt’s Night Watch in the Rijk’s Museum then walked amid life size replicas of the characters of the painting at Rembrandt Plaza. Along with hundreds of others we rode bicycles along the city canals and through Vondel Park. After walking around for awhile we were thrilled we were able to find our bikes among thousands of others!
I have learned from travel that everywhere you go it becomes a part of you in some way – it is impossible to return the same person you were when you leftπŸ˜„

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

20170608_181416(Sagrada Familia dominates Barcelona’s skyline)

Sagrada Familia is a Catholic basilica in Barcelona. Construction began in 1882. In 1883 Antoni Gaudi became involved and made it his life’s passion. It was only one quarter complete when he died in 1926. Construction of the basilica relies solely on donations. It is hoped construction will be complete in 2026 – one hundred years after Gaudi’s death.
Sagrada Familia is unlike any of the churches we have seen on our travels and seems to defy description. Eyes feast on a buffet of sights that soar, colours that shade dark to light as they rise to the heavens, facades that carve Christian messages in their towers. Astonish, amaze, admire – wow!DSC01370
(Gaudi’s tomb in a crypt beneath Sagrada Familia)
DSC01366(west facade)
DSC01346(east facade)

Montserrat Monastery

P1010346Montserrat is a Benedictine monastery near Barcelona. It houses a Black Madonna statue that dates to the 12th century. The figure is above the altar in the basilica of the monastery. In her honour Gregorian chants are sung daily at noon. Many tourists travel here only to see the statue. The Black Madonna is the patron saint of Catalonia.

Writing Japan

toriiofshannoshrine

(internet photo: Torii of Shanno Shrine in Nagasaki after atomic bomb was dropped on August 9, 1945. It was the only thing that withstood the explosion in the area)
A friend challenged me to write a poem about Japan; this is what I came up with.

Japan is a tsunami,
a world of samurai and sumo
ikebana and kamikaze.
The land of the rising sun
graces us with cherry blossoms
and temples that flow
from a calligraphy brush.

Earthquakes reverberate
half a world away,
carry strength
to the west,
remnants of people’s live
swept out to sea.

A crewless “ghost ship”
sails to Haida Gwaii.
While we sip exotic tea
and inspect wreckage,
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
disturb us with grace,
slowly dissolving.

Japan is a sculptured garden,
glass and sleek steel
arranged with precision
next to paper walled teahouses,
Mount Fuji an elegant backdrop
to bullet trains that shuttle
honorable tradition
into a unpruned future.