WPC Half and Half: Stained glass and wheelchairs

This week’s photo challenge is to share an image that has two clear halves, literally or figuratively.

When visiting my mom in her care home, I went in search of her wheelchair, and in a small rough-bricked alcove, came upon this beautiful stained glass window. I was quite a surprised to see these gorgeous birds presiding over the wheelchairs and walkers parked there.


Wishing you all a really great week. 🙂


Thursday’s Windows #22: The Pink and Blue Church in Costa Rica.

Every Thursday, Dawn of ‘The Day After’ blog, hosts the  ‘Lingering Look at Windows’ challenge. As I posted about the beautiful topiary gardens in Zarcero a few days ago, I decided to show you the windows of the pretty little Iglesia de San Rafael church, which stands just above the Parque Francisco Alvarado. The outside of the church looks to be of brick construction, but is actually made from metal siding.


It was built in 1895, and the stunningly beautiful interior, was painted by Misael Solis, a local, self-taught artist.


The stately columns which line the inside of the church, are painted to look like marble.


The many stained glass windows are so colourful and truly lovely.


Unlike most European churches, these windows are quite plain, with no pictures on them, just gorgeous, luminous coloured glass.


It was a sheer delight to wander around this exquisitely decorated place of worship.


I hope you’ve enjoyed my Thursday’s windows. To see more entries, just pop over to Dawn’s blog.




WPC: Windows of a ‘Heavy Metal’ church.

I’ve decided to take a break from playing piano, in order to do the Weekly Photo Challenge. My fingers are crying out for a rest after pounding out the beat of ‘Tradition’ from Fiddler on the Roof, and ‘There is Nothing Like a Dame’ from South Pacific. When in Costa Rica at the end of last year, we visited the picturesque town of Grecia, known as “the cleanest town in Latin America.” Right next to a beautiful park full of shady trees, is a really interesting church. The ‘Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes’. (Our Lady of Mercy)


This Gothic-style church is constructed of brick-red metal panels, which were fabricated in Belgium and shipped in 1892, as individual slabs to the port city of Limon, from where these heavy loads were transported, first by rail and then by ox wagon, across the rugged terrain from Alajuela to Grecia. After the original church in Grecia was gutted by fire, and its replacement, destroyed in an earthquake in 1888, it was decided to build an indestructible one, hence the fact that this is made entirely from steel.This iconic structure is a deep red hue, and as you can see, is adorned with very cute ‘gingerbread’ trim.


The interior is so elegant, with many windows and 35 metre high ceilings, which make it really bright and airy.


The magnificent hand painted blown glass windows were imported from Milan, Italy in 1911.


I particularly loved this one,


and these make such a lovely backdrop to the wonderful old pipe organ.


I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my windows for the challenge. To see more entries, just click on the icon below.


PS: Just in case you’re wondering how I’m getting on with learning the 9 songs for the concert, here is an update. My new Fitbit Force wristband which I got for Christmas, measures calories burned, as well as steps taken, distance walked etc.. I’ve discovered that playing ‘Tradition’ through once, actually burns 50 calories, so if I play it 100 times a day, I needn’t do any other exercise! This nifty little gadget also monitors my sleep pattern every night, and told me that on the night after the first practice, I woke up 32 times. Yes, I remember waking up numerous times with ‘Tradition!!’ stomping around in my head, and not being able to get back to sleep again. Last night however, I managed 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, so my worry gene is gradually taking a back seat. 🙂

WPC: Gothic on a GRAND scale.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg must surely qualify as ‘Grand’. It’s the tallest still-standing structure built entirely in the Middle Ages, and is considered to be one of the finest examples of high/late Gothic architecture. (As always, you can get the bigger picture by clicking on each photo.) Its stunning pink sandstone facade is unique, and quite breathtaking.


The famous west front entrance is decorated with thousands of figures.


The beautiful Rose window is quite stunning from the outside,


but from inside the cathedral, it is absolutely magnificent.


There are so many gorgeous stained glass windows.



The total inside length is 103 metres, and it seems a long way down to the altar at the front.


The magnificent pulpit is decorated with numerous statuettes which were sculpted by Hans Hammer in 1485,


I was particularly fascinated by the 14th century beautifully ornate, suspended pipe organ, which had no visible way of getting to it,


so unfortunately I was unable to go up there and give it a blast.


In the south transept, there is an 18 metre high, astronomical clock, one of the largest in the world. The present clock, which is said to be extraordinarily accurate, was completed in 1843. It has sculpted figurines, which move around at different hours of the day. The clock does far more than tell the time, it also indicates solar time, with each day of the week being represented by a god of mythology. It also shows the month, the year, and the appropriate sign of the zodiac, as well as the phase of the moon and the position of several planets.


If one happens to be there at half past midday, one can see all these automatons go into operation, and the figurines start doing their thing. At the top, you can see the representation of Christ, and underneath is Death himself.  Figurines representing the different stages of life, a child, a teenager, an adult and an old man, all pass in front of  Death. Above this, the apostles walk before Christ, accompanied by the sound of beating wings and the crowing of a rooster.


Just in front of the clock stands the marvellously decorated Pillar of Angels, representing the Last Judgement.

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This magnificently grand edifice, draws in over two million visitors every year. It was once described by Victor Hugo, as “a gigantic and delicate marvel,”  and by Goethe as ” a sublimely towering, wide-spreading tree of God,” and is visible for miles around, even from as far away as the Black Forest on the other side of the Rhine.


I hope you’ve enjoyed your grand tour today. To see more entries for the Weekly Photo Challenge, just click on the badge below.