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Palacio Real de La Almudaina~

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The Royal Palace of the Almudaina is located on the island of Mallorca in the capital city of Palma. Mallorca is part of the Balearic Island chain located off the coast of Spain.

In 903 AD, Isam Al Jawlani, conquered the Romans who were occupying Mallorca. Moors of Berber and Arabic descent then controlled Mallorca from 903-1229 AD.

They built the Almudaina in the articulated Islamic architectural style of North Africa.


Almudaina consists of two areas, the outer fortress of defensive walls, and the inner fortification which served as residences.

The palace architectural style results in unique and visually stunning interiors and exteriors that are airy and full of light, replete with arches, tile work, exterior corridors, and views of the ocean. Windows were built to take advantage of the ocean views and cool sea air. There is no sense of the dark claustrophobia one can feel in many other castles and fortresses.

The tapestries you are looking at are Flemish from the 16th and 17th centuries. You can see the light and airy interiors that make the palace so inviting.

The Arabs were eventually expelled from Mallorca and in the 14th century the palace became the official residence of The Spanish Royal Family who still use the palace as offices in the summer months.


Artistic details are evident throughout the palace interiors.
Cheers to you from the stunning Palacio Real de La Almudaina~

Land of the Lilliputians~

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One of the world’s top ten miniature museums is located in Victoria Canada. There are eighty-five exhibits here covering world history, Canadian history, fantasy, fairy tales, and even future space exploration.
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I loved the nostalgic look at the circus coming to town!

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There are dioramas depicting castles in England,
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Germany,
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and Canadian cities in the past.

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Many exhibits depict the frontier history and development of Canada.

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The museum has the world’s smallest working saw-mill which took eleven years to make,

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and one of the world’s longest model railways.
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These miniature worlds were created by George Devlin over the course of his lifetime. The museum opened in 1971 and George continues to expand it to this day.
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Cheers to you from Victoria’s fascinating Lilliputian World~

Glassine Visions~

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Seattle’s Garden and Glass Museum showcases the magical worlds created by glass artist Dale Chihuly.
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Chihuly creates huge glass wonderlands,
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resembling hallucinatory under-seascapes,
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full of phantasmagorical deep-sea creatures.

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Mirrors create reflective visions like crystalline creatures from outer space.

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There are magic mushrooms,
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glowing like alien forms,

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in surreal secret gardens.
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Visiting here one feels much like Alice with a two-way ticket to wonderland!
Cheers to you from the inventive worlds of Dale Chihuly~

Ghost Towns of the Wild West~

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Bodie is a gold rush era ghost town east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Mono Lake California. In its heyday it was a wild west era boomtown with shoot outs, bar-room brawls, stage-coach robberies, and murders. Dust and mayhem in the old wild west!
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It had a jail, saloons, a red light district, and a morgue, everything you needed in the lawless frontier, just like all those western movies we’ve all watched.
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Bodie also had a Chinatown with an opium den and Taoist temple. I don’t remember Taoist temples in the old western movies, do you? I guess this doesn’t quite fit with the six-guns and society ethos of those movies.
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There was a Catholic and Methodist church, to counteract the lawless ways of the frontier, no doubt.
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Bodie was founded in 1859 and at its peak it had a population of almost 10,000 people and around 2000 buildings.
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It began to decline as a boomtown in the 1890’s, and became more of a family oriented frontier community.
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There was a doctor’s house, a town hall, a couple of hotels, a barber shop and a schoolhouse, and I would imagine much less murder, mayhem, and general excitement.
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By 1910 there were 688 people living in Bodie, and by 1915 people started referring to it as a ghost town even though it was inhabited by a few hangers-on until around 1942.

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Bodie is now designated as a protected state historical park and is maintained but not improved.

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We encountered several wild west ghost towns in the Eastern Sierra, some we found while hiking which were completely unexpected and quite a surprise. Each of them gives you the wonderfully eerie feeling of walking back in dusty time.
Cheers to you from the living ghosts of the old wild west~

Spain & Portugal’s Stained Glass~

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Spain & Portugal have stunning stained glass windows,

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some more modern,

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like these in Madrid,
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and others much older as is this beauty in Mallorca.
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Some are secular such as this one in Aviero Portugal,
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and others modern and religious like Gaudi’s stunners in La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

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This hotel in Lisbon had a historic stained glass ceiling.
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Cheers to you from the sacred stained glass artistry of Portugal & Spain~

Sacred Visions~

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are the genius of Gaudi.
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He walked on this earth,

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but his mind,

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and soul,

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lived in the heavens.

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When you walk in the quiet of earliest morning,
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in La Sagrada Familia,
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you can feel Gaudi’s sacred visions.
Cheers to you from the beautiful heart of Gaudi~

Madrid’s Don Quixote Tapestries~

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The Royal Palace of Madrid,
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has a special exhibit,

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honoring the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of, “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.”

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These tapestries were commissioned by Phillip V who lived from 1683-1746,
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and depict in detail the life and adventures of Don Quixote.
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I included a close-up so you could see the intricate stitch detail in these remarkable tapestries.
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They were woven sometime in the early 1700’s by the Madrid Tapestry Factory which was founded by King Phillip V. Goya worked for a time in this factory creating designs.
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Cheers to you in honor of Don Quixote who taught us so much about the subjective nature of our perceptions~