Darlene Foster's Blog

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On a recent trip to the city of Murcia, I finally had time to explore the interior of the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary in Murcia built in the 1500s. I was awestruck and want to share a few pictures, although they don’t do it justice. I think you will agree that the details are amazing.

Chapel of the Immaculate dedicated to the Virgin Mary

The image of Santa María, carved in polychrome wood, is dated around the year 1627

The Baptistery Chapel was built in 1546. From then until 1908, the sacrament of baptism was held in this chapel. I love the gorgeous baptismal font.

Chapel of Gil Rodriguez de Junteron, a Murcian-born priest who spent time in the Vatican during the time of Pope Julius II. This explains the Italian look of this chapel.

The crypt with confessionals on each side.

The only rose window in the cathedral, from the 15th century.

The choir with late-Renaissance stalls, carved in walnut wood. Above it stands the great Merklin organ, with almost 4,000 pipes. It is one of the most well-known organs internationally. The sound is mesmerizing.

The impressive main nave.

I’ve always been fascinated by the huge thuribles, or incense burners, known as Botafumeiros in Spain. Apparently, as well as for religious purposes, they were used to ward off the plague in medieval times.

The cathedral also houses a small museum in the cloister of the old Cathedral with a few interesting items. These were my favourite pieces.

The head of an apostle.

San Cristobal/Saint Christopher

The priest Gil Rodríguez, who died in 1552, arranged in his will that he wanted to be buried inside a large imperial Roman sarcophagus, brought from Rome. During the 1998 restoration, this amazing sarcophagus of the muses was discovered intact, buried in the crypt. It is now on display in the museum and is the oldest item in the cathedral’s collection.

An original fresco, discovered while restoring the cloister, represents the Virgen de la Misericordia and is from the 15th century.

What amazing finds!

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I am joining Dan Antion over at https://nofacilities.com/ where he runs a series called Thursday Doors. This is what he has to say:

Welcome to Thursday Doors! This is a weekly challenge for people who love doors and architecture to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos, drawings, or other images or stories from around the world. If you’d like to join us, simply create your own Thursday Doors post each (or any) week and then share a link to your post in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

Cathedrals often have amazing doors and I have discovered some here in Spain I wish to share. These doors are part of the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary in Murcia.

The facade is Baroque. Building was started in 1385 and completed in 1467 with additions added up to the 18th Century.

Some of the interesting details.

The bell tower, built between 1521 and 1791, stands 90 metres (300 ft) tall—95 metres (312 ft) with the weathervane. It is the tallest campanile in Spain. 

The city of Murcia is only about forty minutes away from where we live but I only just recently spent time in this amazing cathedral. I will follow up with some photos of the interior soon.

Copyright ©2023 darlenefoster.wordpress.com – All rights reserved.

I have always been fascinated by doors. Is it the mystery of what lies behind them or the curiosity of who has entered them in the past? Wherever I travel I tend to take pictures of doors. The older the better.

Dan Antion over at https://nofacilities.com/ runs a series called Thursday Doors. This is what he has to say:

Welcome to Thursday Doors! This is a weekly challenge for people who love doors and architecture to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos, drawings, or other images or stories from around the world. If you’d like to join us, simply create your own Thursday Doors post each (or any) week and then share a link to your post in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

Dan also writes some wonderful books https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BC23MDLV you might want to check out.

I decided to join this challenge and share some of the door pictures I’ve collected over the years. I’ll start today with some doors I’ve discovered while exploring a place near us here in Spain. Let me know what you think of them.

I captured these doors in an amazing place called Guadelest. Oh, the stories these doors could tell if they could talk!

So many stories this door could tell.

Guadelest Castle. Some doors are harder to reach than others.

I’m going to enjoy sharing my door pictures.

Copyright ©2023 darlenefoster.wordpress.com – All rights reserved.

As much as I love to travel and visit my family and friends, I always miss my two doggies Dot and Lia. Fortunately, there are pets at many of the places I visit. Here are a few pictures of the pets I spent time with while in Canada in September.

Brandy, a Golden Labrador/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. A real sweetheart.

Brandy in her yard playing ball.

Come on, throw the ball.

Grandpuppy Petite on Mudge Island

Grandkitty, Bimbay on Mudge Island

Lexi, the oldest of my Granddaughter’s pets, enjoying a sunny day.

Mandy the Newfoundland dog. A big cuddly teddy bear.

Mandy, the guard dog.

Roni, another of my granddaughter’s pets. Those eyes!

Me and my buddy Roni

And there are many cats as well. This is Earl Grey. The coolest cat ever and I love his name.

We can’t forget the goats. Did I mention my granddaughter loves animals? I didn’t get pictures of all of them either.

Beelzebub, my grandson’s newly acquired pet who seems very happy with his new home.

Lola, my son’s family pug. Another cutie.

Willow, an Australian Shepherd. A special dog for a special girl in Vancouver.

Well, not really a pet, but my great granddaughter’s badger Halloween costume.

How about an awesome cake that looks like a pet?

So you can see I had many pets to keep me company until I came home to these two.

Many of you know that Anne of Green Gables is my favourite children’s book. The opportunity to see the house in Prince Edward Island that inspired the author, Lucy Maude Montgomery, was indeed a dream come true!

Green Gables House, was originally a farmhouse that belonged to the Macneill family, cousins of L.M. Montgomery. The author spent a lot of time there as a child and later used it as the inspiration for the setting of her popular novel, Anne of Green Gables. It is now a heritage museum, done up as it is depicted in the book as the home of her characters, siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, Anne’s adoptive parents in the story. You can imagine my delight as I looked through the house. It was like stepping into the much-loved story.

The sitting room, as described in the book.

Anne Shirley’s room with her favourite dress hanging on the back of the closet door.

Marilla’s room with her shawl and the famous broach. (Sorry you can’t see it in the picture)

The property consists of a lovely garden that backs onto a wooded area, also depicted in the story.

The Haunted Wood where many of Anne’s adventures with Diana played out.

A cart similar to the one Matthew would have used to pick up Anne at the train station and take her to Green Gables to start her new life.

Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
– L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

On the site is also The Green Gables Visitor Centre with many interesting displays and information about PEI’s famous author.

Lucy Maude Montgomery, as a young writer.

The typewriter LM Montgomery most likely typed her famous novel.

Anne of Green Gables has been translated into 36 different languages. I loved this wall of some of the different covers.

The home of Lucy Maude Montgomery is situated close by. The house she lived in with her grandparents, who raised her, is no longer standing but the foundation is there. In her memories, the author mentions she lived a very happy life there as a girl.

On the old farm site is a cosy bookstore, which is very fitting. I bought a wonderful book there which I treasure.

“Were it not for those Cavendish years, I do not think Anne of Green Gables would ever have been written.” L.M. Montgomery, The Alpine Path.

My review of this book is here https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5069965399

LM Montgomery is buried in the nearby Cavendish Community Cemetery. I was able to visit her grave and pay my respects to an author I have long admired and who inspired me to write.

A visit I will never forget.

“We Prince Edward Islanders are a loyal race. In our secret soul, we believe that there is no place like the little Province that gave us birth.” – Lucy Maude Montgomery, The Alpine Path

On my recent trip to Canada, I fulfilled another long-time dream – to visit the province of Prince Edward Island. Ever since reading Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, I have longed to visit this island on the east coast of Canada. It was as charming and picturesque as I envisioned, with a rugged coastline, rich red earth, pastoral landscapes, alluring fishing villages and friendly down-to-earth folks.

Prince Edward Island was named after the son of King George III, Edward Duke of Kent, the commander of the British forces in North America.  It is the smallest and most densely populated of Canada’s 10 provinces with a population of one hundred and sixty-four thousand. It covers 5,683.91 square kilometres (2,194.57 square miles).

As the plane descended, I had a clear view of Confederation Bridge. Built in 1997, the 8-mile (12.9-km) long bridge is the world’s longest bridge over waters that freeze over in winter and connects the island to the neighbouring province of New Brunswick.

The 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) of shoreline, features fantastic red sandstone cliffs and red sand beaches.

And of course, lighthouses!

Cape Bear Lighthouse and Marconi Station, built in 1881, is still operational. On April 14,1912 it received the first distress signal in Canada from the sinking Titanic.

I love lighthouses!!

A common site on the island is lobster traps piled up. PEI is well known for its delicious lobsters.

I was intrigued by the lobster trap and lobster buoy Christmas trees.

And the huge apple trees laden with fruit.

We came upon an errant Blue Heron who posed politely for us.

I loved the charming houses; this one belonged to a friend.

And the colourful sheds

Interesting sculptures depicting marine life.

The Garden of the Gulf Museum, the oldest museum on the island, is housed in the former post office in the town of Montague and is full of interesting things from the past.

The island’s capital, Charlottetown, was named after the wife of King George III, Queen Charlotte. It is known as the Birthplace of Confederation after the historic 1864 Charlottetown Conference which led to the Confederation of Canada in 1867.

Rich in history and culture, it’s a perfect place to wander the streets lined with Victorian buildings still intact, and take in the ambience of a former time. There are many places to enjoy a delicious seafood meal as well.

There are amazing old churches in downtown Charlottetown including St. Dunstan’s Basilica, built in 1916, and designated as a National Historic Site of Canada.

Parliamentarians debating the state of the world in front of a cathedral. It could be 1867 instead of 2022.

I loved my trip to this remarkable maritime province. Next time I’ll tell you about my visit to Green Gables House.

Have you been to Prince Edward Island?

Canada in the fall is gorgeous with such a variety of landscapes. I started my recent trip on the east coast, in Prince Edward Island, travelled to British Columbia on the west coast, and ended my journey in Alberta, one of the prairie provinces. I want to share with you some of the fabulous scenery I encountered.

Taken as I was landing on PEI. The rich farmland is depicted with its famous red soil.
Even the beaches of PEI are red.
There are many wonderful rugged beaches on Prince Edward Island.
Typical countryside scene on Prince Edward Island
An amazing natural arch
The view from the deck of my favourite place to have lunch in Ladner, BC
On the way to Gabriola Island by ferry. Nanaimo, BC is in the background.
Overlooking the islands from Gabriola Island
Rowing to Mudge Island
A peaceful walk on Mudge Island, BC
The view from my daughter’s house on Mudge Island
Wouldn’t you love to live on Halibut Hill in the forest?
On Vancouver Island near Comox
Goose Spit Regional Park on Vancouver Island
Amazing sunrise in White Rock, BC, seen from my bedroom window!
A typical fall prairie scene in southern Alberta has its own beauty.
There is nothing like a prairie sunset.
Trees turning colour in Calgary, Alberta
One of many beautiful gardens in Calgary, Alberta

I was only in three of the ten provinces of Canada, but you can get an idea of the diversity in the landscape from one coast to another.

While visiting the Isle of Arran, I was determined to visit Brodick Castle, owned by the Hamilton family for 450 years. It turned out to be a forty-five-minute walk from the town of Brodick to Brodick Castle, but it was worth it.

I walked through a peaceful park

and over a bridge with a swan in the river!

I carefully trampled through a golf course with appropriate warnings,

along a busy road and through gorgeous gardens with fabulous views of the sea.

Convinced I was lost, I walked around a corner and saw…this!

Brodick Castle

I opened the front door and discovered an intriguing world from the past.

The family crest with their motto “through”
My favourite room, the library
The drawing room
The amazing ceiling with a Waterford crystal chandelier!
The kitchen
With bread in the oven
The amazing gardens with the sea in the background
Gardens with a Bavarian summer house built as a place to rest.
And a crow posing for me
The back of the castle towards the end of the day
photo by Terry Tyler

Someone took a picture of someone taking a picture of me!

The original castle was built in the late 1200s and was initially a fortification due to its strategic location overlooking a wide sheltered bay. Over the centuries it has been a defensive stronghold, a hunting lodge and a family home. It has gone through many transformations, but for five generations, the Hamilton family, used the castle as a place of relaxation and pleasure until it was donated to the National Trust in 1957.

I was very glad I made the trek to visit this amazing castle, filled with stories and treasures from around the world. It is also purported to be haunted!

So many times I visit a place, fall in love, and vow to return one day (which seldom happens). Imagine how happy I was when an invitation to return to the amazing Isle of Arran in Scotland was extended to me. I have just returned from this magical place where I spent six days with four inspiring writers. Here are just a few pictures of the gorgeous scenery and special sites I visited.

On the way to Fairy Glen
Heather everywhere
It was a bit of a hike up to Giants’ Graves, but I made it!
Giants’ Graves, the remains of two Neolithic chambered tombs 
View from the top
Farmhouse near Fairy Glen
One of many scenic bays
Viking burial site
Lighthouse in the distance
So many peaceful places to sit and be inspired
A friendly Highland “coo”

I also visited a castle and a museum but will save those pictures for another post. The Isle of Arran has become my happy place and I am so fortunate to have been able to return. I wrote about my visit last year here.

In case you are wondering, we did get a lot of writing done, with many lively discussions about writing and publishing. I also collected great ideas for my work in progress.

More to come.

Caravaca de la Cruz

I love horses and enjoy equestrian events. I was delighted to spend a day in the town of Caravaca de la Cruz during the annual Caballos del Vino Fiesta. The horses were proudly paraded around town in all their splendour, the streets teamed with local families wearing black, white and red outfits, Knights Templar, Moors and Christians mingled and various bands played. The air was filled with excitement.

Moors
Christians
Knights Templar
All ages take part in the festivities. This little caballero is so cute.
One of the many bands

At one point I became stuck in the middle of a parade on a narrow side street. I had no choice but to join in and dance along with everyone else as we followed the band. So much fun.

The main event is held later in the day when the wine horses race up the side of the mountain accompanied by four horsemen on foot. The horse with horsemen that arrives at the top in the fastest time, is declared the winner. Should one of the horsemen let go before reaching the top, the horse is disqualified.

Why do they do this? Like most things in Spain, it is based on a legend. Legend has it that during the time the Castle of Caravaca was besieged by Muslim troops, the Knights Templar went in search of water for the starving citizens. They only found wine. Dodging the enemy, they raced up the mountain beside their horses loaded with filled wineskins. They were considered heroes and their horses were decorated in appreciation. This tradition is now carried on as a competition once a year at the beginning of May.

The horses and their elaborate silk mantles, embroidered with fine gold thread, are the central focus of the festival. Each mantle can take a whole year to make and cost thousands of euros. There are prizes for the best-decorated horses as well. It was hard to pick which one was my favourite.

Decorated from head to tail
Pretty in pink
Interesting mantle with pictures of famous people.
The castle that had been under siege
The path the horses have to run up. There are many more spectators at the time of the race.

We did not stay to watch the race as it can be dangerous for spectators, but I did watch part of it on a big screen TV at the restaurant where we enjoyed a paella lunch.

What an amazing event. One I was glad to have attended and will not forget.

There are some great YouTube videos of the event. Here’s one:


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