Sunday, December 14, 2014

Macy's Holiday Lights in New York City - 2014

Macy's Holiday Lights in New York City - 2014
Macy's, home of the "Miracle of 34th Street", once again proudly presents its holiday winter wonderland. Its 2014 theme is "Santa’s Journey to the Stars" featuring a boy named Alex, his dog Bella and his adventures with Santa.

From his bedroom, Alex looks through his magic telescope and is soon transported to other celestial bodies.

Macy's Holiday Lights in New York City - 2014
First,  Alex was on Mercury and from there he journeyed to Venus (as shown above), the second planet from the sun. On Venus, there is a toy workshop humming with activities.

Macy's Holiday Lights in New York City - 2014

On Mars (as shown above), the Martians have decorated the Olympus Mons, its highest mountain with ornaments. Mars looks like a candy land.

Macy's Holiday Lights in New York City - 2014

Then Alex moved on to Saturn with its many festive rings.  Jupiter is illuminated by her 67 lunar satellites.

Macy's Holiday Lights in New York City - 2014
On the coldest planets, Uranus and Neptune, ice giants are throwing snowballs at each other.

Macy's Holiday Lights in New York City - 2014

Finally Alex and Santa are  sighted  flying over New York City in a sleigh. The best place to celebrate the holidays is HOME.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Trip to Greece - Acropolis Museum, Athens

Navigating the Athens metro was not difficult at all. As guided from the metro map below, 

we traveled from our hotel and then transfered at Syntagma to the red line and then get off at the Akropoli stop.

Archaeological artifacts are on display as you exit the Akropoli metro station. Strolling towards the Acropolis museum, we caught our first glimpse of the Parthenon. The breathtaking sight would do for the time being since we were saving a visit to the Parthenon for another day.

A view of the Acropolis from the street below

First, we took a look at the amazing "new" Acropolis museum. It was built over the remains of an archaelogical site. Admission fee is 5 Euros. On the second floor, there is an outdoor restaurant where one could enjoy a meal with a
panoramic view of the Acropolis.

Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece

Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece

The museum presented a short film detailing the history of the Parthenon which had been a temple, mosque and church over the centuries. The marbles that had adorned the Parthenon are displayed in an all airy glass paneled sunlit room overlooking its former home.

Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum overlooking the Parthenon

Some pieces of the marble are absent. Some of these missing pieces are the ones "purchased" by Lord Elgin and are housed currently in the British Museum. In its place, these missing pieces are substituted by "plaster" replicas as shown here:

Parthenon marbles on the right panel. The left panel is a plaster replica.

We had to resort to using our imaginations to picture how all these elegant marbles had fitted together and adorned the Parthenon in its golden days.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Trip to Greece - Santorini island

Blue domed church in  Oia, Santorini

I was mesmerized by the beauty of the blue domed church when I first laid my eyes on it. I did not know it was on the island of Santorini in Greece at that time. Over the years, I encountered more and more pictures of Santorini island and I just fell in love with the island. I placed it on my wish list of places to visit one day.

Sunset in  Oia, Santorini

We saw this island gem recently with our own eyes. Santorini island did not disappoint. Even though our stay was short, we were able to drink in her beauty and were spellbound by her famous sunsets on both sunny and cloudy Mediterranean days.

Fresh catch from the waters in Santorini island

Archaeological site in Santorini island

We ate of the fruits of her sea, breathed in her pristine air, hiked in her mountains, marveled at her secrets being unearthed in the archaeological sites and delighted in exploring her narrow winding streets amidst the cave houses and shops huddling close to the cliffs. Alas we did not get to dip our toes into her waters.

View along the hike from Oia to Fira in Santorini.

View along the hike from Oia to Fira in Santorini.

Santorini's hospitality was at its shining best. A young man went out of his way to show us the bus terminal in Fira. We were even guided by a canine resident when we hiked from Oia to Fira in Santorini.

Though there are other islands in Greece which we have yet to explore, we would like to return to Santorini again one day.  

Lonely Planet is in agreement too. It has just designated Greece as the top European destination to visit in 2014. Santorini island is a reflection of that crowning glory.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Girl With A Pearl Earring - Frick Museum in New York City

Girl With The Pearl Earring at the Frick museum

As expected, the special exhibition of the Dutch master painter Johannes Vermeer's "Girl With A Pearl Earring" (circa 1665) has brought forth a hugh crowd to the Frick museum on the Upper East Side of New York City.  

I found out this week that all Telecharge online sales for the timed entry tickets have been sold out. The only way to obtain a timed entry ticket is to purchase it in person at the museum or join the museum membership to avoid the timed entry requirements. 

Fortunately by the time I got to the museum on a weekday evening, I did not have to wait too long to purchase a same day ticket. Vermeer's painting of the girl was definitely the star of the show. The entire Oval room was dedicated to her. Measuring approximately 17 inches by 15 inches, the "Dutch Mona Lisa" was luminous and beautiful. I was glad that the crowd was sparse affording me a longer glance at the painting.

Picture taking was prohibited in the museum. I got myself a poster and posted a snapshot of it above. San Francisco, Atlanta and New York City have been blessed with hosting this painting during the past few months. We wish the lady bon vovage as she leaves New York this month. Her next stop is Bologna, Italy before returning home to the Mauritshuis gallery in the Hague, Netherlands.


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