These two wooden sculptures in the medieval collection of Prague’s National Gallery housed in the Convent of St. Agnes appear to be in frank discussion. They could be marveling over Agnes, who as youngest princess of the realm sidestepped two engagements and founded a convent in 1231. Or they could be swapping stories of their original hair, eye and lip color. More than half of all sculpture in the medieval period were wooden and sculptors touched up their creations with artful lowlights.
Pismo Beach in California is a popular spot for tourists and local surfers. There is a clifftop path that runs the length of the north side and ends at two swings with gorgeous views. Kayakers here are often treated to migrating and feeding whales. In the fall of 2020, one beach away in Avila, two kayakers were inadvertently tasted and ptoo-ied out by a humpback — likely exciting and confusing for all three of them.
Built for 250 patients, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in the state of West Virginia in the USA housed more than 2,500 at the height of its capacity. Construction design was based on the Thomas Kirkbride plan whereby the building itself was meant to have a ‘therapeutic’ effect on patients. The institution opened immediately after the American Civil War. The doors closed on what had become the Weston State Hospital in 1994.
The graceful movements of Thai dancers entertain the Siamese royal court and night-market tourists. A fabulous addition to the elegance and precision of the performers are specialized costumes. Depending on the dance, performers might wear six-inch-long brass nails or specialized decorative headdresses.
Center of the Universe
Like a mountain that holds up the sky, the handle of an umbrella supports its dome, or so goes the mythology of the Buddhist umbrella. This golden parasol from Chiang Mai’s Wat Doi Suthep is a symbol for the exalted person whom it would protect from the heat of suffering and desire.
In 1916 an avant-garde photographer from New York fell in love with a schoolteacher in the Texas panhandle. The passion of Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe is a modern American romance. Intense and complicated, their union produced beautiful and unforgettable art, his black and white photography and her images of flowers.
The Smart Way to Travel
In Hong Kong, ferries glide back and forth on Victoria Harbour. Well-known as one of the world’s financial centers, this city of seven million is also one of the most densely populated — and apparently most intelligent — on earth. Studies routinely rank Hong Kong as the city with the highest IQ scores.
One with Nature
Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya was once the thriving cosmopolitan capital of Siam (Thailand). The reign of Ayutthaya ended in 1767 when Burmese troops sacked the city and carried away its treasures. The remains of temples, palaces and statues artfully permeate the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site located about an hour outside of Bangkok. In the severe flooding of 2011, this particular statue in the base of a tree was underwater for weeks.
Twilight in Kowloon
Nathan Road on the Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong is a major shopping thoroughfare. At twilight, there is a rush to work, home from work, or out to meet friends. Fewer tourists visit this area than neighboring Hong Kong Island. The picture was taken from the second floor of a double-decker bus whose route terminates at the Star Ferry pier on Victoria Harbor.