Tag: Tapestry

Pau, Birthplace of King Henry IV

Pau, Birthplace of King Henry IV

Pau, France – July 14,2011

We arrived in Pau at about 11:00 this morning.  After a neighbor from the apartment above the one we rented checked us in, Leslie and I walked across the street to the small grocery.  The place we are staying in an apartment.  We rented it from the owner for three nights.  Since it is an apartment it has a full kitchen.  So, for lunch, we bought a frozen pizza.  For dinner, we bought some pork.  Leslie will bake that in the oven with some potatoes. For tomorrow morning, the kids have milk and cereal.  Leslie and I bought some quiche Lorraine.  By far, these will be the least expensive meals for this entire trip!

Right next door to our apartment building is the Continental Hotel.  The Continental Hotel is one of the venues used by those with the Tour de France for Stage 13.  While Leslie and I were out, we saw two of the official tour vehicles there.  They were delivery vans, full of luggage.  This afternoon I would like to try to find where the start for the race tomorrow is located.  I assume there will be Tour items for sale there.  If not, then certainly there will be some stuff for sale at the finish in Lourdes.

A support van for the race.
One of the officials’ vehicles.
We stayed in the six-story apartment building with a mid-century style.

After settling into the apartment, we walked to the area where the stage will start tomorrow, the Palace Beaumont.  There were no souvenir stands.  From there we walked along the Boulevard des Pyrenees to the church of Saint Martin.

Palacio Beaumont, the starting point for Stage 13.
Detail of one of the French television trucks.
A beautiful building along the race route.
Le Tour de France this way!!
The Hotel de Ville.
Interior of St. Martin Church.
A stained glass rosette in St. Martin Church.
The altar in the church.
A statue of Joseph and Jesus.
The tower of the church.
Some very old housing units.
A water fountain near the Chateau de Pau Musee.

After taking a quick look inside the church, we walked a little farther west to the Chateau de Pau Musee National.  Born at the chateau on December 13, 1553, Henry IV, became King of France, on June 9, 1572.  A fanatic assassinated Henry IV on May 14, 1610, in Paris.

We decided to take a tour.  Unfortunately, it was a guided tour in French.  Fortunately, they did provide us with a “cheat sheet” in English to allow us to follow along.  We did see some very beautiful and interesting things during our tour.

I thought the tour was fascinating and well-paced.  I am not certain my family shared my assessment.

The entrance to the Chateau de Pau Musee.
A bust of Henry IV. He was born at the Chateau.
A tapestry in the dining room for 100 guests.
Our tour group in the dining room for 100 guests.
Detail of one of the tapestries in the dining room.
Detail of another tapestry.
Detail of yet another tapestry.
A view of Pau from one of the Chateau’s parapets.
The waiting and reception room.
A vase in the waiting and reception room.
A tapestry in the waiting and reception room.  The statue is of Henry IV as a child.
A mantle clock in the waiting and reception room.
The family drawing-room. A game chest is in the foreground.
Detail of the painting, The Assassination of Henry IV, by Housez, 1860.
Detail of the bedchamber fireplace.
The royal bedchamber.
The view to the outside through the hand-rolled glass.
Detail of The marriage of Flora and Zephyr, a tapestry in the Bourbon study.
The tortoiseshell cradle of Henry IV.
A clock in the bedchamber.
Detail of the cradle of Henry IV.
The bed in the bedchamber.
A view of the cradle and the fireplace.
A bedchamber with multiple tapestries.
Detail of a painting in the bedchamber.
Detail of the painting, The Court of Henry (1848-1856).
A sculpture of Henry IV.
A courtyard of the chateau.

Leaving the Chateau, we stopped across the street at one of the souvenir shops to pick up some trinkets, then it was back to the apartment.

Along the way, we passed through Place Georges Clemenceau.  It is a very large plaza with several water fountains.  We all enjoyed looking at the fountains.

The view across the street from the chateau.
The tower of St. Martin Church.
A water fountain near our apartment.
Dancing water.


onso, Spain – June 6, 2010

Real Sitio de San Ildefonso (Royal Site of San Ildefonso) is a quaint little town just southeast of Segovia.  We drove there from our home in Pozuelo.  We took the back-roads, through the mountains.  It is a beautiful drive, one that very much reminds me of Colorado.  It takes about an hour to get there.

We choose that town because one of the royal palaces is located there.  I am told it was supposedly built in the style of the palace at Versailles.

When we arrived, we parked some distance from the palace, in part, because we were not sure where it was.  As we walked toward the palace, we passed a building that had a Schnauzer dog sitting on the terrace.  He reminded Lorraine of her Schnauzer.   He was just sitting there watching the world.

A schnauzer on the terrace.
A sidestreet in San Ildefonso.

There was a festival taking place in the town that day too.  I am not sure if it was for Corpus Christi like the festival in Toledo yesterday or if it was something different.

Once we got our bearings, we began to walk toward the palace.  The first thing one sees is the palace chapel.  It was very large.  As we got closer, we could see many of the boys and girls coming out of the chapel were dressed in their Sunday best.  It appeared that there may have been the sacrament of first-communion that Sunday.

As part of the overall decoration, there was a tapestry hung on the exterior of the chapel.  Who knows how old that may have been.

People walking away from the church at the palace.
The church at La Granja Palace, San Ildefonso.
A special tapestry hung out on a very special day.
Fuente de la Selva (Jungle Fountain) at the palace gardens.
Detail of a light post near the palace.

We made our way into the palace.  This is one of the palaces in which one can do a self-guided tour.  We got a wheelchair for Aunt Arlene so she would be more comfortable, and off we went.  For me, it is just amazing to stand at one end of the palace, in one of the rooms, and look some 80 meters (262 feet) or so through room after room.  It’s good to be the king!

This particular palace is very well known for its fountains in the gardens. They were not on when we were there; however, I can imagine it would be quite impressive when they are all turned on.

The view down one of the roads in town.
A typical street sign on a very yellow building.
Part of a street festival in San Ildefonso.
Looking over the bull ring to the mountains in the distance.
Río Eresma in the forest near San Ildefonso.
Paris, France

Paris, France

Paris, France – April 10, 2010

WOW!  My first time in Paris.  What a beautiful city!  I did NOT find any of the people I encountered to be rude, even though I heard that warning from so many people before I traveled.

My boss at the embassy agreed to send me to Paris for a greening and environmental workshop.  Part of the workshop was to be at the American ambassador’s residence.  When asked if I wished to attend, it took me about 0.002 nanoseconds to answer yes!

The flight to Paris from Madrid, Spain was uneventful.  While descending to the Paris airport, one could easily spot the Eiffel Tower from the plane.

After landing, it took about an hour to get to the hotel by taxi.  That was due in part to traffic and in part to distance.  When I got to the Hotel Regina Louvre (it is directly across the street from the Louvre Museum) and checked-in, the desk clerk asked if I was alone. That seemed to be a rather odd question, but I responded that I was alone.  She said I was lucky because my room had been upgraded.

When I entered the room I discovered what she was talking about.  The room was actually a suite!  Walking into the room, one is in an entryway.  In that entryway were three armoires, side-by-side, one of which contained a minibar.  Leaving the entryway, one comes into a large sitting room or parlor.  Off of the sitting room is a large bathroom complete with his and her bathrobes.  Off of the other side of the sitting room is the bedroom.  It is very large, with a king-size bed.  off of the bedroom is another full bathroom, even larger than the other one.

The sitting room and guest bathroom in the Hotel Regina.
The guest bathroom.
Detail of the stained-glass skylight.
The bathroom off the bedroom.

After I got myself settled, I went out to walk around.  Little did I know my walk would end up being 11.6 kilometers (7.23 miles).  Note for anyone considering a similar march; wear something other than deck shoes!  By the time I returned to the hotel, my feet were killing me!  Tennis or walking shoes would have been a much better choice.

The march began as I crossed between the Louvre Museum and the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Gardens), walking south toward the Seine River.  I crossed over the river to the left bank via the Pont du Carrousel (Carrousel Bridge).  There I found many street vendors selling copies of famous art, postcards, etc.  I ended up buying a map of Spain and Portugal dating from the 1890s.  It is printed in French.  The price of 10€ (US$12.40) made me very skeptical of the authenticity, but that did not deter my purchase.

The memorial to Joan of Arc just outside the Hotel Regina.
The view across the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden) toward the Eiffel Tower.
Throngs of people at the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, approaching the glass pyramid at the Louvre Museum.
The north wing of the Louvre Museum.
The view across the Seine River toward the Musée d’Orsay (Orsay Museum) with Eiffel Tower in background.
The south façade of the south wing of the Louvre Museum seems to go on forever.
People on the Pont Royal (Royal Bridge) near the Louvre.
A sightseeing boat on the Seine River passing the Musée d’Orsay.
A barge on the Seine River.
The view under the Pont Royal toward the Grand Palais (Grand Palace).
A tree near the Pont Royal.
Many vendors on the left bank of the Seine River.
The view from the left bank near, the Pont du Carrousel,
toward the Louvre.
People at the south end of the Pont du Carrousel. The Louvre is in the background.
Boats moored on the left bank of the Seine River and the Pont Neuf (New Bridge).
The Max Chaoul Couture Paris store along Quai de Conti (Conti Quay).

I continued along the left bank to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris Cathedral).  From Notre Dame, I crossed the island, Île de la Cité (City Island) and stopped at a sidewalk café on the other side of the Seine.  I sat there, had a glass of white wine while I caught my breath, and watched the people.  After some time, I decided to get something to eat.  I ordered a bowl of French onion soup and an assortment of cheeses.  The cheeses included bleu and brie, neither of which I really like.  Regardless, I did eat quite a bit of each.  I ended up having another glass of wine to wash everything down.

A tourist boat on the Seine River approaches the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris Cathedral).
The iconic Notre Dame.
Throngs of people at Notre Dame.
Another view of the cathedral.
The statue of Charlemagne et ses Leudes (Charlemagne and his Guards) is near the cathedral.
The view from Rue de la Cité toward the Palais de Justice de Paris (Palace of Justice in Paris).
The statue at La Fontaine du Palmier (The Palm Fountain) in the Place du Châtelet (Châtelet Plaza) at the north end of the Pont au Change.
While sitting at a sidewalk café on the Quai de la Mégisserie, a man walked by my table.

When I finished my “meal,” I began my walk to the Eiffel Tower.  There are many sights to see on the left bank.  One of the odder sights I happened across was a boat wedged against one of the piers of the Pont d’Léna (Léna Bridge).  I can only assume the boat lost power and ended up stuck at the bridge.  There were several first-responders on the scene.  Since they did not seem frantic, I hoped there were no significant injuries in the mishap.

Detail of the Louvre Museum above the Place Du Carrousel (Carrousel Plaza) entrance.
Boats “double-parked” on the Seine River.
A houseboat.
A sightseeing boat passes under Pont Alexandre III near the Grand Palais.
Pont Alexandre III.
Pont Alexandre III.
A boat wedged against the Pont des Invalides by the current of the Seine River.

I continued on to the Eiffel Tower.  I was quite tired by the time I got there.  That may have influenced my decision to merely look at the tower from the ground and not to go up onto the tower.  The other part of that decision was the length of the queue of people waiting.  I wanted no part of that.

Looking up at the Eiffel Tower. The top is some 324 meters (1,063 feet) above the ground.
The Eiffel Tower as viewed from the Pont d’Iéna.
The Eiffel Tower above the Seine River.

Crossing the Seine again, I began my march back to my hotel.  It seemed I might never make it back!  Regardless, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and was finally able to collapse in my hotel room.

A small Statue of Liberty on a boat just across from the Eiffel Tower.
A parting view of the Eiffel Tower.
Two characters on a docked boat.
Walking back toward my hotel, I saw the boat rescued from the Pont des Invalides. However, some police were still in attendance.
Decorations at the north end of the Pont Alexandre III.
The L’Harmonie Triomphant de la Discorde (The Triumphant Harmony of Discord) statue at the Grand Palais.
At the north end of the Pont Alexandre III hides a red Ferrari.
Detail of the Pont Alexandre III.
It looks like cars and mopeds are at the starting line at the Place de la Concorde.
Some late afternoon traffic at the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
Joan of Arc in front of the Hotel Regina Louvre.
Pedestrians at the Joan of Arc statue.
The backside of Paris. The view from my hotel window.
A portion of the lobby in the Hotel Regina Louver.

Tomorrow I plan to go to the Louvre Museum.  Note to self; wear more comfortable shoes.

The Monument à Cézanne by Aristide Maillol.
The east side of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
The statue of King Louis XIV dates from about 1677.
The iconic glass pyramid at the Louvre by architect I. M. Pei.
A water fountain coming to life outside the Louvre Museum.

After buying my entrance ticket, I made a beeline to the Mona Lisa.  I wanted to try to get to that very popular painting before it was mobbed by other tourists.  It was quite spectacular to see the Mona Lisa in person; although, one can get no closer than about 25 feet to the painting.

The Louvre is by far the largest I have ever been in, ever!  In fact, the Louvre is the largest museum in the world.  I may break my record of 11.6 kilometers yesterday just in the museum!

The hall in the Louvre leading to the Winged Victory of Samothrace.  Many of the sculptures have outstretched arms; almost as if to say, “Don’t rush to the Mona Lisa.  Take a moment to stop and look at us.”
The Winged Victory of Samothrace.
A gallery near the Mona Lisa.
The relatively small Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.
People in front of the much larger The Wedding Feast at Cana by Paolo Caliari.
Another of the multitude of galleries.
The glass pyramid as seen from one of the galleries.
Brutus Condemns His Sons to Death.
Napoleon on the Battlefield of Eylau by Baron Antoine-Jean Gros.
A gallery with a skylight.
Bonaparte Crossing the Alps by Paul Delaroche.
An ornate ceiling in the Louvre.
Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter by Guido Reni.
The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel as seen from one of the galleries.
A bust in one of the galleries.
Juana La Loca by Raphael And Giulio Romano.
Artemas with a Deer.
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne by Leonardo da Vinci.
Crucifixion by Giovanni Bellini.
A painted ceiling.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace.
The Galerie d’Apollon (Apollo Gallery) is where the French Crown Jewels are on display.
An ornate pitcher.
King Louis XIV in the Galerie d’Apollon.
King Henri IV in the Galerie d’Apollon.
A covered jade bowl.
The crown of Empress Eugénie is on the right.
Detail of the ceiling in the Galerie d’Apollon.
The Galerie d’Apollon.
Another portion of the ceiling in the Galerie d’Apollon.
The view from one of the galleries showing the Pont des Arts and the domed Institut de France.
An Egyptian stele.
A very small statue.
The god Amun protecting Tutankhamun.
A portion of the Sully wing of the Louvre as seen from one of the galleries.
Small Egyptian statuary.
A small bust.
Aphrodite, known as the “Venus de Milo.”
Athena, is known as the Pallas of Velletri.
The Great Sphinx of Tanis.
The main entry area under the glass pyramid.
A cylindrical elevator under the glass pyramid.
A bust of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the architect of Versailles and Les Invalides, dates from 1703. The artist is Jean-Louis Lemoyne.
Marble bas-relief, Farewell, by Jean-Joseph Perraud.
A hall in the Napolean apartment.
Detail of the Grand Salon in the Napolean apartment.
The fireplace in the Grand Salon.
The Seine in the Chapel by Antoine Coysevox.
A circular staircase in the Napolean apartment.
The bed of Charles X.
Cupid and Psyche Bathing in the Napolean bedroom.
The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and Eiffel Tower as seen from one of the galleries.
A decorated screen in the bedroom.
Detail of one of the blue tapestries in the bedroom. It is a wall hanging from the bedchamber of Louis XVIII in the Palais des Tuileries.
A bust of Napolean.
A crystal make-up table and mirror.
A pair of ornately painted vases.
A pair of ornately painted vases.
A wood door.
A highly decorated cabinet.
A writing desk that “disappears” into an oval table.
The bed of Charles X.
Shepherds and Shepherdesses Dancing.
A bust surrounded by circular images.
Napolean’s throne.
A crystal and gold chess set.
Detail of Le Roi à la Chasse (Charles I at the Hunt) by Anthony van Dyck.
Detail of Equestrian Portrait of Don Francisco de Moncada by Anthony van Dyck.
The view toward the Sully wing from the glass pyramid.

After walking through many of the wings of the museum, I had to sit down near the main entry.  I was absolutely out of gas.  I decided to take a quick look at the bookstore and then head back to the hotel for a well-deserved nap.

The next morning, breakfast was a little strange compared to what one might expect in the U.S.  Instead of sitting at a table of my own, the server directed me to a table with six chairs.  Another couple was just leaving that table.  So for a short time sat by myself.  Then the server sat another gentleman beside me.  He happened to be from Washington, D.C.  He is in the energy business with Lockheed Martin, here for the same event I am attending.  We had a nice conversation, but it was just a little strange to be seated with a stranger.

That evening, after the workshop, I met up with four of the other attendees to go out to dinner.  We went to a small restaurant about a 10-minute walk from the hotel.  The name of the restaurant is Chez Flottes.  It was tremendous.  I had a wonderful, delicious steak.  We all shared a bottle of wine.

It was interesting to discuss issues of common concern with some more seasoned facility managers.  In situations such as that, I always try to take in all I can for future use and reference.

The following day, when I returned to my room from the workshop, I discovered the hotel staff delivered a bottle of wine and some various candies.  I am not sure that I could have gotten much luckier.

In the evening the workshop attendees met for a mixer at the 1357ish Paris City Hall.  What a striking municipal building that was!

The Hôtel de Ville holds the city offices of Paris and has done so since 1357.

On the final day of the workshop, we met in the ambassador’s residence.  Another striking Parisian site.  One bit of history of the residence that was shared with the attendees is that the home was used as a Nazi SS officers’ club during World War II.  The home looked to me like something directly out of the movie The Dirty Dozen.  It is also huge, about 6,689 square meters (72,000 square feet).  Certainly not as nice as the Louvre or City Hall, but it was not bad.

Another Trip to Segovia

Another Trip to Segovia

Segovia, Spain – April 1, 2010

Leslie, my mom, dad, and I drove to Segovia earlier today.  We did encounter a little bit of snow in the area of Puerto de Navacerrada (possibly translated as Never-Closed Pass).  It lies at 1,860 meters (6,102 feet).  The bit of snow made for a beautiful scene.

After parking in a garage in Segovia, we began walking directly to the Alcázar de Segovia (fortified castle of Segovia) to tour the castle.  On the way, I paid particular attention to the façades of the buildings we passed.  For some reason, many of the buildings in the old town area of Segovia have decorative plaster façades.  With one possible exception, no pattern appeared to repeat.  So, on this trip, I took photographs of many of them.

The always awe-inspiring aqueduct in Segovia.
A view of Segovia from the old city wall.
A gate through the old city wall.
A portion of the old city wall.
A decorative building façade.
A decorative building façade II.
A decorative building façade III.
A decorative building façade IV.
A decorative building façade V.
A decorative building façade VI.
A small building with a decorative building façade.
A decorative building façade VII.
A decorative building façade VIII.
A small shop selling everything a tourist may need.
A decorative building façade IX.
A decorative building façade X.
A decorative building façade XI.
A decorative building façade XII.
A decorative building façade XIII.
A decorative building façade XIV.
A decorative building façade XV.

One of the most famous façades in Segovia is the Casa de los Picos (House of the Peaks).  The Picos are diamond-shaped blocks of stone that protrude from the facade of the building.  It was constructed in the 15th century by the Count of Fuensalida.

Possibly the most unique façade belongs to the Casa de los Picos (House of the Peaks).

Once at the Alcázar, since Leslie and I had not previously been in the tower, I made sure our tickets included admittance to both the tower and the palace.  At the time, I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  The tower is a large rectangular structure situated in the center of the main façade of the Alcázar.  When we entered the tower, there was a fairly large and wide staircase that led one up about one floor.  Then we went through a small door that led to a stone, spiral staircase.  We found out later there are 152-stairs in that staircase.  On the way up we passed a couple of people coming down.  We had to suck up very close to the wall to let them pass.  Shortly after that encounter, we heard some young people coming down.  It sounded as though they were speaking French.  Regardless, it seemed like they would never stop coming down.  My dad counted 58 kids!  We thought we would never get to the top.

When we did get to the top, we were all tired.  We vowed we would never do that again!  We were all wishing there was an elevator in this 1120 structure.  So, even though the tower is quite large, all we saw was a staircase and a view from the top of the tower. I am not sure what else may be in the tower.

The royal crest at the gate to the Alcázar de Segovia (fortified castle). The sign reads, “Reigning Fernando VII Year of 1817.”
Some spring flowers in front of the Alcázar.
One of the towers of the Alcázar.
The opposite tower.
Decorative façade on the Alcázar.
A view from the Alcázar of the old city of Segovia.
A shield inside the Alcázar.

There are several suits of armor on display in the castle.  I can imagine they were heavy and quite uncomfortable to wear.  Although, being speared or being shot with an arrow would also be quite uncomfortable; so, I guess it was a good trade.  As small as the eye slits are, it is amazing the one wearing the suit could see.  Like anything, over time, one must have become used to the restraints and learned how to fight.

A suit of armor on display.
A suit of armor on display II.
A suit of armor on display III.
A suit of armor on display IV.
A worker polishing a suit of armor.
The remnants of some decorative paint.
A tapestry in the Alcázar.
A stained-glass window in the throne room depicts Henry IV (reigned 1454 to 1474). Note the human head under each of the hooves of the horse. That’s gonna leave a mark…
Reproductions of the thrones in the throne room.
The cupola in the throne room.
A suit of armor on display V.
Detail of a painting of the coronation of Isabel the Catholic of Castile.
Another stained-glass window in the throne room. Note the head and body under the horse.
Another of the tapestries on display.
Fellow woodworkers may find this chair interesting.
The bed in the royal chamber.
Detail of the Kings Room.
The statue seems to be dancing to an unheard tune.
Chairs and painting in the Kings Room.

During this tour of the Alcázar, much like I did on our walk to the castle, I concentrated on wall decoration and patterns.  Inside the Alcázar, there are numerous patterns.  Some are done in plaster and then painted, while others are done with tiles from the local area.  Much like the façades, they are very intricate and interesting.

Detail of the tile in the Cord Room.
Detail of a tapestry in the Cord Room.
Detail of some of the tile.
This retable (altarpiece) in the chapel dates from the first part of the 16th century.
Another style of the tile used.
Checking out the displays in the armory.
What a day for a knight!
A display in the armory.
The view to the north of the Alcázar. The Iglesia de la Vera Cruz (Church of the True Cross) is visible in the distance.
A plant growing into the wall of the Alcázar.
A local police car.
A local police van.
Detail of a water fountain in the Plaza de San Martín.
A photographer capturing just the right shot at the Church of San Martín. The church dates from 1117.
A young man posing for a photograph at the monument to Juan Bravo in the Plaza de Medina del Campo.
The San Martín Church.
The view toward the aqueduct from Calle Cervantes.
A decorative building façade XVI. The sign reads, “Carmen’s descent.”
Arch of La Fuencisla.
The view of the Alcázar from below.