Emergency Landing

This is how our vacation started; click link below.
Emergency landing at Hancock Airport
Thank goodness God was watching over us but it was definitely an experience I hope to not go through again!
Emma and I are enjoying spending time with family and friends, even though she is having a hard time adjusting to being away from home and of all things to forget, I left her "blankie" at home so she hasn’t slept very well.  It should arrive via express mail on Tuesday as no other blankie will do.  My camera broke right before we left so Earl bought me a new one that I’m trying to figure out but I’ll return with photos for sure.
Take care everyone!

Unusual Churches (Part 2)


1. Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe chapel (Le Puy-en-Velay, France)

(image credits: Sacred Destinations)

Perhaps one of the most remarkable sights in France, a chapel perched on a volcanic plug. This is the Rock of Aiguilhe, on the edge of the town of Puy en Velay, in the Auvergne. The Chapelle Saint-Michel has stood there for 1042 years, since Bishop Gothescalk had it built in 962 on his return from a pilgrimage to Santiago del Compostella in Galicia. In 1955 workers found relics under the alter that had been there since it was built.

2. The Wireman Chapel at Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, Florida, USA)

(image credits: Eckwriter)

A kid on the tour to Eckerd College once said it looked like a “Jesus spider from outer space.” Inspired by 20th-century architect
Eero Saarinen, the Chapel was designed by the highly respected Chicago architectural firm of Perkins and Will. Its key design features are its octagonal shape and in-the-round seating, the oculus at the center of the roof that directs sunlight to the center of the sanctuary, the lower glass panels which reflect light from the water outside to the interior, and the girders which recall the flying buttresses of the medieval cathedral, instilling a sense of timelessness in a contemporary structure.

3. Chapel in the Rock (Arizona, USA)

(image credits: santanartist)

This facinating Roman Catholic church is literally built into the rock. The views from outside are unbelievable but the serenity inside is awesome

Some say, that Chapel in the Rock can move even the non-religious.

4. Device to Root Out Evil (Calgary, AB, Canada)

(image credits: ms_cwang)

It was too hot for New York City; too hot for Stanford University. But a controversial, imposing sculpture by renowned international artist Dennis Oppenheim finally found a public home in laid-back Vancouver. A country church is seen balancing on it’s steeple, as if it had been lifted by a terrific force and brought to the site as a device or method of rooting out evil forces.  In 2008 it was moved from Vancouver to Calgary, AB, Canada.

5. Trendsetters Church (Phoenix, AZ, USA)

(image credits: Scott Bruce)

Trendsetters Church in Phoenix, AZ, built in 1973 by Neil Frisby as Capstone Cathedral.  I’m sure Neil Frisby visited Egypt just before designing this church.

6. Church of St. George(Lalibela, Ethiopia)

(image credits: Dylan Cerling)

(image credits: Dylan Cerling)

Possibly the most famous of Lalibeli’s churches, the Church of St. George is completely carved out of stone in the shape of a cross.

7. Written Stone (Monastery, Romania)

(image credits: Daria Xenopo)

Local tradition confesses that,during the construction of a railway , at the opening of the a tunnel, it was found an icon painted in stone representing the Holy Trinity. The monastery was built at the opening of the tunnel The monastery was built at the opening of the tunnel on the rock.

8. Bruder Klaus Chapel (Mechernich, southern Germany)

(image credits: Florian Seiffert (F*))

(image credits: Florian Seiffert (F*))

A concrete chapel on the edge of a field in Mechernich, southern Germany, built by local farmers in honor of their patron saint, the 15th-century hermit Bruder Klaus,” according to icon.

9. Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, (Cundinamarca, Colombia)

(Photography by Nidya Rincón -nidyarincon@hotmail.com)

(Image credits: jeromesutter and olliethebastard)

Catedral de Sal (Salt Cathedral) in Zipaquirá, about 25 miles north of Bogotá, is an underground church built in a tunnel of salt mines deep inside a salt mountain. It is built into a space left by salt mining; everything you see here is salt. As you descend into the church, you pass 14 small chapels representing the stations of the suffering of Christ. The sanctuary at the bottom has three sections, representing the birth, life, and death of Jesus.
The first Salt Cathedral was consecrated in 1954, but structural problems and safety concerns led the authorities to shut down the sanctuary in 1990. The current church was built between 1991 and 1996 about 200 feet below the old sanctuary, again using caves left behind by previous mining operations.

10. Cathedral of Maringa (Parana, Brazil)

(image credits: carlosoliveirareis)

(image credits: maria clara de melo)

This is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in downtown Maringá, Paraná, Brazil, measuring 124 m high. It was completed in 1972 and is the tallest church in South America and the 16th tallest in the world.

Architect José Augusto Bellucci was inspired by the Soviet sputnik satellites when he projected the modern design with conical shape of the cathedral, which was idealized by the archbishop Dom Jaime Luiz Coelho.

11. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, (Milwaukee, WI, USA)

(image credits: Ricky Irvine)

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1956, and completed in 1961. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is one of Wright’s last works. Its shallow scalloped dome echoes his Marin County Civic Center.

12. The Felsenkirche a.k.a. Church of the Rock, (Idar-Oberstein, Germany).

(image credits: only_point_five)

(image credits: only_point_five)

The Felsenkirche (”Church of the Rock”) , a church built into a natural niche in the rocks, rises high above the houses of Oberstein.  Nicely blends into the mountain, making all this place magical.

13. Catholic Church (Uruguay)

(image credits:sent by email)

14. Grundtvig’s Church, (Copenhagen, Denmark)

(image credits: seier+seier+seier)

Grundtvig’s Church (Danish: Grundtvigs Kirke) is located in the Bispebjerg district of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is a rare example of expressionist church architecture. Due to its unusual appearance, it is one of the best known churches in the city.

15. Mr. Eko’s Church (The Island)

(Image credits: Stillframe)

Architects:  Eko and Charlie.

16. Church with an A (Madrid, Spain)

(Image credits: R.Duran)

A Parish Church at the beginning of Alcalde Sainz de Baranda St. (Madrid, Spain).

17. Pilgrimage Church(Neviges, Germany)

(Image credits: seier+seier+seier)

Pilgrimage church designed by Gottfried Böhm and constructed during the period of 1963-1972. The sunken cathedral in autumn colors.  Böhm used the terrain to lessen the impact of the enormous church on its small scale context.

18. San Francisco de Asis Church (Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico)

(Image credits: longhorndave)

San Francisco de Asis Church is a small mission in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. Construction on the church began around 1772 and was completed in 1815 by Franciscan Fathers and its patron is Saint Francis of Assisi. It is made of adobe as are many of the Spanish missions in New Mexico. It a few miles south of Taos Pueblo and has inspired among the greatest number of depictions of any building in the United States. It was the subject of four paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, and photographs by Ansel Adams and Paul Strand. Georgia O’Keeffe described it as, “one of the most beautiful buildings left in the United States by the early Spaniards.”

19. Church in a Hill(Luxembourg)

(Image credits: Martin LaBar (going on hiatus))

This church is built into the hillside on which it perches. One of the reasons the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has survived as an independent state for a thousand years against such powerful neighbors as Germany and France, is that the area is eminently fortifiable.

20. Church Birdhouse (Greer, South Carolina, USA)

(Image credits: Martin LaBar (going on hiatus))

A colorful birdhouse, made in the shape of a church, hanging on a fence of someones yard in Greer, South Carolina. The bird living in this church must be a bird-priest raising donations  from other birds in a form of seeds.


The first one in France is my favorite but here are two photos that a dear friend emailed me that are spectacular.

This is the Remy Cathredal in Reims, France…beautiful!

Unusual Churches (Part 1)


This post is not about religion, it’s about architecture. Not just architecture, but unusual architecture, and to be more exact – unusual churches. I am sure that there are hundreds and thousands of beautiful churches around the world, but only very very few are so odd, that you would definitely take a camera and take a picture. If you are interested, here’s the list of 20 unusual churches that I found.


1. The Church of Hallgrímur, Reykjavík, Iceland

(Image Credits: Stuck in Customs)

The Church of Hallgrímur is very very unusual, never seen anything like that.

This Lutheran parish church is also a very tall one, reaching 74.5 metres (244 ft) height. It is the fourth tallest architectural structure in Iceland.

It took incredibly long to build it (38 years!) Construction work began in 1945 and ended in 1986.

The Architect of this building is Guðjón Samúelssondesign.

More info: Hallgrímskirkja

2. Cathedral of Brasilia in Brasilia, Brazil

(Image Credits: = xAv =)

(Image Credits: Victor Soares, Agência Brazil)

This is a very famous Cathedral of Brasília designed by Oscar Niemeyer. It looks really modern but somehow childish to me. These columns, having hyperbolic section and weighing 90 t, represent two hands moving upwards to heaven.

The construction was finished in 1970.
More info: Cathedral of Brasília

3. Paoay Church (St. Augustine Parish) in Philippines

(Image Credits: Storm Crypt)

Paoay Church reminds me of Aztec architecture. It looks very massive and strong. The walls of the church are 1.67 meters thick and are supported by 24 carved and massive buttresses.

Its construction started in 1704 and was completed in 1894 by the Augustinian friars led by Fr. Antonio Estavillo.  It is said, that Its construction primarily was intended to withstand earthquakes. And it could test the strength of the walls very soon, because  the church was damaged by an earthquake in 1706 and 1927.

The design of the church is a mixture of Gothic, Oriental and Baroque influence.

4. Duomo (Milan Cathedral) in Italy

(Image Credits: Stuck in Customs)

Duomo looks incredibly tall and majestic. It even has an evil and scary look in this picture. After checking the Wikipedia for more info I found there were more photos of this cathedral, but they don’t look as cool as this photo here. Maybe its just an illusion made by a good photographer that this building is so amazing.

On the other hand, Mark Twain said the following of the Duomo in Milan in his work, Innocents Abroad:
“They say that the Cathedral of Milan is second only to St. Peter’s at Rome. I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands.”

More info: Wikipedia.

5. Church Ruins in Goreme, Turkey

(Image Credits: shapeshift)

The rock cut ruins of a church by persecuted Christians.
Not sure when it was built, but definitely look very ancient. How did those guys carved the inside of these rocks?

The Cappadocia valley, where this church stands, is very popular for its rocks that the people of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia Region carved out to form houses, churches, monasteries.

There are an estimated 150 churches and several monasteries in the canyon between the villages of Ihlara and Selime.

Those rocks are volcanic deposits, so that means they are soft rocks, making it possible to carve such structures.

6. Green church, Buenos Aires, Argentina

(Image Credits: Magda-50)

Don’t have info about this church, nevertheless it’s very unusual. I have never seen a church so green, have you?

Michael: “a parish church in Buenos Aires, Argentina known as the “Huerto de Olivos”, or “Garden of Olives,” most likely a reference Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives”

7. Borgund Stave Church, Lærdal, Norway

(Image Credits: Wikipedia)

Stave churches may have been very usual all over medieval northwestern Europe but now you can only find them in Norway. Well ok, there is one one in Sweden, but nowhere else.

Borgund stave church located in Borgund, Lærdal, Norway is the best preserved of Norway’s 28 extant stave churches. This wooden church, probably built in the end of the 12th century, has not changed structure or had a major reconstruction since the date it was built.

Interesting fact: the church is also featured as a Wonder for the Viking civilization in the video game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings.

8. Paraportiani Church, Mykonos, Greece

(Image Credits: marcelgermain)

I will just cite, what the author of this picture wrote about it:

Paraportianí Church is one of the most famous architectural structures in Greece. Its name means secondary gate, because it was built on the site of one of the gates of the Medieval stone walls. Some parts of this beautiful church date from 1425 and the rest was built during the 16th and 17th centuries. ”

9. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

(Image Credits: Wolfgang Staudt)

I have never seen anything as incredible as this building! Never been to Spain, but if I ever happen to do so, I will definitely include Sangrada Família on the must-see list. I wonder, how does it look in reality?

Sagrada Família is a very massive Roman Catholic basilica under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Construction began in 1882 and continues to this day. A very famous architect Antoni Gaudí worked on the project for over 40 years, devoting the last 15 years of his life entirely to this endeavour.

In the center there is going to be a tower of Jesus Christ, surmounted by a giant cross; the tower’s total height will be 170 m (557,7ft).

There is so much info on this one, that you should check Wikipedia.

10. St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

(Image Credits: Lst1984)

Cathedral of Saint Basil the Blessed , is a multi-tented church which stands on the Red Square in Moscow.

This church looks really cool, because It has very unusual onion domes which look playful and colorful. Sometimes people even say, that they remind them of lollypops.

The cathedral was built in 1555 -1561 by  Ivan IV (a.k.a Ivan the Terrible)  to celebrate  the capture of the Khanate of Kazan.

A legend says that Ivan had the architect, Postnik Yakovlev, blinded to prevent him from building a more magnificent building for anyone else. In fact, Postnik Yakovlev built a number of churches after Saint Basil’s.

More info: Saint Basil’s Cathedral

11. Church in Stykkishólmur, Iceland

(Image Credits: omarrun)

(Image Credits: omarrun)

This church in Iceland looks really weird, like some alien structure. If you have more info on that one, let me know.

Update: It was built in 1990 and the architect is Jón Haraldsson.

12. Basilica de Higuey, Dominican Republic

(Image Credits: Fernando Rossi)

Basilica de Higuey is located in the city of Higuey, Dominican Republic. Its unusual look reminds me of a basket.

The church is one of the most respected monuments of the Dominican Republic. The basilica was inaugurated on January 21, 1971, and was built by French architects.

13. Grace Fellowship Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD, USA

(Image Credits: Derek Farr ( DetroitDerek ))

This strange building is actually a church. Once it was famous for being “Detroit’s most beautiful Chinese-American restaurant”. Later it closed down and became the Omega Baptist Church and then the Grace Fellowship Baptist Church. Located at 265 Baltimore, MD, USA.

14. Las Lajas Cathedral in Colombia

(Image Credits: Jungle_Boy)

(Image Credits: julkastro)

Las Lajas Cathedral looks unusual to me because one side of it seems to be a part of a bridge across the river and the other side rests on the hill. The overall look is really fascinating.

Built in 1916 inside the canyon of the Guaitara river where, according to local legend, the Virgin Mary appeared.

You can find this church in southern Colombian Department of Nariño, municipality of Ipiales, near the border with Ecuador.

15. Jubilee Church in Rome, Italy

(Image Credits: alaninabox)

(Image Credits: alaninabox)

Jubilee Church has very distinctive curved walls which look like sails to me. Designed in 1996 by architect Richard Meier, the church has curved walls which serve the engineering purpose of minimizing thermal peak loads in the interior space.

The walls are made from a special cement, which contain titanium dioxide, so it destroys air pollution.

According to Borgarello “When the titanium dioxide absorbs ultraviolet light, it becomes powerfully reactive, breaking down pollutants that come in contact with the concrete.”

16. St Joseph Ukrainian Catholic Church in Chicago, IL, USA

(Image Credits: Giant Ginkgo)

Maybe I’ll better don’t tell what those domes remind me (haha). Very very unusual looking building I must say. Its massiveness and gray color looks like Soviet architecture. I was amazed when I read that it was actually in USA and not somewhere In Soviet Union.

St. Joseph Ukrainian Catholic church is a is most known for its ultra-modern thirteen gold domed roof symbolizing the twelve apostles and Jesus Christ as the largest center dome.

It is celebrating its 52 years, so it was built in 1956 (if my calculations are right).

More info on Wikipedia: St Joseph Ukrainian Church

17. Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France

(Image Credits: jimgrant)

Someone told that the roof of this building looks like Elvis’ hair.

Informally known as Ronchamp, the chapel of Notre Dame du Haut was completed in 1954 and is considered one of the finest examples of architecture by the late French/Swiss architect Le Corbusier.

Most interesting fact to me is that, when it rains, water pours off the slanted roof onto a fountain, creating a dramatic waterfall.

More info on Wikipedia: Notre Dame du Haut

18. Odd Church in Huntington Beach, CA, USA

(Image Credits: woolennium)

Don’t have info on that one, only this photo and the location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA.

As far as I understand it must be sponsored by Shell, because it has a huge SHELL logo on it (this statement can be absolutely different from the reality). Looks terrible overall.

19. Chapel of St. Gildas, Brittany, France

(Image Credits: Touring Boy)

This church is really odd one, sorry I have no info on it, only the words of the picture author: “This was on the canal to Carnac. Really odd church in the (seeming) middle of nowhere. ”

Mads: “This is the chapel of St-Gildas, which sits upon the bank of the Canal du Blavet in Brittany, France. “Built like a stone barn into the base of a bare rocky cliff, this was once a holy place of the Druids. Gildas appears to have travelled widely throughout the Celtic world of Corwall, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. He arrived in Brittany in about AD 540 and is said to have preached Christianity to the people from a rough pulpit, now contained within the chapel.” (from ‘Cruising French Waterways’ by Hugh McKnight p.150)”

20. Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

(Image Credits: Phillie Casablanca)

Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro looks like a Pyramid of Egypt or Aztecs.

It was built between 1964 and 1979. Conical in form it has internal diameter of 96 metres (315 ft) and an overall height of 75 metres (246 ft).  The church has a standing-room capacity of 20,000 people.

Four rectilinear stained glass windows soar 64 metres (210 ft) from floor to ceiling.


Beautiful Places Around the World…Only in my Dreams

Since I will probably never get the chance to visit any of these places, these images bring a glimpse of them to me.

My favorite is the one of the North Pole.  Enjoy the photos and let me know if any of you have been to any of these places.

Boldt Castle on Heart Island

We live in what is called the "Thousand Islands Region" which  covers the Canadian and Northen New York Border.  As you are crossing over the bridge that connects New York to Canada, you can see all of these islands along the St. Lawrence Seaway…truly for the rich and famous.  Each of the grand homes are on their own little island accessible only by boat.  One of the homes is the "House of Seven Gables", however the highlight of them all is on Heart Island where you will find the famous Boldt Castle.  We have been there several times as it is only a 1/2 hour drive.  We have gone by private boat as well as the boat tour and spent many hours both outside and inside the castle.  It is truly breathtaking and the story of the castle is heartbreaking and tragic.  I thought some of you might enjoy the history and photos and if you are ever in the Thousand Islands Region, this is a stop worth making.

Brief History. . .

At the turn-of-the-century, George C. Boldt, millionaire proprietor of the world famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, set out to build a full size rhineland castle in Alexandria Bay, on picturesque Heart Island.  The grandiose structure was to be a display of his love for his wife, Louise.

Beginning in 1900, Boldt’s family shared four glorious summers on the island in the Alster Tower while 300 workers including stonemasons, carpenters, and artists fashioned the six story, 120 room castle, complete with tunnels, a powerhouse, Italian gardens, a drawbridge, and a dove cote. Not a single detail or expense was spared.

In 1904, tragedy struck. Boldt telegraphed the island and commanded the workers to immediately "stop all construction." Louise had died suddenly. A broken hearted Boldt could not imagine his dream castle without his beloved. Boldt never returned to the island, leaving behind the structure as a monument of his love.

For 73 years, the castle and various stone structures were left to the mercy of the wind, rain, ice, snow and vandals. When the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the property in 1977, it was decided that through the use of all net revenues from the castle operation it would be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.