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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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December 01, 2014

Better late than never, I guess!

After I got back to the states, I stayed for a bit with each of the kids.  While I was at January's, we decided we would go to Catholic University of America's basilica - the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception - and see the mosaics there - well, and the whole cathedral, of course, but it's pretty much covered in mosaics.  It was interesting to see the mosaics here after having so recently seen so many centuries-old mosaics in Italy.   Those in the basilica are quite modern for the most part and some appealed to me more than others.  I took lots of pictures with the phone, none of which were any good and I was disappointed because I had wanted to have a final "tourist" post for my blog.  Then I looked at January's and liked all of hers, also taken with her phone, but also with a much steadier hand.  So I asked her if I could use some of hers and that was fine with her.  But then we both kept forgetting - I'd remember and remind her to send them, she'd say okay and forget to send them, I'd forget I was waiting for them, and so on and so on.

At any rate, I finally got them, along with a nice little list of facts about the basilica and a suggestion that I go to their website to get more information.  At this very late date, I'm not going to do that, but I will put a link to the website HERE.  And I will copy and paste her list for some fast facts.  Then, the pictures...

The Basilica has seventy(!) chapels and oratories
It is the eighth largest churches in the world(and the largest Catholic church in America)
The interior of the Basilica currently includes 75,545 square feet of mosaic and they're still not finished
The arches in the Crypt Church are supported by 10-ton granite columns
The Crypt Church is modeled on ancient Christian catacombs
The beautiful ceramic work in the Crypt Church was done by an artist named Mary Chase Stratton

Now for the photos she sent me.  She loves the crypt and so took a number of pictures there.  Plus, she was the one who chose what to send me and I think she was probably too judgmental - I liked all the pictures she took. :)

This first one is the ceiling dome in the Our Lady of the Rosary chapel.  The next four are of some of the ceramic plaques in the Crypt Chapel.

 And this last one is Mary, Queen of Ireland.  It's not a chapel, just a very lovely, tranquil "spot" (maybe these are oratories?).  There are many countries who have contributed "spots" with their statues, paintings, etc., of their Mary's.
Now I'll post some of mine which as stated are not good - my shaky hands are really creating problems with photo taking - especially with my phone.  But I'm posting these because they may give some idea of the huge size of this basilica.  This first one is as much as I could get in the picture of one side of the sanctuary. 

 I noticed that in most places that had column supports, different marbles were used for each column.
 A portion of the Crypt Chapel showing the organ.
 A really skinny picture, but I got the whole column into the frame with January as a height comparison
And two more different marble columns.  I really liked the idea of using the different marbles.

So that was a nice ending to a lot of sightseeing.  No huge crowds, no hassle getting to the basilica and enjoying it with my daughter.

Getting all the way home to Huntington was sure nice, aside from being faced with various and sundry condo association problems.  I've done a fair amount of cooking, had a real nice dinner at The Bistro, a restaurant that I treat myself to just every now and then, my first week home saw and/or talked with all my friends, all of which added to my pleasure at being back.

Now it's getting close to Christmas and this year I'll be headed to DC a fair amount earlier than usual cause Chris called to see if I'd like a ticket to see the Nutcracker ballet on the 17th or 18th as an early Christmas present.  He's never seen it and even though I've seen it I think about five times over the years, I'm always willing to see it again.

If I don't post again before the holidays, I hope anyone and everyone reading this has a wonderful holiday season however they may happen to celebrate - Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, winter solstice, or any others I don't even know about!   And having written that, it made me curious so I Googled December religious holidays and discovered it's a very busy month for many different faiths.  If you'd like to read about it just click HERE.


Diane Adams said...

What a huge place that basilica is. The pics you said were yours looked fine to me. I so enjoyed reading about your trip and looking at all the wonderful pictures.

Christopher said...

A nice wrap up for your travels, visiting another structure here, but with roots in Italy. Looking forward to our early Christmas, and of course, New Year's dinner!

Chinch said...

Enjoyed the pics and also the links to the basilica and the December holidays, not that I looked all the way through either one and between going to Marysville and early to DC, we'd better talk soon to catch up. I'll try to give you a call in the morning. xoxo

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