Masters of the Loom: the Weavers of Chinchero

It was at an oxygen-starved altitude of 12,300 ft (3,800 m) that I got my first headaches. Higher than even nearby Cusco, the town of Chinchero in Urubamba province has nights so cold at this time of year that my home-stay host family of Paulino and Vilma Quillahuaman put seven woven blanket layers on the bed.... Continue Reading →

Mana Nalu Mural Project (Honolulu, HI)

In the middle of Ala Moana (between the shopping center and Ward Center) is a mural painted on the side of a building. Like many murals, you wouldn't notice it unless you're oriented correctly. It was difficult for us even when we were looking for it. The work is a masterpiece of trompe l'oeil as... Continue Reading →

Pottery of Mata Ortiz

In 1976, an American anthropologist, Spencer MacCallum, sought out and found Juan Quezada, a potter in Mata Ortiz, a small town in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, approximately 100 miles south of the U.S. border. Years earlier, he had been impressed with and purchased one of Quezada's pieces at a general store and began a... Continue Reading →

Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park (outside Santa Barbara, CA)

The Chumash Indians were the dominant people in a portion of southern California that includes Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. They left behind many examples of rock art throughout this region. The most accessible site is Chumash Painted Cave State Park, just off State Hwy 154. The pictographs, done in red and... Continue Reading →

St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican, Italy)

After dinner, the tour group returned to Vatican City to see arguably the most famous church in all of Christendom. Huge throngs of people were already flooding St. Peter's Square. Burial site for its namesake and numerous popes as well as papal basilica, St. Peter's Basilica is not only a destination for the Catholic faithful... Continue Reading →

The Sistine Chapel (Vatican, Italy)

The Sistine Chapel, whose ceiling is adorned with the fresco masterpieces painted by Michelangelo, outside of being the site of Papal conclaves, is more than a destination for tourists. It is arguably one of the great achievements of Renaissance art, even more remarkable for the fact that Michelangelo really didn't want to do it even... Continue Reading →

Siena Duomo (Italy)

The most striking and imposing architecture in Siena is its Duomo. We were taken there by our guide Annalisa. After some background information, she left us there to explore it on our own. Like any religious structure of this size, it took many years to complete. It's difficult not to be impressed by its scale,... Continue Reading →

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