Bolivian Architecture: Aymara Exuberant

We couldn’t help but notice the houses built on top of apartment buildings near the airport in El Alto, on the plain above La Paz, Bolivia, since they are brightly colored and decorated like casinos. The more we found out, the more fascinated we became. These buildings are considered “Neo-andino” architecture by some, and areContinue reading “Bolivian Architecture: Aymara Exuberant”

Irish Houses

As you drive around the Republic of Ireland, you notice only variations on a single house type. Abandoned Cottage                                              Occupied cottage Architecture in Ireland appears to take a simple cottage as the basic model for all housing. There are hundreds of abandoned cottages (L), and there are many restored, rebuilt, or new cottages (R). SomeContinue reading “Irish Houses”

Scottish Castles and then some

Southern Scotland is full of castles. How do you choose which ones to visit? After I realized that we couldn’t visit them all, we chose a couple from a range of time periods to see whether we can see any changes over time. What I found is that castles didn’t change much between the 12thContinue reading “Scottish Castles and then some”

First impressions of Edinburgh

Edinburgh is as green as anywhere you can imagine. Yes, it has been raining, sometimes heavily, but the payoff is that the gardens are beautiful and the flowers in perfect bloom. We’ve arrived in Scotland at an unusual time. The Brexit vote was just over a week ago, and like many others, we were unpreparedContinue reading “First impressions of Edinburgh”

Tile is everywhere in Portugal

We’ve seen a lot of decorative tile in Portugal. It covers many buildings, sometimes as an overall pattern: exterior walls, interior walls, decorative wainscoting, decorative details. Sometimes there are scenes created from tile. The Porto train station is one such place, Here is a church that is completely tiled with religious scenes on the exteriorContinue reading “Tile is everywhere in Portugal”

Empedrada is underfoot in Portugal

Empedrada is a particular kind of square cobblestone surface that is found all over Portugal. The material tends to be a uniform pale color and it covers lots of sidewalk and many public plazas, private patios and even streets. Contrasting designs are made with black stone, and very rarely colors. There are some typical patternsContinue reading “Empedrada is underfoot in Portugal”