Friday, April 18, 2014

Gold Butterfly

Butterflies are abundant in Costa Rica, many of them  large and colorful.  The indigenous cultures centuries ago evidently admired the butterflies as well, as reflected by this specimens in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum in San Jose.

This week we have photos from the Galapagos posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gold Lobster Designs

These gold objects in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum all have a lobster motif.  This is consistent with the location of the culture on the Nicoya Peninsula of northwest Costa Rica.

We continue to have lobster in the area today.  In fact, the beach where one of our two condos is located is Playa Langosta, which translates as Lobster Beach.  We occasionally see local fisherman with a few lobsters, and some of the local restaurants have local lobsters on the menu.  It appears that the native Americans enjoyed lobsters 1,000 years ago as much as we do today.


This week we have photos from the Galapagos posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jaguar Vase

This is another of the pre-Columbian ceramics in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.  This is a tripod vase with a jaguar motif.   The creativity and skill of the indigenous culture is indeed impressive.  Most of the ceramics on display in the museum came from the Nicoya peninsula in northwest Costa Rica, where Tamarindo is located.

This week we have photos from the Galapagos posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gold Bat

I don't know what thought process or dialogue went into the selection process for animal subjects of pre-Columbian gold objects.  I would not think that bats would be high on the list, but this bat looks rather friendly.  In fact, his face looks almost cartoonish.

This week we have photos from the Galapagos posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Gold Lizard

A few days ago I showed a gold frog from the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.  This is a gold lizard, or perhaps it is an iguana.

I guess it should not be a surprise that they would make gold jewelry in the shape of the animals around them.   Can you guess what other animals they might have used as subjects for their art?  I will show some additional examples in the days ahead.

This week we have photos from the Galapagos posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pre-Columbian Chorotega style pottery

Costa Rica is known for its eco-tourism and not for its pre-Columbian culture, but this vase is an example of a pre-Columbian culture that has survived.  This vase in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum in San Jose is similar in design and coloration to the Chorotega pottery that is made today in Guatil and nearby communities not far from Tamarindo.

I have shown modern examples of chorotega pottery in earlier posts, which can be seen by using this link.  There is even a store in Tamarindo that teaches visitors how to make their own chorotega pottery as souvenirs to take home.
 
Today is Sunday, so we have new photos posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.  This week we are showing some additional photos form our recent trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Gold Jewelry

This exhibit in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum showed how and where some of the items of gold jewelry were worn, such as the necklace that I showed yesterday.  For people who must have been challenged just to meet the basic necessities of life, they evidently prized jewelry and adornment.

This week we have photos of the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Gold Necklace

This is a gold necklace in the San Jose Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.  The second object must also have been something that the native Americans wore, but I am not sure exactly what it is.

This week we have photos of the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pre-Columbian Gold Frog

This is a gold frog in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.  One of the things that amazed me about the museum's collection, in addition to the skill and artistry of those who created the items, was how the artists were inspired by the animals of Costa Rica.

People come to Costa Rica today because of the popularity of ecotourism and the wildlife and natural beauty of Costa Rica.  The pre-Columbian cultures also admired the wildlife.

This week we have photos of the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jaguar Metate

I have seen several Costa Rican jaguar metates before in museums in the USA, so I was very interested to see this one in the Gold Museum in San Jose.  These are from the time period of 1,000 A.D. - 1350 A.D.

This week we have photos of the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gold Anthropomorphic Figure

Just inside the door to the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum was this spectacular part human-part animal figure.

One curious aspect of the very impressive and extensive collection of pre-Columbian gold is the source of the gold.  Costa Rica did not have gold mining.  Columbus named Costa Rica the "rich coast" because the Native Americans who greeted him there appeared rich because of their gold.  But the gold came from elsewhere.

After  the Spanish realized that Costa Rica did not have gold or silver, they largely ignored it, but they did send indigenous Costa Ricans to Peru to work as slaves in the silver mines.  Costa Rica is the only country in Latin America without a liberator.  It never had a struggle for liberation.  When Spain granted independence to Nicaragua, it abandoned its sovereignty over Costa Rica as well.

This week we have photos of the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Entrance to Pre-Columbian Gold Museum

Inside the large underground art museum was a vault-like door that is the entrance to the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.  It is a museum within a museum.

Maybe the underground location of the museum, besides creating space for a plaza above ground, was also considered a good design for security reasons.  Art thieves can't break in or out of windows if there are no windows.

I will show photos of the collection beginning tomorrow.

This week we have photos of the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Art of Lola Fernandez

When we visited the museum, they had an exhibition featuring the art of Lola Fernandez.  She was born in Cartagena, Columbia, in 1926, but her family moved to Costa Rica within her first few years.

The big, bold figures in the paintings in this photo are typical of her style.  She was featured in exhibitions in Costa Rica as well as elsewhere in Latin America, the U.S., Europe and Japan in the 1980's and 1990's.  She continued painting into the 21st Century.

Costa Rica's High Ranking on international Social Progress Index.  The Tico Times newspaper has an article about Costa Rica ranking number 1 in Latin America and 25 of 132 countries ranked on a Social Progress Index that measures fulfillment of basic human needs, such as medical care, education, nutrition, clean water, personal safety, human rights, tolerance, etc.  Its ranking was comparable to Italy and Spain, even though those countries had higher economic output per person.  The USA ranked number 16.  New Zealand was first.  Costa Rica's ranking was due in part to especially high rankings in nutrition, water, sanitation and opportunity.

Today is Sunday, so we have new photos posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.  This week we are showing photos of the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Museum Staircase

An underground museum does not have architecture that is visible from the outside, but it does have interior architecture.

The central staircase in San Jose's underground museum complex has a broad spiral staircase.  Perhaps the architect was inspired by /frank Lloyd Wright's design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

I will show some photos of parts of the collection in the days ahead.

This week we are showing photos of the Sydney Opera House  on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Inside the Art Museum

I wasn't sure how I would feel about an art museum entirely underground, but the Costa Rican art museum was spacious enough that it did not feel claustrophobic.

I suppose the underground museum has the benefit that there would not be sunlight that could fade the art work.

This week we are showing photos of the Sydney Opera House  on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Entrance to the Museums of (1) Pre-Columbian Gold, (2) Art, and (3) Coins

Under the plaza next to the National Theater are three museums.  This is the entrance, but the museums are entirely underground.

There is a Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, whose collection is broader than gold, an Art Museum, and a Coin Museum.  We visited the
Gold Museum and the Art Museum, and I will show some photos from them during the coming weeks.

This week we are showing photos of the Sydney Opera House  on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What is under the plaza next to the National Theater?

This is a view of the plaza next to the National Theater, which is on the left of this photo.  In the coming days I will show what is under the plaza.  This is the entrance.

I have seen photos reflecting that they sometimes use the sunken part of the plaza shown here as an area for outdoor concerts.

This week we are showing photos of the Sydney Opera House  on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Michael Landon's Former Costa Rican House -- Theme Day for "Triangles"

The worldwide Daily Photo theme for April 1 is "triangles."  When I learned of the theme, I immediately thought of this triangular house in a valley near San Jose.

This house used to belong to the late Michael Landon, the TV star of Bonanza and Little House on the prairie.  I am sure Michael Landon enjoyed his time in the quiet, relaxing atmosphere of his Costa Rican retreat, with pleasant temperatures year round and a lush, green landscape.

This week we are showing photos of the Sydney Opera House  on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

To see how other City Daily Photo blogers have interpreted the theme of "triangles," click on this link.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Plaza Next to the National Theater

This photo shows a plaza located next to the National Theater.  The most notable aspect of this plaza is what is underneath it, which I will show in the coming days.

Downtown San Jose is not considered a major draw for tourism.  The architecture of the city center is primarily that of a 20th Century business district, not a charming Spanish colonial town.  That is because San Jose was not a major city during Spanish Colonial times.

The Spanish largely ignored Costa Rica after they determined that it lacked large deposits of gold or silver.   They did not build major cities with architectural features that would draw tourists today.

Instead, the local population was almost wiped out by disease, leaving a country that developed through small farmers growing fruits, vegetables, coffee and, beginning in the late 1800's, large banana plantations.  

On our first visit to Costa Rica in 2005, we took a tour of the country that started in San Jose.  The tour company selected a hotel located in an affluent suburb and we visited places in the surrounding area, but downtown San Jose was not part of the itinerary.  Since that first trip, we have always flown into the Liberia airport and did not return to San Jose until a trip about a year ago.  We were pleased to find attractions worth visiting.

This week we are showing photos of the Sydney Opera House  on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

National Theater Entrance

Here is one final photo of the National Theater, showing its ornate front entrance.  Money from Costa Rican coffee exports enabled such an ornate building to be constructed in the 1890's in a city of less than 20,000 people at the time.

I mentioned that President Obama spoke here last May, so I will share a little additional political news.  Costa Rica voted in favor of a U.N. resolution to condemn the Russian annexation of Crimea.

This is a subject of particular importance to Costa Rica because it does not have a military and relies instead upon international law for protection from its aggressive and militaristic neighbor to the north, Nicaragua.

Nicaragua voted against the U.N. resolution that declared Russia's annexation of Crimea to be a violation of inernational law.  This has caused concern within Costa RIca because Costa Rica has submittted to the World Court Nicaragua's incursions into Costa Rica.  Cosgta Rica hopesnatoi to resolve such matters through inyernational law because Costa Rica renounced the use of military means to resolve disputes more than 60 years ago.

This week we are showing photos of the Sydney Opera House  on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

National Theater Statuary, and a mistake in composition

This is a view of some of the statuary, both contemporary and classical, in front of the National Theater.  The statue against the building is of Beethoven.

I took this photo too quickly.  I poked my cameral through the iron fence and snapped the photo.  I violated one of the cardinal rules of photographic composition.  I neglected to check the edges and corners before taking my photo.

If I had done so, I would have noticed the modern building and light pole at the left edge.  If I had just moved a couple of steps to the left, I could have taken the photo with only the Theater in the background of the front statue, without the distraction of the modern building in the background.  Compounding this error, if I had moved to the left I also could have aligned the two statues so they would be closer to one another.

Thank you for being my therapist by reading this as I vent my feelings upon looking at this photo.

This week we are showing photos of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina, on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The National Theater from inside the rail

This is a closer view of Costa Rica's National Theater.  It was constructed in the 1890's when the population of San Jose was just under 20,000 people.  Quite an ambitious achievement for so small a city!

The interior is very ornate.  It is used for the symphony and other artistic performances.  When President Obama visited Costa Rica in May last year, his address to a gathering of Central American economic leaders was held in the National Theater.

This week we are showing photos of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina, on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The National Theater

Costa Rica's National Theater in downtown San Jose is a point of pride.  It is an architectural copy of the Paris Opera House.

I will show photos from downtown San Jose in the coming weeks.

This week we are showing photos of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina, on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The bird showed his profile 7 seconds later

The information recorded with my photos reflects that I took this photo exactly 7 seconds after taking the photo that I posted yesterday.  Fortunately, the bird turned his head to reveal his profile so I could get this photo.

I looked in my Birds of Costa Rica book, but could not find a bird that looks exactly like this.  This bird's head looks like a female hairy woodpecker with the black and white stripes, but the face should be black rather than brown, and the beak is not as pointed as it should be for a woodpecker.

This week we are showing photos of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina, on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A bird on our balcony rail in the morning

On the morning after my walk from the Marriott Hotel that I have shown during the pst couple of weeks, I opened the curtains of our hotel room and a few minutes later this bird landed on the railing outside the window.

Naturally, I reached for my camera hoping to get a close bird photo before he flew away.  I took this photo without waiting to see if he would turn his head to reveal his face.

This week we are showing photos of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina, on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Monday, March 24, 2014

San Jose Sunset

I took this photo from the same place as the photo I posted yesterday.  Yesterday's photo was early in the sunset, and I waited for a late sunset view across the roofline for this photo.

We get spoiled with vibrant, stunning sunsets on the beach in Tamarindo, but apparently they have good sunsets in San Jose as well.

This week we are showing photos of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina, on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Getting ready for sunset

Our room at the Marriott overlooked the pool and gardens, but was not positioned to have a view of the sunset.

So, after my walk around the area, I walked up to to top floor  to find a spot from which I could get a sunset view.  I picked this spot above the main courtyard of the hotel.

Tomorrow and the following day I will show whether this was worth the effort.

Today is Sunday, so we have new photos posted on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.  This week we are showing photos of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Back at the San Jose Marriott Hotel

After my walk throughout the area around the Marriott Hotel near the San Jose airport, including the Mormon Temple and cemetery that I have shown during the last few weeks, I returned to the hotel.

I showed the late afternoon sky as I left the cemetery, so I hustled back to the hotel to see if I could catch the  sunset from the hotel.

It is very late afternoon in this photo, and tomorrow I will show the developing sunset.

This week, in recognition of St. Patrick's Day on Monday, we have posted photos of Dublin, Ireland, on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Mormon Church behind the Temple

I have been showing some photos of the Mormon Temple that I encountered on my walk from the San Jose Marriott, focusing on the traditional Angel Moroni that sits atop the temple.  This is a photo of the Mormon Church that is tucked behind the temple.

Only Mormons who have been baptized and are otherwise prepared and qualified to go inside the temple are allowed in the temple, but everyone can attend the church.

This week, in recognition of St. Patrick's Day on Monday, we have posted photos of Dublin, Ireland, on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A closer view of the Angel Moroni

Here is another view of the Angel Moroni against a backdrop of a dramatic, late afternoon sky above the Mormon Temple in suburban San Jose.

This week, in recognition of St. Patrick's Day on Monday, we have posted photos of Dublin, Ireland, on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.
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