Alaska, Mexico and Beyond…

“One Journey Leads to Another”

Archive for the category “Architecture”

Cee’s Photo Challenge: Contrast Colors

Contrasting colors in Oaxaca? Too easy.  Oaxaca is awash with bold color combinations. It could be the birthplace of color contrasts! A one hour walk around El Centro provided more photo ops than I imagined.  I did not have to find them – they found me!


Click on any photo for a slide show

If you just can’t decide what color to use…why not use them all!


Photo taken in San Martín Tilcajete



Throughout the day and even at sunset, the colors that surround us are intensified by the beautiful Oaxaca blue sky.




HIKING OAXACA: Zegache to Ocotlán

All dressed up for the Day of the Dead festivities, this happy couple greeted us in the village of Zegache, where our hike began.

click on any photo to enlarge it   


The group gathered in front of the spectacular church of Santa Ana Zegache. No matter how many times I visit this church, its vivid colors entice me to take just a few more photos!


We headed out across a  flat and peaceful agricultural valley toward the villages of San Antonino and Ocotlán.  It’s wonderful to see small fields with several  varieties of vegetables instead of gigantic agribusiness farms. People grow many vegetables for sale in local markets, and they use oxen and horses to pull plows and wagons. Farmers in some villages collectively own a tractor and everyone can use it!

Brilliant marigolds and red cockscombs are the favored flowers for Day of the Dead celebrations, and people were cutting them and hauling wagon loads to the cemeteries to use for decorating the graves of their ancestors.


Yet another beautifully painted church in San Antonino



Ocotlán was the home of well known artist Rodolfo Morales, and these are sections of a huge mural he painted behind the portico of the municipal building.

And then… what luck! We spotted a sidewalk mezcal bar and joined some locals for a welcome and unexpected end of hike treat!


For more photos of this and other colorful churches:
For a short biography on Rodolfo Morales:
For interesting information about the saints inside the church:

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Religious Buildings

Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church

Built circa 1895 in Kenai, Alaska


A sign next to this little building across the street reads:

Saint Nicholas Memorial Chapel
Built and Consecrated (1906) over the graves of
Igumen Nicholai (1810-1867) Makary Ivanov (1835-1878) and others.


To view more photos from this challenge click here:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

In Mexico the boldness of orange brightens every part of life – in fact I’m wondering if the Mexican people invented orange!

They love to….




Church in Xalapa, Veracruz

Church in Xalapa, Veracruz


Click on any photo for a larger view




Part of a light show projected onto a church front during Day of the Dead celebrations.

Part of a light show projected onto a church front during Day of the Dead celebrations.


Sierra Norte near the village of Benito Juárez

Orange you glad it’s photo challenge time?

Tlacotalpan, Where is Everybody?

Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, is a small city with a population of almost 9,000. During the 24 hours we spent there, we saw probably less than 50. Where were they? Walking the streets was a bit eerie, as the streets of Mexican towns and cities are usually full of people walking, talking, eating, and laughing. Few stores or businesses were open.  Granted, the blustery gray day wasn’t the best for outdoor activities; apparently they were experiencing a “norte,” the local name for cold fronts from the north that dominate the weather from October to April. Still, I’ve never known a little cold to hamper socializing and shopping!


UNESCO granted World Heritage Site status to Tlacotalpan in 1998 partly due to to its graceful  style of architecture.

Click on any photo in the gallery for a slideshow.

The reason for including colorful arches on the logo is obvious – and if your building doesn’t have arches just paint them on!


A few hardy souls braved the brisk wind!


We strolled the streets and enjoyed the artwork and other intriguing sights, but we never found a hot coffee nor a cold beer!


Street scenes in tile decorated many park benches.



Tlacotalpan is well known for its Feb. 2 festival “Our Lady of Candlemas.” If you are looking for action, I recommend visiting then. But you are welcome anytime!

Travel Theme: Details 2





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To enjoy more details click

Painted Churches

From tiny chapels to immense cathedrals, the colonial era churches of Mexico grace the central zócalo (plaza) of almost every Mexican pueblo and city.

After the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the early 1500’s, the Spaniards began building churches, monasteries, and convents in every corner of Mexico. Some proved too grandiose for the amount of money available and were never finished. Others were destroyed in earthquakes or fell into ruin from neglect. However, many of these splendid structures served their congregations well for hundreds of years and have been lovingly restored and maintained.

The Oaxaca Valley is home to three of my favorites (so far). The architectural style is similar in all three, but their beauty was bestowed upon them by the artists who wielded the paintbrushes.

Saint Ana del Valle

Church of Saint Anne, Santa Ana del Valle

Church of Saint Anne, Santa Ana del Valle

Click on a picture to view as a slide show.

Santo Domingo de Ocotlán

Santo Domingo de Ocotlán: Ceiling

Santo Domingo de Ocotlán: Ceiling

Click on a picture to view as a slide show.

Santa Ana Zegache

Ahhh…I saved the best for last. There is nothing shy about this church!  Perhaps drenching the sculptured details with polychromatic colors was not part of the original designer’s vision, but the church wears them proudly. Looking at it just makes you feel happy.

Church in Santa Ana Zegache

Church in Santa Ana Zegache

Click on a picture to view as a slide show.

Famous Mexican artist Rodolfo Morales (1925 -2001) established a foundation that has provided ongoing work for the people of Zegache while restoring their church and its appointments. Read about this excellent program at www.proyectozegache.comSome Rodolfo Morales paintings are displayed in a museum next to the Santo Domingo Ocotlán church. For information and photos (before and after) of restorations:

Santa Ana Zegache: Interior Entrance

Santa Ana Zegache: Interior Entrance

Click on a picture to view as a slide show.

Mexico City from the Turibus Top

Viewed from the air, the metropolis of Mexico City is awesome in its enormity. Located in the Valley of Mexico at an altitude of approximately 2200 m (7217 ft.), the city embraces the surrounding mountains and creeps up their slopes. The city and its 25,000,000 inhabitants are guarded by (or threatened by!) the active volcano Popocatépetl,  5426 m, (17,802 ft.). Tenochtitlán, the original Aztec city on this site, was conquered by the Spaniards in the early 1500’s, and they eventually rebuilt the city in the Spanish Colonial style.

Downtown Mexico City (Feb. 2012)

Downtown Mexico City (Feb. 2012)

During a recent bus trip from Oaxaca to Colima, we spent a couple of nights in Mexico City. The open top of a double-decker bus was the best way to get an overview of  the historical  city center.  Tree tops shaded us and sometimes brushed our faces as the bus wound through commercial and residential areas. Sleek modern skyscrapers contrast sharply with elaborate styles of the past.

Styles of the Centuries

Styles of the Centuries

Monument to Benito Juárez the only Indigenous president of Mexico

Monument to Benito Juárez the only Indigenous president of Mexico

Winged Horse Statue

Winged Horse Statue

We definitely look forward to exploring Mexico City in more detail!

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