Part 1...Churches as a integral part of sightseeing throughout the world...


San Rafael Archangel Parish located in Atenas center of town, across from the park.
"Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica"
A few workers stopped by to help Ulysses with a landscaping project.
As we've traveled the world over these past years, it's inevitable that we continue to visit one church after another.  Actually, its highly unlikely to tour cities, towns, and villages without stopping to revel in the architecture and ambiance of churches of many denominations.

The Parochial school at the church.
Often churches are the only remaining historic buildings in many locations that were ravaged by wars and uprisings throughout the millennium, leaving this element of history one can hardly ignore.
Several parishioners were praying when we entered the church in Atenas.
Even those of a variety of faiths or no faith whatsoever can find themselves entranced by the beauty and significance of these historical buildings especially when involved in a specific tour when traveling in a group, on one's own or as part of a tour during a port of call while cruising. 
Long view of the altar at San Rafael in Atenas Costa Rica.
We can't say that any particular church we've visited had more of an impact on us than others throughout the world.  We loved Sagrada Familia in Barcelona in May 2013 and its amazing history of being under construction for the past 100 years.  See photo below along with our link here.
Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain has been under construction for the past 100+ years.

Then again, we were equally excited to see the church in Bampton, England in August 2014 where the church scenes in Downton Abbey were filmed. 
Having loved the British TV series, it was quite a thrill to see the church where characters Mary and Matthew were married and eventually where he was buried in the church cemetery.  See photo below along with our link here.

This is St. Mary's church in Bampton, known as Church of St. Michael of All Angels, as shown in the TV series, Downton Abbey, where Mary married Matthew, Edith was jilted at the altar and eventually Matthew was buried.
Another outstanding religious structure, The White Mosque in Dubai in May 2013, left us breathless over its beauty and opulence.  Here's our link including photos of us wearing the required clothing to enter, the thobe for Tom and the abaya for me.
As we approached Sheikh Zayed Mosque.  It was difficult, based on its size and location to get a full shot of the mosque's enormity. The link above will clearly depict its full range.
The opportunity to visit these churches and more, which we'll continue in tomorrow's post with links and photos, definitely has left us reeling over the powerful significance and purpose for the people of most countries. 
In other countries other than Costa Rica we've never seen these glass coffins with Jesus.  We assume the representation in this manner is cultural.
At times, while chatting with cruise passengers we may jokingly say, "If we never tour another church, we'll have seen enough to last a lifetime."  But, we say this knowing full-well that day will never come. 
Beautiful wood ceilings in San Rafael in Atenas.
As we continue on our travels, we find ourselves drawn to these structures, not only as a tourist "attraction" and their often architectural beauty but for the powerful purpose they possess in the lives of the local people which in many ways has shaped their lives and over time, ours as well.
Close view of the altar.
Please check back tomorrow for more churches we've explored in our travels, each with a special story of its own and as an integral part of our ongoing world travels.
Crucifix on the grounds of San Rafael in Atenas.
Have a beautiful day, dear readers/friends!
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Photo from one year ago today, September 28, 2016:
Traditional Hindu/Balinese decorations were used in creating the ambiance for dining on the cabana at the resort in Bali.  For more details, please click here.

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