吟游诗人的安息之地 Resting place of the Bard
World Poetry Day
'How like a winter hath my absence been / From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! / What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! / What old December's bareness everywhere!'
So begins William Shakespeare's chilly Sonnet 97. Today we celebrate World Poetry Day with a wintry look at the final resting spot of Shakespeare: Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. Though he was better known for his plays, the Bard of Avon began his literary life as a poet, penning 154 sonnets in total. The first 126 are addressed to a 'fair youth,' the final 28 to a mistress known as the 'Dark Lady.'
UNESCO created World Poetry Day with the aim of 'supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.' The day was long celebrated on October 15 to honor Roman poet laureate Virgil on his birthday, and many countries continue to mark the occasion on that day. There's never a bad day to indulge in the poetry of Dickinson, Neruda, Angelou, or whoever's writing stirs your heart.
一个神圣的愿望孕育了第一个小教堂 A saintly vision inspired the first chapel
The stunning sight of Mont-Saint-Michel rising out of the bay is unforgettable. And visiting the island will be too, if you time it right. The paved causeway is accessible only when the tide is out; otherwise, you're at the mercy of the muddy flats, dangerous quicksand, and the quickly rising tide.
Today's visitors are following in the footsteps of pilgrims who for centuries traversed Europe to pray at the sacred site. The local bishop of Avranches built a chapel on this rock in 708 after the archangel St. Michael visited him in a dream, and the rest, as they say, is history. Now the island, half a mile off the coast of Normandy in northwestern France, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its permanent population is fewer than 50 people, including a dozen or so monks and nuns, but more than 3 million visitors cross over to the island most years.
The Hermitage of Santa Justa
Today's image brings us to Cantabria, a rugged region on the north coast of Spain. To reach this isolated stone hut, you'll need to wait until the frothing waters of the Bay of Biscay hit low tide, then traverse a silty path to the structure's façade. Peering in the windows, you'll see a cavernous room adorned with shrines—the long-abandoned living quarters of a religious hermit who dwelt here in the 8th century. Not your typical waterfront condo, but hey, it's cozy.
Who left the tub running?
'Sound II,' this sculpture by Antony Gormley, has stood here in the oft-flooded crypt of Winchester Cathedral in the south of England since 1986—not trying to get a plumber on the horn, but quietly standing guard and studying the water in its cupped hands. Elsewhere in the cathedral you'll find another notable statue: The likeness of William 'Diver Bill' Walker, a local hero who—for six years starting in 1906—worked alone in a heavy diving suit to shore up the increasingly flooded structure as it threatened to sink into the boggy soil beneath. Nowadays it's stable, but the lowest level still sees its share of standing water during rainy periods.
We're here on the feast day of Swithin (sometimes spelled Swithun), the 9th-century bishop who's now venerated as patron saint of the cathedral. But St. Swithin is most commonly name-dropped in an old weather proverb that begins, 'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain, for 40 days it will remain.'
The good news: 'St. Swithin's day if thou be fair, for 40 days 'twill rain nae mare.' But if this all just sounds like hooey to you, try today's quiz and see if you think any other weather folklore holds water.
Looking for peace on the precipice
The Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona sits on an outcropping almost 2,500 feet high overlooking the Adige River Valley in Northern Italy, near the city of Verona. Since the Middle Ages, this spot has been a destination for religious pilgrimages. The faithful are drawn no doubt by the views and, perhaps, the dangerous path to get there--enlightenment shouldn't come easy.
Over the centuries, the structure has evolved from a hermitage to a church, first inaugurated in 1530, and eventually to a sanctuary for contemplation and reflection. In the mid-1970s, architect Guido Tisato oversaw a major renovation, including digging out more of the mountain to add additional space. Today, visitors can reach the sanctuary from above via a paved path or from below, on a longer trail, known as the 'Path of Hope,' that ends with a steep staircase zigzagging upward. We think those who manage the climb up may be justified in feeling a little superior.
A midsummer twilight's dream
The Russian language classifies light and dark shades of blue as separate colors—which comes in especially handy if you venture north to Saint Petersburg in midsummer. The seaport metropolis sits less than 500 miles outside the Arctic Circle, so at the height of summer, the twilit 'blue hour' coveted by photographers lasts virtually all night long as the sun hovers just below the horizon. It's a phenomenon dubbed the 'White Nights' and it usually lasts from mid-June 11 to early July.
This particular view peers past the dark blue ('siniy') waters of the Griboyedov Canal at the dramatically named Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. Framed against a light blue ('goluboi') sky, the church's colorful exterior is almost as dazzling as the motley mosaics covering the walls inside. The Griboyedov Canal, cutting south and west through a district dense with museums, theaters, and parks, is part of Saint Petersburg's intricate system of man-made waterways that earn the city one of its nicknames: 'Venice of the North.'
The Millennium at 20
The view you're seeing was first made possible exactly 20 years ago, but a photo from the same spot on June 10, 2000, might've come out a tad blurry. That's because when the London Millennium Bridge opened to flocks of pedestrians on that date, it wobbled so much it was closed after just two days. But the bridge reopened with improvements in 2002, and today it's stable in terms of not only lateral g-force but also photo-op popularity.
Famous for its hodgepodge of bleeding-edge design and preserved historic architecture, the London cityscape is full of anachronistic scenes like this. The bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral, seen a few blocks north across the Thames, were built about 300 years apart (just a fraction of London's nearly 2,000-year history). If we could about-face, the contrast of eras would be even more pronounced: Behind us near the bridge's south end lies a reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre neighboring the Tate Modern, an art museum converted from a mid-20th-century power plant.
A hermitage with a view
If this vivid landscape has you feeling pulled into the photo, take a deep breath before you look right or left. Or maybe just fix your gaze on the medieval brick ruin ahead—the Hermitage of La Pertusa in northern Catalonia, Spain. Glance sideways and you'll be greeted by sheer vertical drops to the basin of the Canelles Reservoir, across which lies the region of Aragon—historically a powerful kingdom that ruled Catalonia and much of the Mediterranean.
An actual visit to this spot would require traversing a steep, rocky trail to the narrow outcrop that hosts the hermitage, once the chapel of a long-collapsed Romanesque castle. But imagine the reward: a vista of the beauty Catalonia offers beyond busy Barcelona.