Whether you’re peeking in or peering out, windows around the world can proffer hints about people, places and cultures.
It’s not surprising that travelers and photographers (count us among them!) are universally attracted to windows of different shapes and sizes—ranging from old to new, simple to ornate, translucent to opaque.
Sometimes its the symmetry, patterns, textures, details, colors or decorative elements that catch our eye. More often, it’s an idiosyncratic combination of features that gives a window (or groups of windows) its very own personality. Photographs of windows can offer an interesting background or be the main focus of a photo.
In this collaborative post, we asked some of our blogger colleagues, boomers and beyond, to share some of their favorite windows around the world. Here are a few of them:
Julie Dawn Fox, Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal
I spotted this rustic window in Talasnal, one of several schist villages in the Lousã mountains in central Portugal that are built almost entirely from the surrounding schist rock. This is a perfect example of the harmony between the rust-coloured cottage walls and the wooden frame. I particularly like the two chunky stones above it and the shape of the lintel. Getting to Talasnal involves hiking up a steep track through forested hillsides with views that more than compensate for the effort.
Anita Oliver and Richard Nash, No Particular Place To Go
We found our hands-down favorite for windows with a “wow factor” of ten at the Casa Lleo Morera, corner of Carrer de Consell de Cent and Passeig de Gracia, in Barcelona, Spain. The original structure was built in 1864 and then, in 1902, Francesca Morera hired the renowned architect, Lluís Domènech i Montaner to refurbish the entire building. He in turn commissioned stained glass artists Antoni Rigalt i Blanch and Jeroni F Granell to design and create the huge bay windows of stained glass found in the original dining room. Needless to say we were captivated by the colors and light found in the naturalistic scenes.
Nisha Jha, Lemonicks.com
There is a place called Adalaj stepwell in Ahmedabad. It was built not only to conserve water but was also a place where one could rest during hot summer months due to its cool chambers. What attracted me to this window , was its intricately carved designs. The designs as leaves, flowers, birds, fish, women performing daily chores, and other breathtaking ornamental designs left me awestruck.
Janice Chung, francetravel tips.com
There are so many chateaux in France but the Chateau in Amboise in the Indre-et-Loire, Loire Valley is one of my favourites not only because of the beautiful grounds, but also because this 11th century chateau’s interior has many Renaissance furnishings and colourful windows. I love the fleur de lys symbol and colours. Looking through the window you can see the Loire River. Leonardo da Vinci visited the chateau and is buried in the Saint-Hubert chapel which also has amazing stained glass windows.
Carole Terwilliger Meyers, Discover Berkeley and Beyond
I spied this colorful window, with its deep sill laden with pots of geraniums, on a tour of the Ca’toga Villa–not in Italy, but in the small town of Calistoga in California’s Wine Country in the U.S. This private residence was reconstructed from bits and pieces selected in Italy and then shipped here. “It’s Italy without airlines,” owner-artist Carlo Marchiori, told us. He says he didn’t intend to have an attraction. He started this retirement project 25 years ago on five acres of weedy land. Now, everywhere you look there is something wonderful. Hmmm, maybe I should start a window like this as a retirement project.
Janice Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase.com
You can’t help but look up and gawk at the windows in Split’s Old Town, Croatia. The heart of the Old Town is actually a 1,700-year-old palace, built by the Roman emperor Diocletian. Today, more than 3,000 people live and work within the palace – it’s a tangle of cafés, boutique shops, small hotels, apartments, crumbling temple ruins and museums. Arched windows like this are typical. It was fun imagining who lives behind these windows today. What are their homes like? What are their lives like? And how do they like living within a sprawling old palace?
Josie Schneider, HouseSittingTravel.com
Suzanne Fluhr, Boomeresque
These are some windows from the harem in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. Clearly, they are not meant for anyone to look into or out of. I am sharing these because, unfortunately, it might be awhile before tourists feel confident about visiting this lovely city.
Just a short drive south of the popular lake resort area of Lake Garda in Northern Italy, is the small hamlet of Borghetto. It’s a quiet and scenic town divided by the Mincio river with little shops and restaurants, some of them still connected to the river with turbines. It’s fun to explore the town and see the little details including this window I spotted with dried herbs hanging just outside, ready to be used for some delicious tortellini, a local favorite dish.
Julie McCool, McCoolTravel.com
This round window on our Viking River Cruises longship captures a glimpse of the Danube River and lovely Austrian countryside passing by. While the views are more expansive from staterooms, lounges, dining rooms, and the open top deck, I love how this window exposes a vignette of the journey outside, building anticipation of the coming sights. The lines of the rail seem to underline the horizon, and the round window is nicely echoed by the lifesaver. This longship window beautifully encapsulates the sense of adventure and discovery that are part of every Viking Cruises voyage.
Paula McInerney, Contented Traveller
Maison Kammerzell Restaurant is a legendary and historic restaurant in Strasbourg, in the Alsace region of France. The restaurant is housed in a beautiful building that was built in 1427, and stands next to the equally amazing Notre Dame Cathedral; itself a work of art. There are 74 bottle bottom stained glass windows throughout the restaurant, each telling a story of the Alsace region. The stained glass windows shed unusual lights throughout the restaurant, and is a wonderful setting to dine, in a city that I loved.
Howard Blount, Backroad Planet
I was driving on a winding backroad near my cabin in the North Georgia Mountains when I caught sight of a red barn situated not too far off the road. I took several shots of the old barn from various angles, but then something about the row of windows lining the side wall captured my attention and drew me in. The juxtaposition of weathered boards, faded color, and peeling paint lent a rustic beauty to the barn both up close and from afar.
Gordon Arthur, Travel Bloguer
The heritage listed Wollongong Lighthouse was constructed in 1936 to man the very busy waterways of the Tasman Sea. The 12-meter or 40-feet high lighthouse stands up on top of a cliff. It is synonymous with the city that we live in, which is Wollongong on the south coast of NSW, Australia. From the window where the beacon shone over the Tasman Sea, the lighthouse keeper would have kept watch over the comings and goings of the shipping fleets. These were synonymous with the steel and the timber industries of this region. The window is significant as it kept a vigilant watch over the city’s growth. Now, it is a popular venue for Pokemon players, romantics, and a place to enjoy the spectacular coastal views.
Jackie Smith, travelnwrite.com
Trahilia is a village quite literally at the end of a road in The Mani. You follow a narrow road that in places seems to hang from the cliffside over the sea to get there. It’s a tranquil – almost deserted – village during the winter months with less than a handful of full-time residents. Its two tavernas open in the spring just before Greek Easter and operate through the summer months; those are the seasons the village comes to life – when younger Greeks return to generations-old family homes. It was an early spring day when we visited and this window seemed to announce the season’s arrival.
Jürgen Klein, dare2go.com
You don’t necessarily need to have a stylish window to start with; this rather ordinary aluminium framed window has been turned into an eye-catching feature of the facade. The photo is from a small mountain town in El Salvador, called La Palma. Most buildings in the town are decorated with some ornamental painting around their doors and windows, giving it a cheerful and friendly appearance.
Elizabeth R. Rose, Travel Writer Rants and Raves
Acoma Pueblo’s ancient Sky City is situated on a 370-foot high mesa. This is the traditional homeland for the Acoma people. There are 300 homes and structures on the mesa. Hour-long guided tours take visitors to this amazing place. You will see the ancient Pueblo, the Mission and have a chance to shop for Acoma pottery. Toward the end of the tour you will stop to see this window, Acoma Pueblo’s Ancient Mica Window, the only one remaining at Sky City. The guide explains that before there were glass windows, their ancestors still desired some light in their adobe homes and used natural mica, although some say it is actually gypsum.
Billie Frank, Santa Fe Travelers
I had to take this shot of San Francisco looking out the window in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We were having brunch at El Pegaso, in El Centro. I was on my way to the loo, which was upstairs. This is what greeted me as I got to the top of the staircase. It was so compelling I had to go back and get the camera. Every time I look at this photo I wonder what the gentle saint was thinking as he looked out the window.
*All photos were taken by the respective bloggers. Click on the links to read more about their travels or to sign up for their newsletters.
Also on the Web:
- Windows of the World: The incredible work of Portuguese photographer Andre Vicente Goncalves
OUR PHOTO GALLERY OF MORE THAN 30 OTHER WINDOWS AROUND THE WORLD THAT HAVE CAPTURED OUR IMAGINATION
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