Backroads America: Grotto of the Redemption

Holy Row

Stations of the Cross, Grotto of the Redemption, West Bend, Iowa

Stations of the Cross, Grotto of the Redemption, West Bend, Iowa

If you are ever near West Bend, Iowa, you must try to visit the Grotto of the Redemption. It is a worthwhile detour, regardless of your religious affiliation or lack thereof.  Father Paul Dobberstein, a German immigrant, began construction of the grotto in 1912 and continued building for 42 years.  He collected materials for years before beginning construction. According to iowabeautiful.com, the Grotto is “a complex of nine different grottos in West Bend, Iowa, each one portraying a different scene from the life of Christ. The fourteen Stations of the Cross are also depicted. The grottos were built using stones and gems from all over the world. It was started in 1912 and now covers nearly a whole city block. The materials used in its construction are considered to be the world’s most complete man-made collection of minerals, fossils, shells, and petrifications in one place.”

I will have a longer post about the Grotto soon.

Play Ball

Batter Up

American Legion Baseball, Sioux Falls, SD

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Tuesday Photo Challenge: Treat

Cistercian Sweets

Cornucópia, Pastelaria Alcoa, Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal

Cornucópia, a egg cream pastry from the Alcobaça region, in the window of Pastelaria Alcoa, in the Chiado district of Lisbon. The crunchy cone is hand stretched and fried in olive oil, then filled with the egg cream.

Pastelaria Alcoa specializes in “conventual” pastry (pastry originally made by monk and nuns in Portugal) and follows the traditional recipes created by the Cistercian monks of Alcobaça. Convents and monasteries began creating sweets in the 15th-century when the growth of global trade routes brought spices, sugar, and other ingredients to Portugal. Over 200 sweets are still made using the original recipes, many of them kept secret. Numerous places in Portugal are identified with a specific pastry; just check out the local bakeries and you can’t miss them.

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Spring

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Better With Age

Aged 20 years, Port, Villar D’Allen, Porto, Portugal

We tasted a 20-year-old tawny port during the tour of  Quinta de Vilar D`Allen near Porto, Portugal. The Villar d’Allen Manor has belonged to the Allen family since 1839, when John Allen, an English businessman, bought it in a public auction. The 18th and 19th century house and gardens harken back to romanticism and grandeur. A series of formal gardens are full of flowers, especially camelias, many very old varieties. The Allen family provides guided tours to the House and Gardens and wine tasting. Mr. Allen blends and bottles his own port. The property, one of the few surviving leisure manors that surrounded the city of Porto in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was designated a Building of Public Interest in 2010. The Allen’s are gracious and welcoming hosts, very proud of their heritage and their gardens.

Gardens, Villar d’ Allen, Porto, Portugal

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The Reader

The Reader, Porto, Portugal

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