Friday, March 22, 2019

Bethel Church Cemetery

21004 Big Pine Rd, Laurelville, OH 43135, USA
When I got back from Europe, J and I went to Hocking Hills. Neither of us had ever been there and we fell in love with the hiking trails and, more importantly, our cabin. We had this adorable cabin with a private pond and jacuzzi. We vowed that we would come back in the winter, so we could still enjoy the hot tub and maybe some hiking. I didn't bring my camera the first time, but decided to bring it this trip. When we first got to Hocking Hills we decided to walk one of the trails before it got too dark. We chose the Rock House again because it's a short trail and it's one of our favorites. I don't have any pictures of it because it was too dark in the woods to take good photos, but it's basically a large rock shelter. As we headed back to our cabin we passed this old cemetery. I quickly took a screen shot of the location as best I could on Google maps because we didn't have any service, hoping we could both piece together the location the next day.
I didn't find much about this cemetery or the church when I did a Google search. The oldest known burial is for Rebecca Reid who died in August 1829; however, earlier records were lost or misplaced so it's unknown whether any graves older than Reid's exist. The church was built later in 1853, and still maintains the cemetery grounds. The first results I came across when I started the search claim the cemetery resides on top of an Indian burial ground, but further research into it I came the the conclusion that it's probably fake because the website seemed a bit shady and full of conspiracy theories. It is quite possible Indian burial grounds exist around here - I've been to one in Marietta  - but, in my opinion, the cemetery is not on top of one.
The cemetery was cute and quaint and definitely worth the stop. I'm glad J suggested, and was up for, driving there. It's not too far from the parks. Afterwards we hiked through Cantwell Cliffs, and I don't remember it being a long drive. That's not saying much, though, because if you read my posts from my European trip you'll know I have a terrible memory and can't remember a thing.
How to get there:
Bethel United Methodist Church
21004 Big Pine Rd
Laurelville, OH 43135

Monday, March 18, 2019

Toledo (Not Ohio)

Toledo, Spain
We took a day trip to Toledo on our fourth day in Madrid. Toledo, the former capital of the Spanish Empire, is a mix of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish history. The city was once controlled by Islamic Arabs until it was once again reconquered by Christians. After living in a Muslim part of Russia, I wish we learned more about Islamic rule in the West. Islam has such an impact on the world, but the history we learn about is so white washed. I hope one day that changes.
When I visited Spain the first time we took a day trip to Segovia, which is why we chose Toledo to visit on this trip. I think I prefer Segovia, but both are full of windy hills and it might just be because I prefer hills in cooler weather than in the scorching heat. This is mostly a photo heavy post because we didn't do much except walk around the city and go on a tour of Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo, an absolutely massive cathedral. Even if you aren't religious, I'd suggest checking out the cathedral because it's absolutely beautiful. You need to pay extra to go to the bell tower, which we didn't do, so I can't recommend that, but the church itself was magnificent.
You only need to spend a few hours (maybe 4 hours tops) in both Toledo and Segovia, unless you plan on trying local foods or have some other event planned, like a walking tour. They are both quite small and don't take a lot of time to see, especially when you visit in the middle of July. However, both are beautiful cities and worth the quick trip from Madrid.

Friday, March 15, 2019

House of Beasts

Paseo Fernán Núñez, 22, 28009 Madrid, Spain
On our third day in Madrid I happened upon Casa de Fieras, or House of Beasts, accidentally. As we were strolling through Retiro Park I saw these structures that looked "abandoned." Naturally, I started taking photos, and said something to my cousin along the lines of "These are so cool. They look abandoned." She mentioned that they kind of were. The old, controversial zoo used to reside in Retiro Park until it was moved to Casa de Campo park in 1972.
The history of Casa de Fieras is pretty dark which, to me, adds to it's intrigue. The zoo was the second one in Europe after the Vienna Zoo in Austria. It was built on the command of King Carlos III in 1774, making it older than the United States. During the 18th century it was common to see fights among different animals, like bears and lions, which were popular for upper class spectators. I imagine it was probably similar to the gladiator fights in the Roman Empire. During the Spanish Civil War, which lasted from 1936 to 1939, some of the animals were sacrificed to feed those who suffered from the famine. It is also said that about 30 prisoners were fed to the animals themselves; however, this remains an urban legend. During WWII many animals from other European zoos, especially from Berlin, were sent to Casa de Fieras to protect them from the atrocities of war. Can you imagine transporting wild animals during a time like that? The zoo was closed for good in June 1972 because it was not able to keep up with the number of visitors. The zoo is now located in Casa de Campo.
Currently, only a few of the cages remain, including the monkey pit and bear and lion cages. Most of the zoo now houses a library and botanical garden. You can see pictures of its former life here. While, I'm not a huge fan of zoos - it makes me extremely sad to see large animals in cages - I can appreciate the history of a place like this. I always try to imagine living in a time where seeing wild beasts or attending a World's Fair was a massive event in one's life. Sometimes I wish I could live in those times. I need to go back to Madrid, and take a better look at the House of Beasts, probably when it's a little cooler and I have more energy to take photos.
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