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Posts Tagged ‘museums’

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I’ve been meaning to visit the Bata Shoe Museum for a while and Thursday’s unseasonably cool weather seemed like an opportune time to do just that. I’d visited a number of years ago and had forgotten just how interesting a place this is!

Shoes tell a story not only of style but also of lifestyles and their cultural, religious and climatic influences. Sonja Bata started collecting shoes back in the 1940s and the museum opened it’s doors in 1995. It houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive shoe collection with 12,500 artifacts spanning 4,500 years of history.

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I started my visit with some hands-on, or rather, “feet”-on interaction. I couldn’t resist! I haven’t worn platform shoes since the 1970s and indulged in a few shoe-selfies.

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And, on to the current exhibitions.

All About Shoes: Footwear Through the Ages – an awesome historical and international exhibit

Indian. Shoes were often an indication of status.

Indian. Shoes were often an indication of status.

Chinese. The ideal size was considered to be san zun, which equates to 7.6 cm or 3 in. Such feet were called Golden Lotuses.

Chinese. The ideal size was considered to be san zun, which equates to 7.6 cm or 3 in. Such feet were called Golden Lotuses.

14th century

Detail of a 14th century artwork.

German Sabaton, 15th century.

German Sabaton, 15th century.

Notable People

Marilyn Monroe wore these red pumps while visiting Montreal.

Marilyn Monroe wore these red pumps while visiting Montreal.

Canadian author Margaret Atwood's gorgeous quirky pumps with peacock feather.

Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s gorgeous quirky pumps with peacock feather.

Collected in the Field – an exhibit highlighting the craft of traditional footwear

Mongolian, early 20th century.

Mongolian, early 20th century.

Beauty, Identity, Pride – didn’t have enough time to photograph any other artifacts from this collection

Native, South Western

Native, South Western

Fashion Victims – an exhibit of 19th century footwear

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French, 19th century embroidered boot

19th century fashion trend for bright colours was later considered gawdy by the more privileged.

19th century fashion trend for bright colours was later considered gawdy by the more privileged.

Portrait. Shoeshine boy.

Portrait. Shoeshine boy.

This was definitely an entertaining way to spend an evening. In case you’re wondering what I wore – it was my Sperry Top-siders.

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Have you been to the museum? Are you a shoe person? What stories do your shoes hold?

Linking up with Sheila’s Shoe Shine.

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Colonia del Sacramento is a small picturesque city with a population of approximately 22,000. The historic quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the layout feels less formal than many of the places I’ve been.  This former Portuguese smuggler’s port was founded in 1680.

There’s not a lot to do here but it’s a great place to relax. The people are very friendly. The historic quarter has a gate and drawbridge at what was the entrance to the old walled city. The cobblestone streets are extremely cobbled! Many of the old building facades along Calle de los Suspiros – Street of the Sighs – are colourfully withered. Other streets are also lovely. The trees and plants add a striking and vibrant contrast. As in Cuba, there are a lot of old cars.

Colonia is a popular getaway destination and, while some travellers just come for the day, I stayed a few days.  With each day you notice more, whether it is the direction you walk up or down a street in, or the time of day and how the light plays on the buildings. The sunsets seemed different each night and, until now, I hadn’t realized I missed waterfronts. I checked out the various small museums – being a former potter I enjoyed the tile museum. The Municipal Museum has a dinosaur bone collection and taxidermy room with many birds, butterflies and insects. I enjoyed the food and wine in the many restaurants and cafes, as well as passing around the yerba mate and an asado at the hostel, explored the shops, strolled the waterfront and checked out Plaza de Toros, a former bull ring, in nearby Real de San Carlos.

Photo courtesy of Richard Abernethy

To get here, I took the Buquebus, a large ferry, across the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires. This was on my way back from Puerto Iguazu. Unfortunately, my camera died the first evening here.

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