Tag Archives: poor

Capuchin Crypt

One of the most shocking things on our trip thus far was a visit to the crypt under the church  Santa Maria della Concerzione dei Cappunccini in Rome.  I’ve seen human bones before, but nothing like this.  Sue and Martin had strongly suggested that we go see this atypical attraction, so we made a point of tracking it down, but didn’t know what to expect.  We were amazed.

The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (O.F.M.Capuchin) is an order of friars in the Roman Catholic Church, an offshoot of the Franciscan monks.  The Order arose in the early 16th Century when a Franciscan friar was inspired to return to the lifestyle of their founder, St. Francis of Assisi.  Originally persecuted by their superiors, they were granted refuge by another order of monks and adopted their hooded habit (capuccio) from which their name Capuchin derives.

Present-day Capuchin Friars (source: blog Stumbling After Francis)

Due to their visual similarity, both the Capuchin monkey (hooded appearance) and cappuccino coffee (the shade of brown of the friar’s habits) were named after this order of friars.

Capuchin monkey with the brow of his ‘hood’ showing

The Capuchin friar’s life is one of extreme austerity, simplicity, and poverty, following the ideals of St. Francis.  Their chief work is to preach among the poor, impressing them with their devotion, and the poverty and austerity of their lifestyles. Neither the friars nor their monasteries should possess anything, not should any provisions be laid down for future.  Everything should be obtained by begging, and the friars were not even allowed to touch money. Today there are still over 10,000 Capuchin friars and a female branch of the Order called the Capuchin Poor Clares, whose life is so austere that they are also known as The Suffering Sisters.

On our last day in Rome we visited the Capuchin Crypt.  When Capuchin friars arrived at the church in 1631, they brought 300 cartloads of their deceased brethren with them.  Their bones were arranged in 5 small crypts under the church, not as complete skeletons or as simple groupings of similar bones, but in decorative patterns!  The friars also brought sufficient soil all the way from Jerusalem for the floors of the crypts to bury their newly dead.  When someone died, they exhumed the bones of the one who had been buried the longest (typically 30 years) to make room for the new body.  The exhumed bones were added to the decoration, which includes amazing artistic creations (including light fixtures) made from the human bones of approximately 4000 people!

Crypt of The Skulls

The Catholic church explains that the display is not meant to be macabre, but to remind people of how short life is, a powerful message regardless of one’s religious leanings.  On the ceiling of the Crypt of the Three Skeletons there is a skeleton holding a scythe, a reminder that death will cut us all down, and a set of scales, implying that we will all be judged.

Crypt of the Three Skeletons

What you are now, we used to be.  What we are now, you will be.   – plaque in the Capuchin Crypt

Note – Photos are prohibited in the crypt so the images above were scrounged from Google image search.

Bad Travel Photography

Many people enjoy taking travel photos.  Cumulatively I’ve taken between 5,000 and 10,000 of them on my journeys, and I’ve seen a lot of other people doing the same.  Based on this experience, here are some examples of bad travel photography.

The 1-Hander (also known as the Too Cool for School) – There’s a reason why most people have 2 hands.  If you’re too cool to use them to hold your camera, then you get the blurry photos you deserve.

The Spy – Taking pictures of people without their permission.  This is particularly egregious if they realize that you are doing it and you do it anyway.

The Bad Pad – I understand why people bring their iPad when they travel, but it was not intended to be used in lieu of a camera.

Patrick taking a photo of a couple in Greece with their iPad

The Bad Pad (by request)

The Bandito – Taking photos when doing so is not permitted (often seen in churches).

The “I don’t know what it is, but get a picture of me with it anyhow” – Posing in front of something without knowing what it is.  (Note – this item, The Bad Pad, and The Bandito were also mentioned in my post The Best and Worst Kinds of Tourism.

The Fly-By – If you can’t be bothered to stop walking long enough to take a photo, it can’t be worthwhile.

The Drive-By – If it’s not worth stopping the car for…  See The Fly-By.

Patrick taking a photo through the window while driving the motorhome

The Drive-By   (Do not attempt this yourself.  Professional driver on a closed course)

The Hold Out — Holding the camera with outstretched arms or high above ones’ head when it isn’t required.  Use the view finder or put your reading glasses on!  Worse when combined with The 1-Hander.

Patrick taking a picture of some Greek ruins holding the carmera with outstreched arms

The Hold Out

The Reach Around – Reaching over or worse around someone else (yes, I’ve seen it) to get a photo rather than waiting for them to move.

The Mosh Pit  – Taking a picture when the background or foreground is polluted with other tourists, especially if they’re in a position to partially block the subject.

Photo of Lion Gate at Mycenae with tourists in the foreground

The Mosh Pit (Lion Gate at Mycenae, Greece)

The “I’m more important than posterity”  — Using a flash when it is not permitted, something done to help preserve paintings or other priceless bits of antiquity.

The Smart Ass – Taking photos with a smart phone rather than bringing an actual camera.  A bit sleazier if this is being done to avoid paying the extra fee that some sites charge to take pictures (even though I don’t agree with this practice to wring more money out of visitors).

Patrick taking a picture with an iPhone

The Smart Ass

The “I’m on the case” – Taking photos with your smart phone or iPad while the case is hanging down below it, making it more intrusive.

The Narcissist – Taking a photo of myself (or my group) with an outstretched hand.

Patrick taking a picture of himself with outstreched arm

The Narcissist

The Monopoly — Standing to stop and review my photos or do anything else while I’m blocking the only access to something that everyone else wants to take pictures of.

The Busy Bee — Spending all your time running around taking photos of everything rather than experiencing the place.

The Cheese Any silly pose, but especially bad if you’re mimicking something in the background.

Patrick posing in an awkward pose to mimic the brightly coloured Thai statues in the background

The Cheese

The Loss of Perspective – Posing in such a way as to appear to be interacting with the background.

Diane appearing to be holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Loss of Perspective

I do try to refrain from these practices but I have been guilty of all of the above at one point or another (even The Bad Pad, but only at the request of others since I don’t own an iPad). 

And finally, the Worst Example I’ve ever seen of Bad Travel Photography… Taking pictures of your blond girlfriend who is posing like a model in front of a Nazi gas chamber.

What are your bad travel photography experiences?