Beautiful images + beautiful words = the Encyclopedia of Exquisite Delights


what a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms


give me where to stand and i will move the earthstand-9nov2013


if you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl,

but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward



the most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet opposites-26oct2013 Untitled-1

being the odd one out may have its temporary disadvantages, but more importantly, it has its permanent advantagesodd-one-17nov2013-2Untitled-1Images with captions by Exquisite Delights


It’s the most popular symbol of the Christmas season. I’m talking about the Christmas tree, of course.riga03

Did you know that Riga in Latvia is the home of the first Christmas tree? Legend says that it was first erected over 500 years ago, and was decorated with paper flowers and burnt on the bonfire after the ceremony.


This tree was standing on the exact spot where the first recorded evergreen tree used in a New Year/Christmas celebration was put up: in front of the House of the Blackheads at the Town Hall Square in Riga. Of course, if the city is known as the home of the first Christmas tree, then it’s only appropriate that the holidays come early to the city, too. We took this photo during the first week of September.


Some countries celebrate the Christmas season way past New Year’s Day and the Epiphany. The ribbon-adorned tree in the capital of Andorra, for instance, was still up during the last week of January.


In the German city of Cologne, you will find the biggest Christmas market right in front of the Cathedral, and under the tallest natural Christmas tree in the region.


The tree also supports the market’s grand canopy of lights.
leidentreeFinally, here’s a picture of the floating Christmas tree in Leiden, Netherlands. Yes, it was floating because that’s a (frozen) canal right there.

Hope you enjoyed this post!


I had so much fun reading the blog of wedding photographer Jason Lee about his adorable daughters Kristin and Kayla. I found myself laughing at one picture then going “aww…” at the next. (Case in point: this entry.) Jason is not only a talented photographer but also a brilliant storyteller. And, yes, the biggest fan his beautiful girls could ever have. 9207751309_1d43f0bb6a_o6803249671_5aa1aba981_o6209848851_f27c973dd3_o


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Feel like going on a “poem hunt”? Then you should visit Leiden in the Netherlands. Scattered around town, you will find muurgedichten – 101 poems in different languages that were painted on the outer walls of various buildings. You would see, for example, poems by William Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda and e. e. cummings, and those of Dutch authors who lived or studied in this university town. And because we’ve had nothing but rain this weekend in Barcelona (rain and snow in some parts of Spain), I thought I’d share with you one of the wall poems we found in Leiden in 2010. It is titled “Pluja” which is the Catalan word for rain. We saw this wall poem one afternoon while walking back home after birdwatching.

Pluja wall poem in Leiden photo by denimandgray



WOW. Have you seen these dog photos by Seth Casteel? His book Underwater Dogs came out last year but I learned about it only last night while watching a local style show on television. Put together a powerful camera and a great concept (Why hasn’t anyone thought of it before??) and you get these unique, unbelievably beautiful pictures. How a dog can look cute and goofy yet “dinosaurish” and sharklike at the same instant is just beyond me.


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Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

by Dr. Seuss

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

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French photographer Léo Caillard injected humor and gobs of style into his work Hipster in Stone. Now before you react violently (as I initially did), let it be known that the ancient Greek statues were not touched. So how did he create the amazing pictures? First, Caillard photographed these classic nude sculptures at the Musée de Louvre. Then, he asked friends to wear Ray Bans, cropped pants, etc. and to pose just like the figures. He photographed them in his studio, edited the pictures in Photoshop, and with some digital abracadabra from Alexis Persani, voila! Le Faune Barberini looked like a true-blue Hipsterville denizen in super tight jeans while Meleagre appeared as if he stepped straight out of an H&M catalogue (never mind that he’s holding a boar). You can watch Persani’s photo manipulation demo here.

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Some things don’t change. In Window to the Past, Kerényi Zoltán took vintage photographs of Budapest and overlaid them on pictures of the exact same places shot in 2013. The results are not only stunning in terms of originality and artistry, but also impressive in the way the city was able to preserve its architecture and history. Lucky are they who can go back to a place 10, 20, 30 years after and say: “Oh, that’s EXACTLY where I used to play as a kid!” or “That’s EXACTLY where my friends and I used to have lunch!” Zoltán’s website is:

(P.S. I’ve been to Budapest in 2010. The cityscape is amazing, a blending of the old and new.)




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