Tag Archives: 2011

Berries

Friday, 26 August 2011

To buy, or not to buy: that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous prices,

Or to look aghast at the sea of unfair charges,

And by avoiding resist them?

I couldn’t resist.

Prague-Fruit

Irresistible

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Harp

Friday, 26 August 2011

“Pardon moi, Monsieur, but would you like a harpist to play while you walk through the Old Town of Prague?”

Yes, please!

Prague-Harp

The harpist and his harp

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Guns

Friday, 26 August 2011

An interesting art exhibition in Prague:

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An art exhibition.

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An art exhibition.

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An art exhibition.

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Prague

Friday, 26 August 2011

In Prague I was met at the train station by my friend Hande, a specialist in the bioinformatics of high-density fluid dynamics.

juliaroberts

She looks like Kate Winslet.

Yes, she does look like Kate Winslet; believe me, she’s heard it all before.

One of the first sights confronted by any tourist in Prague is the Charles Bridge (named in honor of Ray Charles) which connects the two sides of Prague, split by the Vitava River. Here, let wikipedia explain:

The Charles Bridge is a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava (Moldau) until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city’s Old Town and adjacent areas. This “solid-land” connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. The bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or the Prague Bridge (Pražský most) but has been the “Charles Bridge” since 1870.

The bridge is 516 meters long and nearly 10 meters wide, resting on 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side. The Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas.

During the night the Charles Bridge is a quiet place. But during the day it changes its face into a very busy place, with painters, owners of kiosks and other traders alongside numerous tourists crossing the bridge.

Prague-CharlesBridge1

The Charles Bridge

Here, tourists are touching a golden image of John of Nepomuk, who was thrown from the Charles Bridge into the river in 1393 because he had x-ray vision and the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Rumor has it that tourists who touch his image, and photograph themselves doing so, will receive similar powers.

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The Charles Bridge

I didn’t do so so I can’t say whether this is true or not. But apparently many figure it’s worth a shot.

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The Charles Bridge

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The Charles Bridge

The smaller of the two towers on the Lesser Town side of things is the oldest standing part of the bridge; although it was rebuilt (and made shorter) after a fire in 1591, it originally dates from the Judith Bridge, which preceded Charles, which was built around 1170.

It’s worth noting that the Charles is covered with merchants of every kind, but the most eye-catching are the caricature artists, who often themselves work in the nude to attract clientele. My previous post about that phenomenon is here.

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The Beast

Friday, 26 August 2011

My luggage, circa Bratislava A.D.

Bratislava-Luggage

The Beast

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Bratislava

Friday, 26 August 2011

“All that is fine,” you may say, “Fascinating, even. Who wouldn’t want to see the fat rear end of a freighter passing underneath a bridge from the window of a train? That’s always been my idea of a good time. But go back a little bit. What did the Bratislava train stationlook like??”

Here you go:

Bratislava-TrainStation

The Bratislava train station.

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Train to Paris

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Here’s a shot of what Rotterdam looks like:

Amsterdam-Paris-Rotterdam

What Rotterdam looks like.

Don’t worry. The city is much bigger than this photo might imply.

Wondering what Harry Potter ads look like in French? I thought you might, and here you go:

Amsterdam-Paris-ad

“Épique et captivant”

See? I’m awesome like that.

I was actually wondering how they get all those train cars to stick together. Apparently this is where they apply the glue:

Amsterdam-Paris-train

Smear it here.

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Dutch Countryside

Thursday, 25 August 2011

On my last day in Amsterdam, I rented a bicycle to explore the countryside outside of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam-Countryside1

The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

As you can see, the bike paths ran along the top of the dykes – a ready-made network for an amazing series of bike paths.

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The Dutch countryside.

Rough-horsing:

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The Dutch countryside.

For about sixty seconds, as I cycled along this stretch, a swooping songbird flew alongside, diving for insects along the side of the dyke. It was an absolutely magical experience and made me marvel at what it must be like to fly with the birds. Probably an absolutely magical experience, I decided.

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The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

Dykes on the left, water on the right:

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The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

I found a nook here, on top of the dyke, and sat and wrote postcards for a while:

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The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

How’s this for a backyard?

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A sweet backyard.

I turned around at the small town of Spaarndam, which dates back to the 13th century, but was made famous by the fictional story of the little Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the dyke: Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates, published in 1865.

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Spaarndam

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Spaarndam

Have you ever seen a memorial to a symbolic fictional character? I have!

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Spaarndam

I ate my dinner in Spaarndam, too. So this is what Spaarndamese food looks like:

Amsterdam-CountrysideSpaarndamDinner

Spaarndamese food

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Spaarndam

Windmills!

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The Dutch countryside.

Amsterdam-Countryside19

The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

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The Dutch countryside.

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So Formal!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Amsterdam-XXX

XXX

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Magic

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

If you want some magic mushrooms, you can get them here:

Amsterdam-Mushrooms

A magical place.

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