Cities of Eastern Europe – Prague

Prague Czech Republic

The streets were busy and we walked until reaching the old town, which opened up into a spacious and welcoming central square and it was free of traffic so we were able to wander aimlessly around looking ever upwards and admiring the buildings that surrounded it.

In the centre is the Jan Hus monument, a religious reformer who was burnt at the stake for his beliefs.  I was beginning to detect a gruesome pattern here.  In the Middle Ages there always came a time where persisting with a point of view became dangerous to life and limb and poor old Jan obviously did not get his timing right, a bit like Thomas More and his out of touch views on King Henry’s wedding plans.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral, The Geysers of Iceland

Geyser Iceland

Luckily the nearby geyser Strokkur erupts much more regularly every five minutes or so to heights of up to twenty metres (that’s the equivalent of about five London double decker buses).  Crowds of people were gathered expectantly around the glassy pool waiting for the translucent blue water bubble to foam and then dramatically break through the surface forcing many gallons of boiling water and hissing steam into the air.

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Cities of Eastern Europe – Riga

Walking Tour of Riga

We drove back to the city to rendezvous with our Latvian guide for the afternoon who was going to take us on a walking tour of the city.  We had no idea when we started the tour that this experience was designed as a severe endurance test based on the welcome to the Soviet Army initiation week for new recruits.

She was a lovely woman, and rightfully very proud of her city but she hadn’t fully made the transition out of the ‘do as you are told’ communist era and she pushed us through the city at a punishing pace, even at one time refusing a perfectly reasonable request to stop for a just a brief moment to purchase cold drinks and telling us off for buying postcards from a street trader.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh Laundry

Washing Line

Early morning was a good time to be visiting Bari Vecchia where the residents of the crooked streets were preparing for the day ahead.  Washing lines were being loaded and cranked into position high up across the alleys and lanes and strung outside windows like bunting as though in anticipation of a parade or a carnival, stretching across the streets, smelling sweetly of soap powder, dripping indiscriminately and swaying gently backwards and forwards above the secret doorways and back alleys.

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Cities of Poland

Krakow – Read the full story…

Wroclaw Market Square Poland

Wroclaw – Read the full story…

Warsaw Old Town and Royal castle

Warsaw – Read the full story…

Warsaw was good but it doesn’t have the historical swagger or confidence of Krakow or the quirky charm of the more manageable Wroclaw because Warsaw is a modern European capital with the raw edge and the buzz of a major city.

Whilst I might consider returning to Krakow and Wroclaw, once in Warsaw I think is probably enough.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh Fish

Octopus preparation Bari Puglia Italy

At the harbour someone had done a lot of clearing up and all of the debris from the previous night had been removed and now in place of the beer vendors there were marble slabs alive with fresh fish pulled only recently out of the sea and on the quayside a man pulverising an octopus to break down the skeleton and to tenderise it.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh Air

Nefeli Sunset Apartments

We had a simple white room with cornflower blue doors and windows and a balcony with a stunning view over a wild and restless sea on the exposed side of the village.  It was a perfect setting and we sat for a while and watched huge waves crashing in and breaking over black rocky outcrops in the sea as the waves clawed at the beach below our balcony.

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