Eclipsed

Eclipsed

Photo by Eivind Senneset (© All rights reserved) / The eclipsed moon as seen this morning from a backyard in Bergen, Norway.

According to the ancient Mayan calendar, January 21st, 2019, is the day that a reasonably young man in Bergen, Norway, were to goof around in his garden with a cup of coffee, a really long lens and a thermal skirt borrowed from his girlfriend. The Mayans sure hit pretty close with that prophecy!

(Photo from my backyard, 6:40 this morning. I had this sneaking feeling that I hadn’t posted anything to this blog for a few months, and just realized «a few months» actually meant 16 months…)

Each A Glimpse And Gone Forever

Romania #1

A month of looking out windows, seeing Eastern Europe pass by, scene by scene.

I spent a month looking out the windows of trains and buses, passing great murders of crows, power plants and haystacks, empty billboards, roadside crosses and teenagers bored at weddings.

Some views repeated themselves: endless fields of sunflowers; railway workers not working.

On a late Saturday evening this July, I boarded the sleeper train from Istanbul to Sophia. From there on, I travelled through Bulgaria and Romania, to Hungary, Ukraine and Poland.

Through thousands of kilometres on rail and road I followed the passing landscapes of Eastern Europe and recorded some moments, some views: Each a glimpse and gone forever, to quote the closing line in Robert Louis Stevenson’s railway poem.

Ukraina #1

Ukraine #2

Bulgaria #1

Romania #2

Romania #3

Romania #4

Romania #5

Bulgaria #2

Romania #6

Romania #7

Romania #8

Ukraine #3

Romania #9

Romania #10

Ukraine #5

Ukraine #6

Ukraine #7

Bitey, Not Tasty

Pike. Bitey, according to some sources.

“That’s a pike. I don’t like pikes. They’re bitey but not tasty.” (American tourist couple overheard at the local public aquarium.)

Sea Lion. Fond of water. Which is one of the things that sets it apart from its African cousin; the land sea lion.

Herrings. Not red

Cayman. Also bitey

Green anaconda. Doing pilates, slightly out of frame

Queue Vadis?

The Great Wait #1

The Great Wait #1

Since acquiring its very first marble sculpture 500 years ago, the Vatican museums have grown to become one of the largest museums in the world with over 70,000 works attracting some 28 billion visitors a year.*

The Great Wait #2

The Great Wait #2

Behold the Laocöon sculpture, the Raphael rooms, the Transfiguration, St. Jerome in Wilderness and the ticket line longer than the 3.2 kilometre Vatican state perimeter!

The Great Wait #3

The Great Wait #3

See the Sistine Chapel with its ceiling and Last Supper by Michelangelo and its silence continuously broken by guards shouting Silenzio!

See the crowds, see the back of the person in front of you, get a contraband selfie stick poked in your ear.

The Great Wait #4

The Great Wait #4

So I recently visited the Vatican Museums for the first time in ten years. Not much have changed since my last time. I still love the place. I still tried to beat the crowds. I still failed spectacularly.

* number based on a rough guesstimate.

The Great Wait #5

The Great Wait #5

The Great Wait #6

The Great Wait #6

The Great Wait #7

The Great Wait #7

The Great Wait #8

The Great Wait #8

The Great Wait #9

The Great Wait #9

Rock Bottom. Fondling It.

Vigeland #1

Vigeland #1. (Among all the giggling tourists, this lady closed her eyes and put her head against the rock baby’s back, like if she was listening for a heartbeat.)

Giddy tourists petting stone genitalia. Families collecting pokemonkeys. Terrified small children whose fathers, inspired by the sculptures, try to juggle them. Yup. It’s the Vigeland sculpture park.

Vigeland #2

Vigeland #2

Vigeland #3

Vigeland #3

Vigeland #4

Vigeland #4

Vigeland #5

Vigeland #5

Vigeland #6

Vigeland #6

Vigeland #7

Vigeland #7

Vigeland #8

Vigeland #8

Vigeland #9

Vigeland #9

1:1280

Geiranger #1

Geiranger #1

That’s the ratio between townsfolk living in Geiranger year-round and cruise passengers visiting during the tourist season.

Geiranger #2

Geiranger #2

When Wikipedia declares the place a “tourist village” you know it’s going to be bad. Cruise tourism in Geiranger can be traced back to summer of ’69. That’s 1869, of course. Since then, Geiranger, with its year-round population of 255, has grown to be the second busiest cruise port in all of Norway, with an estimated 320,000 passengers from close to 200 ships. Jeez.

Geiranger #3

Geiranger #3

Geiranger #4

Geiranger #4

Geiranger #5

Geiranger #5

Geiranger #6

Geiranger #6

Geiranger #7

Geiranger #7

Geiranger #8

Geiranger #8

Geiranger #9

Geiranger #9

Geiranger #10

Geiranger #10

Geiranger #11

Geiranger #11

Geiranger #12

Geiranger #12

B.I.P. (Bark In Peace)

Pet Cemetery #01

Pet Cemetery #01

At a kid’s grave you leave toys and teddys. What do you leave at your dog’s final resting place? Tennis balls of course!

Pet Cemetery #02

Pet Cemetery #02

Trench dogs. Proper canine war heroes dead of exhaustion after pulling 40 wounded men off of a battlefield. Pups having been too brave in the Paris traffic. Also some cats. And a horse. A chicken even. Yes. And a monkey.

These are dead animals interred at Paris’ Le Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques. Or – as my girlfriend told the Über driver – le cimetière des wouf-wouf.*

Pet Cemetery #03

Pet Cemetery #03

I try to visit at least one graveyard on each trip when travelling. Usually I end up on war cemeteries, like Arlington or Douaumont, but sometimes something special shows up, like Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery. Or this.

This. This is peculiar. The place is silly and sombre at the same time. A completely over-the-top thunder storm set the mood when we visited (at what was probably much the same time as I was admiring the tomb of Bibi the Bichon Frise, a lighting strike at another Paris park electrocuted eleven children at a birthday party. Jeesh).

Pet Cemetery #04

Pet Cemetery #04

An old, deaf cat lady at the cemetery who obviously couldn’t hear the thunder still felt something thunder-y in the generel atmosphere and tried seeking my advice on whether to take shelter. My French being limited to mispronounced high school-Victor Hugo-highlights, I tried hand-signalling, failed miserably and took a taxi to the Deyrolle taxidermy showroom where I fell in love with a stuffed platypus valued at €22.500.

Oh well.

Pet Cemetery #05

Pet Cemetery #05

Pet Cemetery #06

Pet Cemetery #06

Pet Cemetery #07

Pet Cemetery #07

Pet Cemetery #08

Pet Cemetery #08

Pet Cemetery #09

Pet Cemetery #09

Pet Cemetery #10

Pet Cemetery #10

Backstory: My girlfriend tried ordering an Über for us, but the driver who obviously hadn’t heard of this place before refused to believe there was such a thing as a dog cemetery in Paris. So when my girlfriend was tired of repeating “Cimetière des Chiens” to a man who seemingly thought she was trying to say something else, she decided to drive the point home by barking at him.

Tower Hour

A trifle tower #1

A trifle tower #1

Paris is trying to one-up their competitors by building their own “Eiffel tower” three times the size of the original monuments in gambling cities Las Vegas and Macau. Tourists are thrilled though.

A trifle tower #2

A trifle tower #2

Pardon the sillyness. But really. Not five minutes had passed before a timid, young Hong Kong-fellow had asked me to help him frame his Eiffel-tower-as-erect-penis-selfie. Classy. And classic.

A trifle tower #3

A trifle tower #3

A trifle tower #4

A trifle tower #4

A trifle tower #5

A trifle tower #5

A trifle tower #6

A trifle tower #6