Author Archive

Small Wonders.105

This is a flowering tree that I’ve seen lots in Europe, but can’t recall from North America. In German it’s called Kastania, I believe, which an internet search tells me is Horse Chestnut. They’re quite lovely and — like the lilacs shown in a previous post – were in full bloom in many parts of Prague during my short visit 🙂


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So that Sunday – Marathon Sunday for Prague – also happened to be what folks variously call VE Day (Victory in Europe, i.e. the day WWII finally ended with German surrender in Europe) or Liberation Day. I’d been in Amsterdam for the 5th, which here is Liberation Day, and then got to see the wreaths and camera crews still there after the Czech president was up here at the National Monument for a speech. This monument and building tower over the city on the other side of the river from the Castle. Many more photos to come in a special post dedicated to this really quite remarkable place. 🙂


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It was Marathon weekend in Prague – yes, they’re coming back across the Charles Bridge in the above and bottom-right photos, shortly after the 9am race start; and bottom left is later, when the stragglers finished. (The announcer pointed out that Prague is generous because most marathons hold the course open for only six hours, whereas Prague holds it open for seven hours.) In between those two outings, I was up at the national monument (well off the race route, naturally), which we’ll show you in other posts to come :-).

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This is the door that started this series. I just noticed one beautiful wooden door after another as we walked up the hill to the castle the first time, so I started photographing them, and finally realized it needed to be a series. More to come, and I’ll likely pay extra attention to nice doors, gates and other entrances in other cities I visit now, as well. Last time I recall paying so much attention doors was in a very different place, which you can see here.

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I sort of wondered whether these tulips were grown in the Netherlands and shipped to Prague for sale…

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The city of Prague is a non-stop delight for the eyes. As some will have noticed from the first of my new “Urban Entrances” series last week, I just spent a long weekend there, my first visit to the city since, well, 1990 to be precise. It was May that time as well, and photographs weren’t yet digital, and blogs didn’t yet exist, so very few people were subjected to my appreciation of the city’s visual delights at that time. You, dear readers, will be seeing Prague and its delights in many posts yet to come. And spoiler alert that I’m about to spend time in another major European capital city, so our City Views and other series will be showing you new vistas in the weeks & months ahead. Enjoy.

Above: Prague Castle (it’s all of those buildings atop the hill, with the cathedral the most distinguishable element to the whole complex) with one of the many sculptures on the Charles Bridge in the foreground. Below: a panorama showing the river, the castle, the bridge, and the city on both banks.

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Winkel van Sinkel means “Sinkel’s Corner,” more or less, and this building housed the very first department store (selling multiple types of goods) in the Netherlands. Now it’s a cool restaurant and bar, beautiful both inside and out as you can see :-). Note the advertising campaign that plays on issues of the moment in the EU at large…


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This is the Utrecht cathedral, a major portion of which was destroyed in (if I recall well) a storm many hundreds of years ago. There’s some kind of rebuilding thing happening, but I didn’t entirely follow whether they plan to rebuild the whole thing or not. (Image below: much of that is a painted canvas which I assume shows the future cathedral as planned?)
Everyone knows Amsterdam’s a gorgeous city, but a lot of folks from outside NL aren’t aware of how many other quite charming and lovely mid-sized or small cities there are here. We’ll have several more posts of the sights of Utrecht ahead – and if you’re on the full version of this, you can also check for “categories” and then select “Netherlands, Utrecht” to see all the posts from here. (Or same logic for other places, because I do try to categorize and tag most posts so any of you considering a trip can consider what you want to see and do 🙂


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A new series spurred by things I’ve been seeing this weekend in Prague, a city I’ve not visited since 1990. Once I sort the many photos I’ve been taking here, you’ll be seeing a lot more of this city 🙂


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Fun fact, this residence was built for the one and only Dutch pope, who died after a short term in office & without ever living in this lovely building. I’m told he was rather unpopular in Rome because of his ascetic, non-partying ways, and the same source told me that the men who elect popes never again elected a non-Italian one, until they elected the first Polish pope during my own lifetime.