Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Beautiful Day in Konjic

I drove down to Konjic today where Shelby had a basketball game. It is a very beautiful area of the Herzegovina part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. All the more beautiful on a gorgeous spring day with bright blue skies and puffy white clouds. The Neretva river which also runs through Mostar further downstream, is very popular for rafting up above Konjic.

The Neretva River - Konjic, Herzegovina





Shelby Shoots!


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Charles Bridge (Karlův Most) -Details

I take a lot of "detail" photos in cities...and Prague is detail heaven. Here are a few of the details that caught my eye on Charles Bridge (Karlův Most)

Man's Best Friend - Charles Bridge, Prague
(Apparently considered lucky)




...not so lucky...
Behind Bars - Charles Bridge, Prague





And From the Heavens Burst Forth... - Charles Bridge, Prague





Although from the portion in this photo, you wouldn't necessarily notice, the entire statue reminded me of the plague columns I've seen in other parts of Czech Republic.

The Struggle - Charles Bridge, Prague


Monday, April 21, 2008

Lookin' Out My Backdoor

Here are a couple of shots of the same hills opposite our apartment taken from our balcony/patio at sunset on two different days. The photo of the rainbow was just taken a few minutes ago. The second photo was taken last week and the hillside is noticeably greener today. As with most of my blog photos, the bigger versions you get when you click on the photo look best.

Sarajevo Rainbow at Sunset - 21 April 2008





Sarajevo Sunset - 16 April 2008


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Looking Up - More Prague

A look up at three of the more famous landmarks in Prague


The Powder Tower (Prašná Brána) at Sunset - Prague





Church Our Lady before the Týn - Old Town Square, Prague

Kostel Matky Boží pøed Týnem





Saint Vitus's Cathedral (Katedrála svatého Víta), Prague Castle


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague

More from Prague. Below are a few of the many photos I took at the Old Jewish Cemetery (Starý židovský hřbitov). The cemetery contains an unknown number of graves, layers of graves, gravestones one upon the other. Estimates commonly seen on the internet say 12,000 or so headstones and 100,000 buried there from the late 1400's until the late 1700's. As cemeteries are among my favorite photographic subjects, Elesa and Carl had to wait a bit while I (and Shelby) took "one last" photo. The light was constantly changing as the sun played peek-a-boo behind the clouds.

A Jumble of Headstones - Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague





Old Jewish Cemetery - Prague





Old Jewish Cemetery - Prague





Old Jewish Cemetery - Prague


Friday, April 18, 2008

Prague, Even the Sewers are Cool

I haven't had much time to mess with photography the past week or so. Now I'm just getting back to going through the photos I took in Prague. I like taking photos of little details in cities. Things on the sides of buildings, statues and portions thereof etc. I noticed walking through Prague that even the sewer lids there are a cut above...

Sewer Lid - Prague




Utility Access - Prague


Sunday, April 13, 2008

And then we got to Prague

...which is my favorite city in the whole world...

Like hundreds of other people, I took a few photos from the far end of the Charles Bridge (Karlův Most). But unlike about 90% of them, I didn't use a pop-up flash :)

Prague Castle District at Dusk - Czech Republic


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Odds and Ends

I was able to replace my monitor a lot quicker than I feared. I now have a BRIGHT new LCD that weighs about 1/4 of my dead CRT screen and takes up far less room. I'm still trying to get the colors and brightness etc at least close to right...so if a photo's colors, brightness etc are way off, please let me know. It might be my monitor for a change...because before, it was certainly yours :)

Here a few photos that I was working on when my previous monitor went to monitor heaven....

I love seeing all the crucifixes, small chapels and other little monuments and memorials along the roads in Czech (Slovenia has a lot of neat ones too). This one was at the edge of the little village where we pulled off the last of real road to drive up the trail to the bunker, Tvrz Bouda. Weathered and worn, I was struck by how the color persevered.

Roadside Shrine - Near Tvrz Bouda, Czech




On the drive back from Tvrz Bouda to Choceň, we stopped by the church of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Sorrows, Homol (Pilgrimage) church It was built in the 1690's and sits above a massive staircase. The staircase goes up the side of the hill to the chapels and the main church. The weather was cold, wet and windy with some snow mixed in with the rain. My photos of the church itself sitting atop the lengthy staircase left a lot to be desired....like... I desire to go back at a better time of day and during better weather :)


Looking Down the Steps - Homol Pilgrimage Church, Czech





Chapel - Homol Pilgrimage Church, Czech




Sometime, probably the early 1900's, the trains came to Choceň. They just cut their way deep and straight (and I do mean straight!) through the hill. It must have been an amazing engineering feat at the time.

All Trains Lead to Choceň - Choceň, Czech


Thursday, April 10, 2008

We Interupt the Regularly Scheduled Broadcast....

because my monitor seems to have died and until I get it replaced or fixed, I'm limited in what I can do with my photos...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Kutná Hora, Part 2 - Sedlec Ossuary, aka "The Bone Church"

After walking around the Church of St Barbara we made our way outside of town over to the "Bone Church" - Sedlec Ossuary. We first visited it back in about 1994 or 1995...before tourists had discovered Kutná Hora, Bouda, Zámek Žleby and all the other little towns and treasures of the Czech Republic. This time there were tour buses! Even when I knew what to expect, having been there and all, it was still incredible to see. A church not merely decorated with bones...but a chandelier of bones, columns of bones, stacks and stacks of bones...human bones. I think it was one of Carl and Shelby's favorite stops on our trip. They were too young to remember our earlier visits to Czech. You can also read and see more at the wikipedia link. Here are a few photos from our visit this time.


Just Another Stack of Bones - Sedlec Ossuary near Kutná Hora





Schwarzenberg Coat-of-Arms - Sedlec Ossuary near Kutná Hora




Shelby Photographs The Chandelier - Sedlec Ossuary near Kutná Hora




The Perfect Halloween Punchbowl - Sedlec Ossuary near Kutná Hora


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Kutná Hora, Part 1

After Zámek Žleby, we stopped by Kutná Hora for a couple hours. Its historic town center, the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Kutná Hora is one of the most popular day trips for tourists from Prague and there were a lot around. The
St. Barbara Church lends itself to typical postcard photos and the interior has all kinds of neat details, carvings, paintings, statues, stained glass etc.

St. Barbara Church - Kutná Hora, Czech Republic




Flying Buttresses, St. Barbara Church - Kutná Hora, Czech Republic




Stained Glass, St. Barbara Church - Kutná Hora, Czech Republic




Statues Along the Path, Church of Saint James in the Background, Kutná Hora





...next....the "Bone Church"

Sarajevo's Walk For Life - Šetnja za Život

*EDIT* To see photos from the most recent, 2009 walk, click HERE

This morning the International Women's Club of Sarajevo, along with corporate sponsors such as Avon, Raiffeisen Bank, EUFOR- NATO and sponsored a "Walk for Life" or Šetnja za Život in Bosnian. It looked like they had over 2000 participants including a bunch of teams from the various embassies, schools and organizations around town. Carl and I did the approximately 4 km walk at Elesa's urging (and she signed us up:). It turned out to be a beautiful morning to walk around Baščaršija to raise awareness for breast cancer and raise funds for a mammogram machine for Sarajevo.

The Start - Skenderija, Sarajevo




It was such a nice day, I took a few photos along the way, including the National Library. In 1992 the library was purposely fired upon with tracers and incendiary shells by the Serb Nationalist forces laying siege to Sarajevo. The building still stands but the interior and contents were destroyed.

The National Library - Baščaršija, Sarajevo





And the aptly named, Pigeon Square with the famous fountain and of course a little boy chasing the pigeons.

Pigeon Square - Baščaršija, Sarajevo




The Eternal Flame at the start of the Ferhadija walking area was all decorated too.

The Eternal Flame - Ferhadija, Sarajevo




And we finished up about an hour later.

The Finish - Skenderija, Sarajevo


Zámek Žleby

The next day on our drive to Prague, we detoured off a couple miles to a little village with a big castle. According to the short wikipedia entry, the village population is about 1200. The weather was a little foreboding and chilly with the sun peeking out a bit every once and a while.

Zámek Žleby - Žleby, Czech Republic




Like many other things, the interior of the castle was closed until sometime in April. The entrance was guarded by a fierce looking (anatomically correct it appears:) bull.

Guarding the Entrance - Žleby, Czech Republic




And the Sun Came Out - Žleby, Czech Republic


Friday, April 04, 2008

Hradec Králové

After our morning in Litomyšl, we headed up to Hradec Králové for the afternoon and walked around there a bit. I spent a bit of time trying to get this first photo right. I wanted the beautiful sky and the steeple(s) of the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in the background, behind some of the sculptures of saints around the Marian Column (or Plague Column) in Velké Square. In retrospect, I should have popped it with a little bit of fill flash, but that would have meant getting the flash out of my camera bag and all sorts of other excuses.

"Plague Column" - Hradec Králové, Czech Republic




From the monument, we walked around the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (Katedrála Svatého Ducha). On the one side there were maybe 4 or 5 reliefs embedded into the walls. I'm not sure and can't find any mention of them, but my guess is that they are probably tombs of early bishops.

Sent to the Corner - Hradec Králové, Czech Republic


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Litomyšl

One morning we drove over to Litomyšl. The castle complex there is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Most places in the Czech Republic outside of Prague, such as as castles, churches etc aren't open to tourists and tours until April. This was no exception, but we still walked around and had a look at the outside and the grounds of the complex. Then we spent a little time in the town square area. The drawings on the side of the building are pretty cool (you can see the details a bit if you click on my photo below)

I couldn't resist the juxtaposition of the little pink soviet era car parked by all by itself in the courtyard of this famous castle. I have messed with a bunch of different crops of the photo, but for now, this is the one you get to see :)

Pink "Cadillac" & Castle - Litomyšl, Czech Republic




Litomyšl is the birth place of composer Bedřich Smetana. To be quite honest, as far as composers go, I don't go much beyond Bach, Beethoven and the Beetles. So I don't really recall ever having heard of this guy. But he must be famous, his statue was in the town square :)

Bedřich Smetana - Town Square, Litomyšl, Czech Republic


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Czech Artillery Fortification Bouda - Tvrz Bouda

One of the first things we did on our spring break vacation was drive up through the still snowy forest to get a personalized tour of Czech Artillery Fortification Bouda (Tvrz Bouda). It is near the town of Těchonín, and close to the Polish-Czech border.

The basics. It was one of many fortifications built by the Czechs in the time between WWI and WWII, but one of only five of this type of massive artillery fortification. Built in less than two years 1936-38, it could hold a garrison of over 300 men (hot bunking) who could survive sealed off for a couple weeks if necessary (they had a method of basically collapsing the entrance on itself). The main tunnel corridor pictured below is about 1/2 a mile long and has over 180 feet of solid rock above much of it. Although the structure was completed before the Czechs were sold out to the Germans by Chamberlain, the massive retractable artillery gun which the bunker was designed to control was never completed and installed. You can read more facts and figures and historical context on the linked page. If you click around the Czech language portions of the web site, you can see more photos and diagrams.

Here are a couple of photos I took during our tour.

Main Corridor "Trvz Bouda" - Near Těchonín, Czech Republic




Incomplete Section for Power Plant and Fuel Depot, Trvz Bouda -