November 2009 Archives

Uppsala, Sweden - Physics Abstractions

Around 1950, scientists at Uppsala designed and built the first synchrocyclotron in western Europe. It accelerates protons at energies high enough to be useful for proton therapy for cancers. Our conference included a tour of the facility. Here are a few details of the wiring, which make abstract patterns that I find interesting.

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Uppsala, Sweden - Reflections

We were in Sweden to participate in a conference at Uppsala University. Uppsala has a pretty river flowing through the middle of town, which made for some nice reflections.

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Drottningholm - Embellishments

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(click to enlarge) Pergola of the Chinese Pavilion, one of the outbuildings at Drottningholm

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(click to enlarge) One of the numerous statues lining the approach from the boat dock to the palace.

Drottningholm - Stylish

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(click to enlarge) The elegant library in Drottningholm Palace, built by Queen Louisa Ulrika when she remodeled the palace in the mid-18th century.

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(click to enlarge) Woodworking was a trendy pastime of the nobility in the 18th C. This is the workshop of King Gustav III.

Drottningholm - Approach by Water

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(click to enlarge) As you approach Drottningholm Palace -- the private residence of the Swedish royal family -- via boat from Stockholm, you first see the Royal Bath House.

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(click to enlarge) And then the Palace itself comes into view. It's not on the scale of Versailles, but it's impressive nonetheless.

Stockholm, Sweden - Gamla Stan Scenes

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(click to enlarge) YACSWB (Yet another cobblestone street with bicycle)

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(click to enlarge) Door hardware detail

Stockholm, Sweden - Kids in Gamla Stan

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(click to enlarge) It's nice to have a big brother to hold your hand.

Stockholm, Sweden - Gamla stan Cobblestones

The streets of Gamla stan, Stockholm's old town, are paved with cobblestones. They're picturesque, but often hard to walk on.

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Stockholm, Sweden - Incidental Art

Objects used for quite functional purposes sometimes assume the character of works of art. Here are three sculptural examples from our cruises on the Stockholm Archipelago.

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(click to enlarge) Two cranes painted as giraffes

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(click to enlarge) Apartment complex built on the site of a former industrial district along the waterfront

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(click to enlarge) The smokestack and lights of our cruise vessel to Drottningholm

Stockholm, Sweden - On the Water

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(click to enlarge) A cruise through the islands of the Stockholm Archipelago is a delightful way to spend a few hours, especially if the weather is good and the clouds are dramatic.

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(click to enlarge) Another voyage through the archipelago, on our way to Drottningholm to see the royal palace.

Stockholm, Sweden - On the Waterfront

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(click to enlarge) We took a cruise through the Stockholm Archipelago. These are reflections of our boat, seen as we were waiting to board.

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(click to enlarge) Once on board, I noticed this charming little section of the harbor wall.

Stockholm, Sweden - Under Ground

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(click to enlarge) The spotless subway

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(click to enlarge) Underground shopping mall

Stockholm, Sweden - Strandvägen

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(click to enlarge) According to Wikipedia, "Strandvägen (Swedish for "Beach Street") is a boulevard on Östermalm in central Stockholm, Sweden. Completed just in time for the Stockholm World's Fair 1897, it quickly became known as one of the most prestigious addresses in town."

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(click to enlarge) An eye-catching detail on an apoteket (pharmacy) near Strandvägen.

Stockholm, Sweden - Nordisk Museum

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(click to enlarge) The Nordisk Museet, on the island Djurgarden across a causeway from the Stockholm waterfront, is a large and impressive museum of Swedish culture. As you enter, you are confronted by this large and impressive person. We never did learn who he is -- presumably some king from long ago.

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(click to enlarge) The other end of the socioeconomic spectrum.

Stockholm, Sweden - The Great Ship Vasa

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From Wikipedia:

"Vasa ... was a Swedish warship that was built from 1626 to 1628. The ship foundered and sank after sailing less than a nautical mile (ca 2 km) into her maiden voyage on 10 August 1628. Vasa fell into obscurity after most of her valuable bronze cannons were salvaged in the 17th century. She was located again in the late 1950s, in a busy shipping lane just outside the Stockholm harbor. She was salvaged with a largely intact hull on 24 April 1961. She was housed in a temporary museum called Wasavarvet ("The Wasa Shipyard") until 1987, and was then moved to the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. The ship is one of Sweden's most popular tourist attractions and, as of 2007, has attracted more than 25 million visitors.

"Vasa was built top-heavy and had insufficient ballast. Despite an obvious lack of stability in port, she was allowed to set sail and foundered a few minutes later when she first encountered a wind stronger than a breeze. The impulsive move to set sail resulted from a combination of factors. Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus, who was abroad on the date of her maiden voyage, was impatient to see Vasa join the Baltic fleet in the Thirty Years' War. At the same time, the king's subordinates lacked the political courage to discuss the ship's structural problems frankly or to have the maiden voyage postponed. An inquiry was organized by the privy council to find someone responsible for the disaster, but no sentences were handed out."

Stockholm, Sweden - Marathon

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(click to enlarge) On our first afternoon in Stockholm we walked to the old town, Gamlastan, where we encountered the half-marathon in process. Judging from the number tags, there were well over 20,000 participants.

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(click to enlarge) Of course, runners (and spectators) have to answer the call of nature occasionally. There were more porta-potties than we've ever seen in one place before. Here are just a few, under the watchful eye of King Carl Gustav II.

Stockholm, Sweden - Window Shopping

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Some Stockholm shop windows are intriguing.

Stockholm, Sweden

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(click to enlarge) We were in Sweden (Stockholm and Uppsala) in September. I've always enjoyed the way they use old buildings for new purposes ...

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(click to enlarge) ... and the sly humor that pokes its head up unexpectedly.

Vilnius, Lithuania - Mixed Emotions

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Private pain, public revelry

Lithuania - National Icons

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(click to enlarge) Statue of Adam Mickiewicz, considered, along with Pushkin, the greatest Slavic poet

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(click to enlarge) Sculpture outside the Vilnius sports arena celebrating Lithuania's international success and renown in basketball

Lithuania - Trakai Abundance

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(click to enlarge) A hoard of coins in the Trakai Castle Museum

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(click to enlarge) Chairs lined up for a performance in the Trakai Castle courtyard

Lithuania - Trakai

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According to the Lithuanian National Tourist Office, "Trakai is a fabulously picturesque little town on water. The former capital of Lithuania nestles between several lakes, 30km west of Vilnius. It is a must and a delight for every tourist to see its spectacular Island Castle on Lake Galvė. Initially a defensive castle, later a residence for Lithuania's grand dukes, today it is a popular museum of medieval Lithuania as well as being a well-used stage for concerts, festivals and films. The fairytale castle was rebuilt in the 1950s and is now known for being the only castle with a lake as its main defence in the whole of Eastern Europe."

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(click to enlarge) Woman selling berries along the causeway to the castle

Vilnius, Lithuania - Places of Worship

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(click to enlarge) In one of the many Catholic churces of Vilnius

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(click to enlarge) The bookstore of the University of Vilnius, ceiling decorated a la the Sistine Chapel.

Riga, Latvia - Art Nouveau Museum

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(click to enlarge) This is a small but charming museum in a refurbished old house in Riga. The guide was knowledgeable and happy to pose in her period costume in front of the grand staircase.

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(click to enlarge) The wall decorations were graceful and elegant.

Riga, Latvia - Art Nouveau Faces

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The broad facades of the Art Nouveau buildings in Riga are impressive, but the real fun comes when you look at the details.

Riga, Latvia - Art Nouveau Buildings

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The "Historic Center" of Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because it boasts the largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe. According to

http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/riga.html

"Between 1896 and 1913, the city expanded and a housing boom followed. The style which developed in Riga was influenced mainly by German, Austrian and Finnish architects. Mikhail Eisenstein is one of the most famous proponents of the style in Riga.

After the revolution of 1905 a distinctively Latvian variation of Art Nouveau developed, known as National Romanticism. Architects started to use traditional Latvian folk elements and natural building materials. Typical elements were steep roofs, heavy structures and the use of ethnographic ornamental motifs. "

Riga, Latvia - Facades

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(click to enlarge) Building facades in Riga are often striking. Some are very old...

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(click to enlarge) ... while others are turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau.

Riga, Latvia - Cobblestone Streets

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Many of the streets in the Old Town of Riga (and the other Baltic capitols) are narrow, winding, and paved with cobblestones. It makes for nice historic atmosphere - and nice photos with S-curves.

Riga, Latvia - Street Scenes

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(click to enlarge) Painter editing out the foreground

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(click to enlarge) Chess here (and pretty much everywhere) looks like an old-timers' game.

Riga, Latvia - Dried Fish

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The Central Market in Riga has a fish section that features dried (and perhaps salted) fish. This is a common dish in the Baltics and around the North Sea, but I've not seen it displayed like this before in a market.

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