May 2013 Archives

Bulgaria: 2013-05-31

Another wide-ranging day, with lots of driving around the country. Click photos to enlarge them.


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The first site was the Madara Horse Rider Rock-Cut Relief, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can't tell from the photo, but this bas relief is roughly life size, and is about 90 feet up on the cliff face.


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Other things about the site were nearly as striking, includidng the 220 stairs up to the base of the cliff,


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the dramatic forest through which the stairs ascend,


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the beautiful stone wall at the base of the stairs,


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and some of the most luxuriant roses we've ever seen.


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Next we went to the Tombul Mosque in the town of Shumen, the largest mosque in Bulgaria. It was under renovation, but the interior and some of the details were impressive.


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Finally, we went to the Royal Tomb of Sveshtari, dating from the 4th-3rd centuries BCE, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's a unique example of Thracian art and architecture.

Bulgaria: 2013-05-30

We spent a full day in Varna, Bulgaria's second largest city, and its major port on the Black Sea. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Exhibits in the very fine Archeological Museum.


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A memorial in the form of a shofar, erected by the Jewish community in Varna to thank the Bulgarians who saved them from the Nazis, located in a garden in front of the Archeological Museum.


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Exterior and interior of the Varna Cathedral (Bulgarian Orthodox)


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Aquatic Center in Varna's Sea Park.


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Three portraits. The middle one is of Krisi, a college student who met with some of our tour group to talk about the life of young people in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria: 2013-05-29

We spent the morning looking at antiquities in Nessebar, an ancient city on the Black Sea that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic center is distressingly overrun with tacky shops selling gaudy souveniers, but the antiquities are stunning nonetheless.

Click photos to enlarge them.

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Items in the fine Archeological Museum


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Detail of a replica of an icon in the Archeological Museum


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Details of ancient churches


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Perhaps the only classy commercial display we saw in Nessebar.


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In the afternoon we drove north along the Black Sea coast to Varma, where we'll spend the next two nights. These are two views of the ruined Roman baths, the fourth largest in the Roman Empire.

Bulgaria: 2013-05-28

Today we drove from Plovdiv through the Valley of Roses (Valley of the Thracian Kings) to Nessebar on the Black Sea coast: a long day but an interesting one through some picturesque countryside. Click photos to enlarge them.


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First stop was the spa resort town of Hissarya, ancient Diocletianopolis. Impressive ruins of Roman walls, gates, and baths.


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Next we visited a rose oil distillery, observing fields of pink (damask) and white (rosa alba) roses (rather sparse at the end of the season),


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and learning how the rose petals are distilled into rose oil.


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Each of the bags weighs 17 kilos.


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An old still.


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A friendly but somewhat skeptical dog.


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Baskets for picking roses on a picturesque tile-topped wall.


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Pretty in pink: Selling rose-oil-based products


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After lunch we visited the replica site of the 4th century BCE Thracian tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then about four hours drive to Nessebar. We were glad to get off the bus.

Bulgaria: May 27, 2013

This was our day to explore Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria, and a rather attractive one. Some of its attractions are Roman ruins, a large and handsome mosque, a picturesque Old Town, a lively arts scene, and an active pedestrian mall in the modern part of the city. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Ceiling of the light and colorful mosque.


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Detail of the exterior of the mosque.


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Roman ampitheater


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Ruins of the city wall built by the Romans, looking out on the valley surrounding Plovdiv.


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Lovers on the wall (taken with a long telephoto lens).


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Mural near Old Town


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Table in a room of a wealthy merchant's home, maintained as a museum in Old Town.


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Statue of a painter in Old Town.


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When the artists aren't painting canvases, they're producing grafitti of better than average quality.


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The pedestrian mall near our hotel was also full of visual interest.


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At the end of the afternoon we visited a winery a half-hour from the city. It's a small, "boutique" winery, but the steel tanks looked pretty capacious.


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This woman led us in an instructive comparative tasting of five red wines. The paintings on the walls have been used on the bottle labels.

Bulgaria: May 26, 2013

Our internet connection in Plovdiv, for some reason, didn't allow connection to the University of Minnesota blog site, so I've been unable to post for the past two days. I'll try to catch up. Click photos to enlarge them.

We bused from Sofia to Rila Mountain to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Rila Monastery - a truly remarkable place. Large, decorated on every surface, wealthy, interesting details as well as overall impressions.

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View of the large courtyard and monastery. Church on the right.


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A wonderfully elaborately carved door in the museum.


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Our tour guide, Katya Melamed, explaining the imagery of a mural.


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A priest or monk reading in the church.


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Lighting candles in the church.


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Detail of a mural depicting the sufferings of sinners in hell, on the exterior of the church.


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Lunch at a rural restaurant that specializes in trout, raised locally. A very rapid stream runs past it down the mountain.


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There are a bunch of scruffy fishing/camping huts on the grounds.


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We passed a town in which many storks have built nests on the chimneys.


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Arriving in Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria, we found ourselves in the middle of loud, raucus high school graduation and prom celebrations. The girls were all wearing five inch stiletto heels.

Afternoon Stroll in Sofia

After returning from the day's tour and taking a short nap, we walked down Vitosha Street - the high-class street in central Sofia - to the Sephardic Synagogue, the largest in Europe. We knew it would be closed, because it's Saturday, but we wanted to see it anyhow. These are some photos taken along the way. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Along Vitosha Street


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Pastry shop in indoor market near synagogue


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Facade of Sephardic Synagogue


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Mannequin advertising a pizzeria


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Strange flower girl in wedding dress shop window


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Sidewalk cafe on Vitosha Street


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Break dancers


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Resting on a lazy afternoon

Day Tour in Sofia

Our first and only full day in Sofia. These photos are from our tour of some of the major sites/sights. Click photos to enlarge them.

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St. Alexander Nevski Church


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St. Alexander Nevski Church


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Ticket-seller at St. Sophia Basilica


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Russian Church


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Fountain in park


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Roman Serdica Fortifications


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Statue of St. Sophia


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Church of Sveta Nedelya


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Church of Sveta Nedelya


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Archeological Museum


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Archeological Museum


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Booth in Happy Bar & Grill where we had lunch


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Frescos in earliest room (8th C) of Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site


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Paintings for sale outside Boyana Church

Rooftops of Sofia, Bulgaria

View from our window on the eighth floor of the Central Park Hotel. Photos taken using the Olympus "Dramatic Tone" art filter, which seems to go well with the old tile roofs of the city. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Pictures of the Day

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Click photos to enlarge them.

We will be traveling for the next several weeks in Bulgaria and Romania. I hope to post a travelog on this blog, but postings may be erratic depending on internet access.

Vines

In the back alley. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Newly planted hostas. (click to enlarge)

Underground

Basement of the Blair Arcade in Saint Paul. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Blair Arcade, Saint Paul. (click to enlarge)

After the Rain

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Picture of the Day

Some scenes just demand to be in vivid color. The Nathan Hale statue in the park at the intersection of Summit, Portland, and Western in Saint Paul. Read about the statue's history here. (click to enlarge)

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Stairways

Interesting geometries in our Saint Paul neighborhood. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Seen in Portland

Just wandering around. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Potatoes at the Farmers' Market


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Exercise class

Picture of the Day

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Guthrie Theater Facade

The exterior of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis is adorned with large portraits of famous playwrights. Here are a couple. When the weather is nice, Sea Change restaurant serves dinner on the plaza. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Anton Chekhov observing


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August Wilson reflecting

Picture of the Day

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Mural, Coffman Union, University of Minnesota (click to enlarge)

Stadium Village Scenes

Near the University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

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A Walker Evans-like scene (I wish).


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Reflections are fun to play with.

Picture of the Day

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Mixed messages at the Light Rail. (click to enlarge)

Afternoon Break

Relaxing on a warm spring afternoon at the University of Minnesota. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Suspension

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Sometimes the aim of a photograph is to show, sometimes it's to puzzle... (click to enlarge)

Picture of the Day

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MSP Terminal 2. (click to enlarge)

Musicians

Performers at the Portland Farmers' Market. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Pictures of the Day

Flying from PDX to MSP. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Produce

Farmers' Market in Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the day

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Carlos the Chihuahua (click to enlarge)

Shoppers

Farmers' Market at Portland State University. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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On the Portland Streetcar. (click to enlarge)

Japanese School

A classroom in the Japanese immersion program school in Portland that our grand-daughter attends. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Green in Portland

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Click photos to enlarge them.

Picture of the Day

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People's Market

Colorful scenes from the People's Market in Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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People's Market, Portland. (click to enlarge)

To Cross the Water

Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Pictures of the Day

City Market in Portland. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Life in Flux

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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Cannon Beach

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Reflections: Three graces x 2. (click to enlarge)

Shadows

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On a wall in Portland. (click to enlarge)

A Quiet, Private Lunch

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In Coffman Union (click to enlarge)

Picture of the Day

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A small fraction of the shopping carts at Ikea in Portland. (click to enlarge)

Mina

Photos of our grand-daughter. Click photos to enlarge them.


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Picture of the Day

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Contra-Winter

It's cold and snowy in Minnesota on May 2, for heaven's sake. Here's some relief from Florida.

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Picture of the Day

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Florida Colors

As cold, drab weather drags on in Minnesota, I feel the need to post some warm and colorful pictures taken in mid-March at the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. These would be fall colors in Minnesota, but in Florida it seems they happen year-round. Click photos to enlarge them.

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Picture of the Day

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(click to enlarge)

Death Valley in Color and Black & White (3)

Two more comparisons between color and black and white versions of scenes of Zabriskie Point in Death Valley. I think they're pretty close: the color a bit prettier, the b&w a bit more abstract and dramatic. Click photos to enlarge them.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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