Saturday, 19 January 2019

Terrarium

Recently we have visited the nursery of butterflies. Today I will take you to a place where reptiles live. Since it is snowing quite heavily recently in Europe and reptiles are poikilotherm (i.e., the temperature of their body varies considerably), their house has to be a warm and sheltered place. Like a terrarium. Reptiles include several groups. First, there are turtles. The elongated tortoise lives originally in South-East Asia and India. It is endangered because of the degradation of the environments and the illegal trade driven by demand for its meat and also by traditional medicine.


 The Galapagos giant tortoise is far larger. It can live over three hundred years.


The terrarium is a place where humans try to reproduce as close as possible the natural habitat of a given spiecies. So for water turtles they create small ponds.


Another group of reptiles are crocodiles (and the like).


Then come the snakes. They are in various colours, depending on where they live. Some may be green like fresh leaves.


Others have colours closer to the soil.


But there are also some black snakes.


But the most amazing thing is that snakes actually change their skin every now and then. So if you find something like that next to house, you'd better be careful.


Another group of reptiles are lizards. Some are small but I prefer the larger ones. Like the Cuban Iguana.


Or the Green Iguana (not that green to be honest, at least not as the green snake).


But my favourite ones are the Komodo Dragons.


I hope that you have enjoyed this encounter with various reptiles, leaving in piece in this nice terrarium, like this round nose plated lizard and his pal, the leopard tortoise.


Saturday, 12 January 2019

Illumination of the Royal Route in Warsaw (2019) - the Festival of Light

We had several times the chance to admire the illumination of various parts of the Royal Route in Warsaw. In 2014 we have been to Wilanów. Since five years have passed, I think it is time to go there again. 


As always, the first thing we can spot are the decorations on the city lanterns.


They look like large snowflakes.


As we approach the royal palace of Wilanów, you can immediately spot a tunnel guiding us in the right direction.


A tunnel of light of course.


The main gate features the colours of the Polish flag.


Inside, it is really crowded despite the snow.


Why don't we sneak out to the gardens.


Those torches seem to be really burning.


All the pieces of small architecture have been used as a pretext to put more light into the garden. Like this small fountain.


In the back of the palace you will find Janina, the coat of arms of king Jan Sobieski, the founder of Wilanów.


On the main terrace you will find a field of apple trees.


Very enchanting apple trees.


Below the terace, you will find even more lights, with yet another enchanted fountain.


The garden around it is calm and partly dark ...


... until it is not.


But the most amazing thing about it is that it dances in between.


Even the smallest fountains seem to be alive, despite negative temperature.



I find it really smart.


Before you run for a cup of hot chocolate to warm you up, I propose that we take just a few steps and go to the other side of the street,  next to the District Council Hall. First, we need to pass through a giant gingerbread. Both scary and mouth-watering, isn't it?


Then we can gallop together with a Horse of Light.


And remember all those that we love.


Feels like walking in a Winter Wonderland!


Saturday, 5 January 2019

Modern face of Katowice

Although we have already been in Katowice, we did not manage then to visit the modern city center. So this time I will show you the contemporary cultural area of the Upper Silesia capital.


When you ask anyone in Poland about the first idea that comes to their minds when they hear of Katowice they will tell you about coal mining. It is absolutely true, but due to climate influence part of the mines has been already closed and the main one, the Katowice Coal Mine, was changed into a museum.


The highest and the most important building of the Silesian Museum is the Warszawa mine shaft.


It has been converted into an observation deck. Unfortunately, it is closed in winter time. The surrounding buildings contain industrial history exhibition.


More modern buildings contain a huge art collection. On this map you can locate all the buildings of the Silesian Museum.


Just next to the museum there is another cultural temple - Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra itself was created in 1935 and revived just after Second World War. Its contemporary seat was founded in 2012 and completed in 2014. It contains a main concert hall with a seating capacity of 1800 and a smaller one for 300 guests. It is among the largest and most modern music venues in Poland and the world. The building was designed by Polish architect Tomasz Konior and his team, while the acoustics of the concert hall were designed by world-renowned Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota


Just a few hundred meter further one can find another architectural symbol of the city - Spodek. In Polish it means a saucer, which refers to a flying saucer since its iconic shape resembles a UFO. The architects of Spodek, designed it as one of the first major structures to employ the principle of tensegrity. The roof uses an inclined surface held in check by a system of cables holding up its circumference.


Spodek was built from 1964 till 1971, and as described above, was given to the Polish Nation in 50th anniversary of the Third Silesian Uprising. It can hold around 11,500 people and until 2014 was the biggest indoor venue in Poland . It hosted world championships in ice hockey, volleyball, handball, WTA tenis tournaments and many music concerts.


The last symbol of Katowice on our path is the Silesian Insurgents' Monument. It was built to commemorate those who took part in the three Silesian Uprisings of 1919, 1920 and 1921, which aimed to make the region of Upper Silesia part of the newly independent Polish state after First World War.


The monument was unveiled on 1 September 1967. The wings symbolize the three uprisings, and the names of places where battles were fought are etched on the vertical slopes.


I hope that you have enjoyed our cultural trip of contemporary Katowice.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Let's go fishing!

Today is our last evening on Thulhaghiri. I propose that we celebrate it with yet another way of enjoying your time off by the sea. We will board this little boat.


Its design is typical for the Maldives. The most amazing part is that instead of holding a steering wheel, the captain uses his foot.


We will be fishing in open sea today. Or in the open ocean to be more precise. Our island is hardly visible now.


The crew took out a long rope.


We are ready to anchor.


We will use a traditional fishing method - a piece of gimp on a plastic circle.


Obviously, we need bait. It is actually fish meat so I expect we look for some fish with pretty sharp teeth.


We need to place one piece on a hook at the end of the gimp.


And then you throw it in the water.


Then it is all about waiting. And waiting. And getting jealous when somebody else manages to catch something.


Even if this is not a large something, still it is something.


The sun starts to set down.


And finally, my first catch! It is surprisingly large so the nice gentleman agreed to hold it while I take a few steps back to take a perfect picture.


This is a Something now!


The Sun gets lower again.


And yes, another catch! And who caught it? Me, me, me! Well, fine, my human assistant but this is just the same.


Towards the end of the strip, our bucket looks really impressive. Though most of them were caught by the captain of the ship.


We can now sail back and enjoy the magnificent sunset. Like in paintings by J.W. M. Turner.


But the absolutely very best part of it will be later in the evening, when the cook does his magic. Bon appetit my friends!