Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Old Amsterdam

Sometimes you come across gems so good, you just can't wait to share them. 

Amsterdam, 1949.  Few things have changed since then.  The only notable ones being the houses-turned-factories are now houses again, and bridge tolls are no longer collected the same way they were 62 years ago.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Although videographer may not be in my repertoire, I could add non-commissioned wedding photographer to it,... all thanks to owning a professional grade camera for my travels.

Not bad for someone who just had laser eye corrective surgery and still sees blurry.  (Three cheers for auto-focus!)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

ride home

On rare beautiful days, there's nothing I love more than biking home from work. We've had a few of them lately, rare beautiful days that is, and it struck me that I may want to capture one on video.  You know, in case those rare beautiful days becomes even more rare before I finally skip on out of here.

So, for your viewing pleasure, I give you: My Ride Home.

(Be advised: I fully acknowledge that the title of videographer is not in my repertoire.  I have not now, nor will I, probably, ever profess it to be.  Secondly, although my bicycle is wicked awesome, it isn't fully equipped with wicked awesome shock absorbers... so pardon the bumps).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

cultural differences

And this is just another thing that sets the Dutch workplace apart from the American one.

"All:  In the light of Customer service week, we are organising a happy hour this afternoon (starting 15:30 to ----?) in the Kitchen area at D1. There will be refreshements (bier en frisdrank) and some chips to go with the drinks. Hope you can make it." 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

population 270,000

Legend has it, Jason, the Greek hero, slew a dragon where present day Ljubljana now resides. So it is said, there were many dragons in the Slavic region in those days - most of which were not in the least bit friendly. Today, however, four dragons sit atop a bridge as protectors of the city.  Ljubljana couldn't be in safer hands.

The capital city is the smallest I may have ever visited. But that might be due to the outdoorsy Slovenian mentality, and their desire to be as close as they can to nature.  The city itself is surrounded by mulitple parks. The old town is pedestrian only, with an occasional bike, and it provides the most charming atmosphere with its outdoor cafes lining the river Ljubljanica. Even its supermarkets were the most visually appealing places.  The store wall shelving was made from mahogany wood, the doors were painted with a rich color of red, and the whole feel was reminiscent of a late 1800's general store, with a shop employee standing behind a counter ready to wrap up whatever you request.

On summer evenings, the air is filled with the music. You can easily spend hours walking from one street to the other in persuit of the best band, which is no easy feat. And eating a deliciously massive ice cream cone, from a botique parlor called Cacao, makes the experience all the more enjoyable.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bats and all

Slovenia tourism websites boast of two "must-see" caves.

The Postonja caves are quotedly referred to, by a fellow traveller, as being "just like Gringotts, minus the goblins."  And who wouldn't like to feel like they've stepped into a Harry Potter film?  An open air train carries its passengers through the extensive caving system for a ten minute ride before the hour long tour on foot. It is the longest accessably available cave system in the world, measuring 5.3 kilometers (3.3 miles) long. Since the caves are relatively close to Ljubliana, along with multiple tour operators offering packages to Postonja and its nearby castle, the caves are infiltrated with visitors.

The Skocjan caves are a UNESCO World Heritage site and are ranked among the most important caves in the world. Earliest records of the caves date back to 2nd century B.C., and is believed to have been inhabited as early as 3,000 B.C.  Its distinguishing factor is the Reka river which flows right through it. The biggest stalagmite is 15 meters (45 feet) high and 250,000 years old.  Up until recently, tourist would have to scale the cave walls, sometimes as high as 140 meters (460 feet) above the cavern floor. It is also rumored that the Greek god, Hades, lived there.

Since I wanted to visit one of them, I was left with a choice:  Gringotts or the underworld. The decision was easy.  I chose hell.