June 29, 2011

X is for Xtreme Sport

"Look ma, no hands!

Also known as a parent's nightmare.

In Skatepark Herăstrău, girls and boys of all ages xhibit their daring and skills on bikes, rollerblades and skateboards.

Bucharest, 2011

I appreciate their spunk and daredevilry. I was like this as a kid, too, in my own way. (You're not surprised, are you?) I believe this youthful fearlessness helps to develop balance and independence. But I must admit I was happy I didn't witness anyone bleed.

If you are curious to see the kids in action, I found this 3:40 minute video on YouTube. It also shows you where on our globe the park is located.

Now for a seriously jaw-dropping piece of inspiration, go see this video of Danny MacAskill performing his amazing street riding. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's had over 26 million views, so you can be sure it'll be worth your while.

What have you done to push your envelope of daring and creativity?

This joins the community at ABC Wednesday where the letter of the week is the difficult X.

June 27, 2011

Yellow Wheels

Vienna, 2011

Visitors to Vienna can hop on a horse-drawn carriage and get a guided tour around this beautiful historic city. The old-fashioned carriages can be found parked on Stephansplatz I introduced earlier, right beside the famous cathedral.

There are people who oppose the use of horses for this purpose, no matter how well the animals are treated or protected by laws. In New York City, for instance, a bill has been introduced to ban them. 

What is your view on this topic? Is this an issue close to your heart, either way? The newly wedded couple of Britain greeted their well-wishers in a royal carriage. Was that a sweet nod to tradition or just painfully old-fashioned? Or does it matter at all?

These bright yellow wheels join Mellow Yellow Monday.

June 25, 2011

Colorful Bridge to Colorless Village

 Romania, 2011

On the road north from Bucharest going to Moldova a few months ago, I drive-by shot this colorful blue-yellow-red bridge leading to an otherwise rather bleak looking village. Hopefully the place looks cheerier now with summer blooms and greenery. 

Taxi Driver Reflects

Is there anyone who has NOT been in a taxi with a driver who knows his global news?

Tonight we had gone further away than usual from our apartment to buy our groceries at a Carrefour, a large French-owned hypermarket. As we came out of the building, boldly parked right in front of the line of yellow taxis, was this driver with a beat-up old gray car who enthusiastically offered a deal to get us back home and, after the nod, quickly lifted our heavy bags into his trunk. We were stunned that the "official" cab drivers did not utter a squeak in protest.

We speak no Romanian and our driver knew no more than a few words of English, and still, yes and still, he and my brother together managed to sort out the problems of our world. I just sat in the back, enjoyed their banter and captured this driver (and photographer) in the small mirror attached to his cracked front windshield.

Bucharest, 2011

This image joins the communities at Weekend in Black and White and Weekend Reflections.

Perhaps if you enlarge this second longer view image you can also see the sunlight reflect off the cracks in the windshield glass.

June 24, 2011

[SkyWatch] More Transylvania Skies

[enlarge to see sheep]

Romania, 2011

I'm hooked on sky-watching, especially when driving through pretty countryside and past charming old towns. These are drive-by shots, and no, I am not the driver.

Find other gorgeous skies at SkyWatch Friday.

June 23, 2011

Add Some Color, Please

Bucharest, 2011

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.
   ~ Marc Chagall

We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.
   ~ John Locke

The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.
   ~ Marcus Aurelius

Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.
   ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.
   ~ Georgia O'Keeffe

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.
   ~ John Calvin
Today I join Signs, Signs.

June 22, 2011

W is for Window

Well, this Wednesday it's W week over at ABC Wednesday, where wondrous folks write or photograph their heart's desires and wish to share. Won't you want to go enjoy the wit and whoopee?

While wandering my way through Bucharest these past working weeks, I've witnessed a myriad of wonderful windows. 

Let me present to you just ten today. [Click image to enlarge.]

Some windows I notice for their lovely shape...

Others for their retro design...

I found windows nearly enveloped...

 And many with exotic style...

Apartment windows embellished with the zodiac signs...

And windows that glow from within...

Some windows are cute, yet just too small for my taste...

Then some windows intrigue me for what peeks out from them...

Other windows make me wonder what's inside...

And still other windows fascinate me only for what they reflect...

But perhaps the window that means the most to me are not made of glass at all... they are your eyes, the window to your soul.

June 19, 2011

Painted Daisy

I'm fairly certain that these are Painted Daisies also known as Chrysanthemums of the family Asteraceae. But I can't nail the species... are they coccineum, carinatum, both or neither?

Postscript: The only thing I got right is the family name. Beautiful bloggers have properly informed me that these are Gaillardia, commonly called Blanket Flower. Lesson: Don't be certain about things you know you know nothing about!

Whatever they are, these daisies blanket flowers I found in a Bucharest park sure are delightful eye candy! 

 [glorious details better seen enlarged]

(Note: If any of the meme hosts object to multiple linking, don't be shy to let me know. I do make best efforts to visit other bloggers linked to each meme.)

Count Dracula's Castle

The character in Bram Stoker's Gothic novel Dracula, published 1897, was based on the real life chilling personality of Vlad the Impaler (1431-1476). Vlad's is a complex history of power and ugly revenge, and space does not permit a fair recounting; so if it interests you, you can check out the stories, real and fictional, here.

Yet the castle described in the classic book was based on this fortress in Bran, a few hours drive north of Bucharest, where Vlad never lived. Nonetheless, it is now nicknamed Dracula's Castle. 

 Transylvania, 2011

Have you read the book? A friend cajoled me to read it in the 80s and it's a heckuva compelling story. Having now seen Bran Castle, inside and outside, I am tempted to reread the novel.

My best shot of the exterior was this pretty view from behind with a little footbridge, so I join the bridge hunters at Sunday Bridges and Scenic Sunday

June 18, 2011

Waiting for the Water

Sibiu in Transylvania, 280 km / 170 mi north of Bucharest, has a picturesque town square in its old center. In the middle of the large open space is a fountain that spouts intermittently. Children and pigeons hang around patiently waiting for the water.

 Sibiu, Romania, 2011

This image joins Weekend Reflections and Weekend in Black & White.
[It is more interesting enlarged.]

The fountain brings joy to the kids...

... and to the pigeons who use it to bathe.

This is a longer view of this charming square and fountain.

June 17, 2011

[SkyWatch] Transylvania Skies on the Road

To continue my road trip theme of the week, one of the delights of driving in a car is seeing the road ahead meet the changing skies. These were a few of the skies we witnessed driving though the Transylvania countryside last weekend. [The skies look bigger enlarged.]

Romania, 2011

See more amazing skies linked to SkyWatch Friday.

June 16, 2011

I is for Illicit or Illegal?

Was it illicit or illegal to photograph this sign?

Romania, 2011

Observation: there seems to be a growing paranoia about the public use of cameras right at a time when every Tom, Dick and Annabelle roams the streets with a camera in their cellphone. What is the use of promulgating rules and regulations that cannot be systematically and fairly enforced? Just asking.

June 15, 2011

V is for Village

This past weekend I thoroughly enjoyed a slow two-day road trip up through mountains and down into valleys in a special historical area of southern Transylvania, a little over three hours from Bucharest, called Mărginimea Sibiului. Eighteen towns and villages, each with its own cultural, architectural and historical heritage, many dating back to the 14th century, make up this ethnographic region.

V is the letter of the week at ABC Wednesday where I link this post of just a very few of the various views of the verifiably charming villages we visited in variable weather. [As usual, every photo can be enlarged.]


Transylvania, Romania, 2011