Monday, May 20, 2013

A Mykonos Sunset Sped Up

About a month ago I posted a video of the sunset in Santorini and while we were on Mykonos I recorded another beautiful sunset.  If you can tolerate watching six plus minutes of a slow moving sunset you'll notice many posing tourists who stepped in front of the camera while I was recording.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tuning A Piano At The Kharkiv Art Museum

While we were exploring the Kharkiv Art Museum someone began tuning a piano and so I took out my camera and recorded a little bit of it.  We were the only ones around at the time and so it gave an eerie feeling.  

In one of the open doors I was able to find our mystery piano tuner.

The Battleship Potemkin

In 1905, the sailors on the Battleship Potemkin revolted against the command of their ship after being given rotten meat to eat.  They refused to eat the meat and the leaders of the ship commanded the security aboard the ship to force them to eat it.  The sailors then rebelled, took control of the ship, and ran it aground in Odessa.  The rebellion was celebrated following the Communist takeover and in 1925 director Sergei Eisenstein's film version of the events memorialized it forever.  

Down near the Odessa port you can find two memorials to the events of the mutiny on the Potemkin.  This one is dedicated to the sailors.

A second memorial about a block away is dedicated to Grigory Vakulinchuk who was one of the sailors on the Potemkin.  He was killed during the mutiny and his funeral became a huge political protest against the Czar.  Those events cover much of the second half of the film.  

Battleship Potemkin is in the public domain and so it is available to watch on YouTube for free and you can find it here.

Ukrainian Sunday: A Random Picture Collection From Odessa

Roughly every month I collect the photos that didn't quite get their own post and bring them together in a single post.  Past collection can be found here.  

I've only been out of Ukraine for a little more than a month but emotionally and mentally it seems much much longer.  Nevertheless, I still have a bunch of posts about Ukraine and our last few weeks there and so I thought I would post one of these older updates each Sunday until I'm all caught up.  To start, here are some of the photos taken from Odessa.  

One of the weirder Eastern European tourism traditions is that when there are busy open public squares there will inevitably be a group of men holding doves who will walk up to you and try to get you to hold them for money.   The "dove guys" near the famous Potemkin Steps stepped it up a notch as they had an eagle that you could have your photo taken with.  

Some of the walls needed a little help around the Potemkin Steps.

The steps are designed to be an optical illusion which you can see in this photo.  Between sets of stairs there is a landing but as you stand at the bottom you are only able to see the steps up and so it looks like one long staircase.

The port of Odessa.

A lighthouse on the Black Sea.

This statue waits for you at the top of the Potempkin Steps and is of Armand-Emmanuel de Vignerot du Plessis who was the first governor of Odessa.  He was a French royalist who in lived in exile after the French Revolution and joined the Russian military and rose to the rank of Major General.

 If you are a tourist in Odessa you must get your photo taken sitting on this monument to the novel The Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Petrov.

A roof was put on top of this street and created a nice little shopping mall.

Some high stakes chess matches held in a park near the apartment we rented.

While walking down a street we noticed a monument down an alleyway and behind a gate.

That's never stopped us from getting to a historical marker.  It turned out to be a memorial to Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof who created the Esperanto in 1887.

This is the Museum of Western and Eastern Art and in 2008 two thieves broke in and stole a painting by Caravaggio.  The piece was called The Taking Of Christ and was recovered in 2010.

 A memorial to sailors lost in the Black Sea.

Another view of the port of Odessa.

Another in a long line of World War II memorials.

One afternoon we made our way to one of the beaches that during the summer months is standing room only.  

The sun even came out for a few minutes.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bender From Futurama In Ancient Greece

During my visit to the National Archaeological Museum I came upon this carved tablet and...

...all I could wonder was there ever an episode of Futurama in which Bender went back in time to Ancient Greece?

Friday, May 17, 2013

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens

If you happen to live in a horrible alternate universe in which you can visit Athens but you are allowed to visit just one museum, you must visit the National Archaeological Museum.  For some people, the reason would be the depth of the collection honoring ancient Greek culture.  For me, it is the inclusion of one piece I've always wanted to see, The Mask of Agamemnon.  When archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered the mask placed on face of body he thought he had found the burial site of the Greek hero Agamemnon.  The dating of the golden mask has found it is not old enough to be from the same time period attributed to Agamemnon but the story is great nonetheless.  

One of the recent additions to the museum was an exhibit highlighting recovered treasures and statues from sunken Greek ships.  As you can see, having spent centuries in salt water has destroyed much of the marble statues except for the parts that ended up covered by the sand and dirt at the bottom of the sea.

Here are the surviving parts of a bronze statue.

And now a close up of the face.  What a remarkable beard!

One of the largest and most imposing statues was this bronze piece of possibly Zeus or Poseidon.  The question is did the sculptor intend to have him hold a lightening bolt or trident.

One of the most interesting pieces was this sarcophagus which may not seem too remarkable at first... 

...but with a closer look you will notice that the head and the body don't seem to match very well.  This is because as Athenian cemeteries became more and more crowded these sort of tombs had to be reused and as they were the faces of the statues were changed.  Unfortunately, this gentleman had his head placed on the former tomb of a woman. 

Sure, it is missing its head, arms, and legs but the detail that remains on the armor is amazing.  

Now this is what I call a belt buckle.  

And there is no way I can finish a post on ancient Greek statues without posting one last photo.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Taras Shevchenko Mega Post

One of my favorite blog topics while I was in Ukraine was showing the monuments and memorials to the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko.  I had several examples saved up to show on a rainy day when I didn't have anything else to write about but a bit of serendipity during our recent trip to Paris has forced me to dust them off a little sooner.  We were walking around Paris searching for the famous cafe Les Deux Magots when we noticed a familiar name on one of the signs on a park fence.  

After a little translating, it turns out the park was dedicated to Shevchenko in 1937 and inside the gates you can find a bust honor our dear poet.

It was like Ukraine reached out and tapped us on the shoulder and so here are the other Shevchenko sightings we made before in the weeks before leaving Ukraine in April.   This plaque was seen on a building in Ivano-Frankivsk.

I'm sad to admit I have forgotten exactly which city I saw this may have been Lviv, possibly?

This flower decorated statue was seen in Kolomyia.

We unfortunately came the weekend after Kolomyia had held a Shevchenko celebration.  Here's a poster advertising the events:

This bust was in Kharkiv's Art Museum and it makes me think what Taras would look like if he were to star in The Incredible Hulk.  

These next two paintings and small statue were discovered in Kharkiv's History Museum.  After seeing so many monochromatic statues of Shevchenko this is the first color painting I've seen done of him.  

Another Shevchenko portrait.

And lastly a lovely little statue of Shevchenko that would be a great addition to the inventory of the History Museum's gift shop if there was such a thing.  I think I will try to track down a similar bust as a final memento of my days in Ukraine. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Marvel With A Mango: Birthday Dinner Follow-Up

You may remember a few weeks ago I wrote about visiting a nice little Thai restaurant called "Tamarind" on my birthday while we were in Athens.

After continuing on our trip to some of the Greek islands, we returned to Athens briefly before catching our flights home.  The hotel we stayed at was close to the original apartment we stayed at and so in our travels we walked past the Tamarind restaurant again...although this time something seemed to have changed.

All the seating in the class enclosure was gone...


...and there was a lock on the front door. 

When we ate there on my birthday we were the only customers in the place and so I wonder if we were possibly the last customers that ever ate there.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Graffiti #15: Graffiti Around Athens

I was expecting the graffiti around Athens to be some of the best I seen on my trip.  After all, some of the earliest examples of "ancient graffiti" are from Greece and Egypt so we're talking centuries of experience.  Plus, I imagined the economic crisis could have provided many empty/abandoned spaces to be drawn on along with many people looking for an outlet of their emotions and passions. Whatever the true motivation, Athens didn't disappoint.  

Athens also had the first store I've seen devoted to graffiti.

You can pick up your favorite brand of paint.

But the graffiti right outside the store was more than a little disappointing.

Park a subway train car in one place long enough and this happens.

And last but not least, a simple yet funny addition to a swimsuit advertisement.