Bob and Eva's Adventures

Posts by Bob

Budapest Loves English – Hot Body, Cold Beer

Posted on April 12, 2017

Aside from a few million Hungarians and three Harvard professors, almost nobody speaks and reads Hungarian. So English has become the lingua franca that helps the rest of us get around and understand what’s going on. Eva and I, and daughter Suzi, spent eight days in February wandering the fabulous streets of Budapest, cameras (at least iPhones) in hand. Suzi has the keenest eye for capturing the unexpected, including signs and stuff in English, so I want this post to feature only her photographs. Let’s see what caught her attention.

Hot body, cold beer.

Different is beautiful. Sputnik? Haven’t the Russians left town?

Love thy neighbors.

Real girls are real pearls.

Life is too short for a shit bike.

Time cover mural – Hungarian uprising against communism, 1956

Leave it to America to deface anything.

A nice bit of barber creativity

Hair-Nett. Now that’s a good one.

Ka-Pow!

Maybe mr. Goodbar eats here.

Beef Club – The place for carnivores.

Haven for the gluten free crowd.

Can a gluten free bakery really make a go of it? In Budapest, no less?

Just say no to almost everything – except paleo!

Let’s get down to some real food!

If you are throwing an event, they’ve got the stuff.

Maybe all you want for your party is a load of Zing Burgers.

How about a do it yourself kitchen.

Do they serve mEAT?

Yum. Liver, tripe and pig knuckles.

Fine wines – good liver chasers.

If your iPhone is on the fritz, these guys can help you.

If you need to go upstairs use the escalator way upstairs. Huh?

The people who live in Budapest have been through a lot over the years.

Is it time for a beer?

Maybe a Shakesbeer.

How about something a wee heavy?

To chase the evening hungries away, here’s the place.

For the super hungry, here’s a place where you can literally eat your plate. Really. No waste here.

The place for the best coffee. They say so; they must know.

Now for some hot wine – that’s a new one.

Cake is always a good idea.

Time now to wrap up the afternoon and this blog post. Better latte than never.

Prague – Signs of the Times

Posted on February 12, 2017

In Prague – where tourists outnumber air molecules, there’s a definite need for souvenirs, especially real ones. Here’s the place to go!

Authentic souvenirs

Authentic souvenirs

If you want to meet up somewhere with a friend to show off your new authentic treasures you can meet at the Meeting Point on Wenceslas Square.

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Perhaps you are hungry and want some beef.

Beef Bar

Beef Bar

Or maybe a big Mac on Wenceslas Square.

MAC

M.A.C.

Oops. Wrong place. Maybe over here on the other side we can find a Big Mac and a nice tablety with WiFi.

McD

MickyD

Americans may prefer KFC, which is over this way.

KFC this way

KFC this way

If all you want is an occasional beer then try out the Prague Saturday Saunterers.

Prague Saturday Saunterers

Prague Saturday Saunterers

Or try the specialty – pork knee roasted in dark beer.

Pork knee in beer

Pork knee in beer

All I need right now is a coffee.

Coffee House

Coffee House

Cut O Joe with unrefined sugar

Cup O Joe with unrefined sugar

After a good coffee, who can resist sneaking a bit of absinth?

Absinth for a bit of euphoria

Absinth for a bit of euphoria

If these aren’t for you then maybe try one of these.

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If cola is your taste, then by all means try an air conditioned Coca Cola.

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Who wants AC in the dead of winter?

Who wants AC in the dead of winter?

Maybe it’s time for a cigarety.

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As a foreinger, I’d better get some money exchanged. I sense some expensive indulgences coming on.

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Prague is a safe place, trust me. There are gun free zones around. And hate free zones, too.

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However, this park bench quotation leaves me in a quandary, especially for these days we are in.

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Maybe it’s time to buy some music sheets and play some cheery tunes.

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Maybe some day we’ll again be giving folks a thumb’s up.

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Here’s a famous wall where you can express yourself without fear.

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Don't Trump yourself

Don’t Trump yourself

Bridges, not fences

Bridges, not walls

Avoid snakes in the grass.

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Let’s see if we can simplify life a little bit.

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Get a haircut and feel renewed.

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And tone down your voice. Some folks around you may prefer that.

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Then cross the Charles Bridge, lay your hand on a chosen spot and make a good, positive wish for human kind.

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Prague – Pluses and Minuses

Posted on February 12, 2017

Prague, like everywhere else, has its pluses and minuses. Here’s my take on the situation.

A plus for this one

A plus for this one

A minus for sure

A minus for sure

You get the point.

You get the point.

Oh, blast. A numeral.

Oh, blast. A numeral.

Hmm, where should this blog post go?

Hmm, where is this blog post going?

Oh my god, an omega!

Oh my god, an omega!

That sucks the oxygen right out of the air.

This sucks the oxygen right out of the air.

Where did all these Vs come from?

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Give me a W.

Give me a W.

For sure, X marks the spot.

For sure, X marks the spot.

Give me a Y.

Give me a Y.

Let’s wrap this thing up while Martin here is still 80. Only two days left.

A good M

A good M for sure

Not a bad 8 if you ask me.

Not a bad 8 if you ask me.

Maybe a little desperate for an O.

Maybe a little desperate for an O but why complain this late in the game.

The end.

Prague from the Street

Posted on February 11, 2017

Tourists visit Prague for many reasons but two favorites are to sample the beer and to see the Astronomical Clock on the main city square. So Eva, Suzi and I do both right away. Here’s the clock in the dead of winter with a few (thousand), mostly Asian, admirers with their cell phone cameras at the ready.

Astronomical Clock

Astronomical Clock dating from 1410

We have long planned to stay at the centrally located U Medvidku Hotel and oldest active brewery in Prague, dating from 1466. As we check in, we are offered free steins of their brew, which we enjoy in the lobby. Our room is on the top, fourth floor among the rafters. Suzi’s bed is perched on a loft amongst the beams. Our in-room bathroom is actually in another building. We share the wall. The floors don’t match up so we climb six stairs to the door. Bizarre.

Beers in the lobby

Beers in the lobby

Our room amongst the timbers

Our room amongst the timbers

Some of the brewery kettles

Some of the brewery kettles

Buffet breakfast comes with the room

Buffet breakfast comes with the room. This is a portion of what is offered.

A couple of blocks away from us is Wenceslas Square where major demonstrations have taken place, such as the Velvet Revolution in 1989 against Communist repression, championed by Alexander Dubcek and Vaclav Havel. Today it’s a major shopping area. Because Prague was not damaged during WWII, many fine buildings remain from earlier times throughout the city. Along Wenceslas Square are many places built during the Art Nouveau period around 1900 and the Art Deco period that followed. Here are some examples.

To feed the masses who come there today, there are two McDonald’s, a Burger King and a KFC. When revolution comes to America’s plazas, will MickyD be there?

Wenceslas Square

Wenceslas Square

The Grand Hotel, now boarded up

The Grand Hotel, presently boarded up

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Most of Prague is paved with cobblestones. Nonetheless, yesterday we did nearly 20,000 steps, according to our iPhone, and were none the worse for wear at the end of the day.

Typical back street

Typical back street

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Not far away from us is the large Jewish quarter with many synagogues, cemetery and shops. Of course, the quarter’s inhabitants were decimated in WWII by the Nazis. In the 18th century, they were about one quarter of the population and more Jews lived here than anywhere else on Earth. Now there is some recovery.

Jewish quarter

Jewish quarter

Nearby flows the Moldau River, put to music by Bedrich Smetana in his famous Ma Vlast (My Homeland) symphonic poems we know as The Moldau.

The Moldau

The Moldau

At the end of one of the several bridges spanning the river is a plaque to Gustav Mahler, the famous 19th century composer. He got his professional start in Prague in 1885 as conductor of the Prague German Opera. At that time there was much tension between the resident Germans and Czechs. He managed to keep his musicians playing together harmoniously, so to say.

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Franz Kafka, though of German Jewish parentage, is today one of Prague’s most esteemed sons and towering figures in 20th century literature. Try his easily read “Metamorphosis” as a starter. Free on the internet in the US.

A poster

A poster

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Another notable figure is Jan Hus, the martyred theologian who attempted Catholic reform a century before Martin Luther survived a similar feat. A huge statue is in the Old Town Square.

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Prague is crawling with tourists, even in the wintertime. Souvenir shops follow their paths.

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We cross the river but the tourists follow. Still there are many beautiful things to see.

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Of course hunger finally catches up with us. We find a nice local spot rather away from the tourist stream. We drink lots of beer. It’s half the price of German beer, which is already cheap, about 25 cents for an American size can. Bread is 40 cents a pound – the tasty, dense rye type. Yum.

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It's goulash again

It’s goulash again, seemingly the national dish.

Finally, in the evening we get to the famed Charles Bridge. Charles IV crossed it 700 years ago. These days millions cross it, hourly. Mostly Asians. It’s really sooty and ugly as I see it in the winter gloom.

Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

One day we walk to The Dancing House, a bit of extreme modern design. It’s really nice inside.

The Dancing House

The Dancing House

Then we climb lots os stairs to the Citadel where there are views over the city.

Prague is not especially tidy.

Prague is not especially tidy.

A city view

A city view with many towers

View of the Moldau River

View of the Moldau River

Next day we walk to the train station, somewhat out from the main downtown. It’s a rather down-in-the-mouth place on the outside because it hasn’t been restored, but the station was once an Art Nouveau marvel and quite lovely inside.

Main train station

Main train station

Train station interior

Train station interior

Stained glass widows are original.

Stained glass widows are original.

We leave in a couple of days for Vienna. Half the way will be by Leo Express train, half by Leo bus. $7.70 each for the six hour journey. What does it cost to SFO? $32 for a two hour trip? Hmmm.

Here's our train. All aboard.

Here’s our train. All aboard.

Letters from Munich

Posted on February 8, 2017

Instead of sending you the usual collection of exterior architectural features such as doors and windows from this great city of Munich, Germany, I’m sharing with you a collection of short stand-alone letters instead. Letters I did not write, but instead found where others had left them.

A love letter to one's sweetie.

A love letter to one’s sweetie.

You might think I cut out an easy task for myself, but I assure you, it took three sets of eagle eyes to complete this project. Without further ado, I present you with the letters, the alphabet as it were. Some intentionally are a bit obscure.

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There's nothing like ending on our favorite subject, a pastry shop.

There’s nothing like ending on our favorite subject, a pastry shop.

Auf Wiedersehen.

Munich by the Numbers

Posted on February 8, 2017

Eva, Suzi and I have been to Munich a number of times and have posted what we have done and seen there. This post takes a different angle to the city. The idea came from a friend who is writing an alphabet book to teach the concepts of cybernetics. This post has no such pretensions. Enjoy it for what it’s worth, perhaps on a number of levels, so to say.

Zero is a good place to start.

Zero is a good place to start.

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Now we slow down, coming into the home stretch.

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Hallig Hooge – A Tiny German North Sea Island

Posted on December 28, 2016

Just a few miles from shore in the Wattenmeer is a small Hallig (the name given to an island unprotected by a surrounding dike), inhabited by about 120 residents and often inundated during vicious winter storms. Blessed with keen survival instincts, the locals have learned how to cope with the realities of bad weather. On this tiny Hallig, just about a mile wide and two miles long, dwellings, barns, a store and a church have been sited on mounds of earth (called Warften), built up by man’s labor over the centuries, along with dikes, to ward off the dangers of inundating water. If you ever want to get away from it all, this is a good place to go. It’s Eva and Suzi’s third visit and they insist that I join them this year.

A great place to relax.

A great place to relax. This Warft is where we stay for two weeks.

As this is the last stop on our three month vacation, we turn our car in in Hamburg and catch a train and bus to the ferry landing.

Comfortable fast train whisks us through beautiful countryside.

Comfortable fast train whisks us through beautiful countryside.

First rate ferry

First rate ferry

Too calm for any seasickness

Too calm for any seasickness

Food truck

Food truck came on board to deliver goods to the small Edeka grocery store.

We seem to be under attack by a pirate boat. Somehow we survive.

We seem to be under attack by a pirate boat. Somehow we survive.

Tourists are met at the ferry landing by horse-drawn covered wagons which take them to one or another Warft where tourists spend the day. For us, our hostess picked us up in her SUV. Tourists are not allowed to bring their car, but residents usually have one.

Horse drawn conveyance for the tourists

Horse drawn conveyance for the tourists

Our hosts make us feel so at home.

Our hosts Henriette and Sönke make us feel so at home.

The Hallig is flat, very flat

The Hallig is flat, very flat

We walk all the roads while many bike and a few have cars.

We walk all the roads while many people ride their bikes.

We enjoy the frequent colorful sunsets.

We enjoy the frequent colorful sunsets.

Sometimes the weather is stormy. We walk anyway.

Sometimes the weather is stormy. We walk anyway.

Many herds of cattle are brought over from the mainland to feast on summer meadows. Calves as well as lambs are born here. The cattle return to the mainland before winter. Occasionally they are caught by an early flood and are driven up to the Warften for protection.

Many herds of cattle keep us company.

Many herds of cattle keep us company.

I guess we are curious Americans to this herd.

I guess we are curious Americans to this herd.

Hey, get me in the picture!

Hey, get me in the picture!

Horses pull the tourist wagons.

These horses pull the tourist wagons, but these have the day off.

We walk 15 minutes to the grocery store every day or two for bread that is baked on site, and for fresh veggies and meats. They carry everything we need at mainland prices. And the clerks are so nice, too.

A small grocery store provides basic provisions for residents and visitors.

A small Edika grocery store provides basic provisions for residents and visitors.

There was always lots to do in a low key kind of way.

There is always a lot to do in a low key kind of way.

We love to swing.

We love to swing.

Our hosts tend their sheep.  In a few days they will be off to market.

Our hosts tend their sheep. In a few days the sheep will be off to market.

Too cute to become lamb chops

Too cute to become lamb chops

One of the main attractions that is almost unique to this area is the effect of the daily tides. When the tide is in, we see a number of islands in the area. But when the tide is out, the water drains away and it is often possible to walk the mile or so to the next island (with a guide). Young folks, old folks, everybody does it. Suzi and Eva have a ball on the four hour outing.

What a way to have fun

What a way to have fun

Off goes the group at low tide.

Off goes the group at low tide to Norderoog.

The goal was to walk to there. Would you want to?

Looking back from Norderoog to Hooge. Would you want to do that?

Delicious ooze

Delicious ooze

One of the fine attractions of Hallig Hooge is the abundance of birds. They flock here by the millions during the migration seasons and some are yearlong residents, such as oystercatchers, terns and ducks.

Tern

Tern

Oystercatcher with young ones

Oystercatcher with young ones

Gulls

Oystercatchers at the north dike

Butterfly enjoying an abundance of wildflowers

Butterfly enjoying an abundance of wildflowers

One day there is the annual fair at the tiny yacht harbor, with lots to eat and drink and a variety of children’s games, along with yacht racing.

A tug of war, using a real hawser rope

A tug of war

A cute onlooker

A cute onlooker

Haying season called for heavy tractors.

Haying season calls for heavy tractors.

Hay ready for winter needs

Hay ready for winter needs

One Warft has the store and a museum, others have restaurants. One has only a church and cemetery.

Many centuries-old buildings are really picturesque

Many centuries-old buildings are really picturesque

The church on a Warft by itself, with cemetery to the side

The church on a Warft by itself, with a cemetery to the side

Interior of the church, where we attended a concert.

Interior of the church, where we attend a concert.

Only long-term residents can be buried in this cemetery.

Only long-term residents can be buried in this cemetery.

Pickled fish - what could be better?

Fresh fish, delicately cooked – what could be better? With a side of latkes (potato pancakes)

When the weather is inclement, we can dine indoors.

When the weather is inclement, we can dine indoors.

The gals liked to sit in the Korb, usually found at the seashore to ward off wind.

The gals like to sit in the Strandkorb, usually found at the seashore to ward off wind.

Who could resist a good dessert?

Who can resist a good dessert?

Did Suzi really eat this freshly caught crab?

Will Suzi really eat this freshly caught crab?

Many dwellings, some more than 200 years old, have thatched roofs.

Many dwellings, some more than 200 years old, have thatched roofs.

This was our local beach, so to say, visible when the tide is out.

This is our local beach, so to say, visible when the tide is out.

When the tide is in, our beach and wharf are quite under water.

When the tide is in, our beach and pier are quite under water.

Too soon our time is running out and we must leave Hallig Hooge.

Too soon our time is running out and we must leave Hallig Hooge.

We have had sunny days, cool days, rainy days and many great sunsets. And we have almost worn out our shoes walking the endless roads and paths through and around the Hallig. Now it’s time to say Auf Wiedersehen.

A final sunset to a fine vacation on a tiny island in the North Sea.

A final sunset to a fine vacation on a tiny island in the North Sea.

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