motodraconis: (European)
Linz! Here I am in one of the churches, where there appears to have been some sort of accident or murder, it's all roped off awaiting the police to arrive...

Linz

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motodraconis: (Lick)
Impossible to work while the Alarm Bods are drilling and clomping (and setting off the alarm!) Luckily, I'm on schedule in spite of all the upheavals of the past couple of days. In the meantime, have some Ohrid, it's painfully cute, both Lake Ohrid and the Old Town itself are UNESCO sites of natural and cultural heritage.

20160818_091904

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Albania!

Aug. 22nd, 2016 01:57 pm
motodraconis: (Sweets)
So, being so close to Albania, how about another day trip? A bit of prior rummaging on Google indicated that there was a ferry to Albania from Ohrid.

Albania

Unfortunately...

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motodraconis: (European)
Catch up! A delayed picture review of Chişinău in Moldova. Moldova, Europe's least visited country!

St. Theodor Tiron Convent (no information available! Or indeed directions, as it was not marked on the local map I was given. Verily, tourism isn't a thing in Moldova.

DSC01688

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motodraconis: (Cup of Tea)
Transnistria, also known as Trans-Dniestr or to give it its full name, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.

DSC01662

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Kiev!

Nov. 8th, 2015 10:09 pm
motodraconis: (Cup of Tea)
Russia and Ukraine side by side. But which one is Ukraine?

DSC01564

"Probably the half-naked one" (Lovely O who met up with us for a drink on the last night - she's Ukrainian, from the contested region as it happens.)

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motodraconis: (What?)
You are 5 years old, you have 2 hours to pack... so choose your toys carefully because you can't take them all.

bunny

Looks like bunny didn't make the grade.

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motodraconis: (Laptop)
Bah! I am no longer a special snowflake - The UK has lifted the travel warning on Iran. Not that I can argue with that, as we had no difficulties while we were there and generally it felt safe and civilized.

Last of the travelling posts before we move onto Persian food. We were driving back to Tehran and the flight home, via two destinations on the way. First, Abyaneh, and this bizarre tableau in our hotel.

Abyaneh Hotel

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motodraconis: (OMG!)
qAaaaahhh! Esfahan! (Isfahan.) A nexus of culture and beauty! ‘Isfahan among those rarer places, like Athens or Rome, which are the common refreshment of humanity’. (Robert Byron, author of the 1937 travelogue The Road to Oxiana.)

Esfahan

Truly, we eagerly awaited our arrival in this, ‘Esfahan nesf-e jahan’ (Esfahan is half the world)

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motodraconis: (FlashCat)
Ah! Yazd! Lonely Planet describes it thus... "With its winding lanes, forest of badgers, mud-brick old town and excellent range of accommodation options, Yazd is one of the highlights of any trip to Iran. Wedged between the northern Dasht-e Kavir and southern Dasht-e Lut, it doesn’t have the big-ticket sights of Esfahan or Shiraz, but it’s equally enchanting. This is a place to wander and get lost in the maze of historic streets and lanes, not to mention your imagination."

Yazd, a desert town, cold in winter, FUCKING HOT in summer. Its famous badgers, snouts raised to the heavens, help draw air down into the buildings. More on the badgers anon, but first...The Towers of Silence.

Towers of Silence - Yazd

"A circular, raised structure used by Zoroastrians for exposure of the dead, particularly to scavenging birds for the purposes of excarnation (also known as defleshing.)" The unclean and potentially contaminating dead body would be placed on the tower, well away from living areas, where birds could dispose of the flesh swiftly and efficiently before dangerous putrifaction set in. The clean bones could then be collected safely by relatives once a monitoring priest had declared the body fit for collection.

An early form of sanitary recycling.

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motodraconis: (Beads)
Aaaand, we're in Shiraz. Here are some lovely figurative art tiles from Bagh-e Eram Gardens.

Bagh-e Eram Gardens

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motodraconis: (OMG!)
Arg! So much to see in Iran, I'm going to have to make several posts. This is The Old Stuff. YES! Got to see Persepolis - the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BCE) - just look at the crisp detail on this bull!

Persepolis

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motodraconis: (Cup of Tea)
Here's me at the former US Embassy, or as it is called on the local maps "the US Den of Espionage."

Former US Den of Espionage

As I was posing, a group of Iranians drove past on their motorbikes and pissed themselves laughing.

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motodraconis: (European)
Back to Budapest. I'm on a quest to visit every country in Europe, but Budapest is one place I have no objection to visiting again and again - I love the place!

Bunnies

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motodraconis: (Midsummer Ball)
Our yearly pilgrimage to Gala Nocturna. Our gang gets bigger every year!

The United Kingdom

This year the theme was Swan Princess, and held for the first time in Brussels. Swans, both black and white, and multi coloured. Expect feathers!

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motodraconis: (European)
It's Spring in Luxembourg City!

geese

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motodraconis: (Temple Dino)
One does not simply walk into Jordan just to see Petra.

DSC09294

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Petra!

Jan. 1st, 2015 07:32 pm
motodraconis: (Temple Dino)
Ahhh, Petra! The Rose City, the ancient (312 BC) capital of the Nabateans. The full nature of these people, who left no surviving literature, is somewhat mysterious. Petra itself was forgotten and lost to the Western world until 1812, when a Swiss Explorer learned Arabic and disguised himself as a Bedouin to infiltrate the city. Which at that time was a secret place inhabited by Bedouin, who had woven their own stories about the place and it's origins - not to mention rumoured hoards of "Egyptian" gold and treasure.

DSC09421

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