The Tram in Riga

30 08 2012

It’s what I didn’t ride on this trip and wish I had.

I love trams!

In Budapest

In Vienna

The retro tram!  I didn’t see this one.

Art Nouveau in Riga, Latvia

25 08 2012

Our guide told us that 40% of architecture in the city of Riga is art nouveau from the early 20th century.  I thought the style was beautiful from seeing it in Vienna a couple of years ago:

Art Nouveau in Vienna

And in Budapest last year:

Art Nouveau in Budapest

As a style of architecture, it’s always fascinating and beautiful to look at but in Riga, the sculptures attached to the buildings seemed slightly more scary than from other cities.  And while there are very well-kept buildings there are others that are totally run down which is a pity.

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Art Nouveau in Riga


8 01 2012

My cousin gave me this book for Christmas.

A book of pictogram warning signs.

It has organized different warning signs that use pictograms into various categories by giving actual examples.  It’s written humorously and the pictogram photos are fun.  You can see similar stuff here: (Enter site and scroll down.)

So I looked for my “Pictosan” – the name used by the author of the book to personify the guy in the warning sign – from trips I’ve taken.  I thought I had more but found just a couple of the “warning sign” kind.

At Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia. This can be categorized as "region specific"(ご当地) Pictosan.

I should've gotten the text but didn't. I'm not actually sure if this is meant to prevent you from using the hand drier from blowing into your face or if it's telling you that it's the correct way to use it. Found in a hotel powder room in Cannes, France.

More pictograms below but these are non-warning types.  I just find them really cute.

Restroom signs @ “Tesco” in Prague, the Czech Republic.

Subway stations in Prague.

In a shop window in Helsinki, Finland. Don't think it's for real but anyway...

In Vienna, Austria.

In Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan.

Wrapping Up 2011

31 12 2011

January – Cannes, France for the 20th time in 20 consecutive years…

followed by London.  Some things do change I realized!

February – I seem to have gotten back into the CD buying mode then which has continued throughout the year.

March – March 11th earthquake

and cousin visits from Kobe on the very next day.  It took a while for everybody to realize what had happened and how serious things were.

April – cherry blossoms

May – off to Vienna, Austria

and Cesky Krumlov, the Czech Republic

June – managed to do two “eating the world” get-togethers in one month, Poland and Bulgaria.

July – office move and Fuji Rock Festival 2011 and many more musical events

August – way too hot!! & Summer Sonic 2011

September – Tokyo Jazz Festival 2011 and a trip to Budapest, Hungary

October – more Budapest and own birthday which doubled as another “eating the world” get-together at a Cambodian restaurant.

November – new iPhone (no photo) and the annual Beaujolais Nouveau get-together

December – Christmas and Chrsitmas

Happy New Year’s Eve.  Wishing everyone and the world much joy and peace in 2012.

Pistachio Chocolate Bar

19 06 2011

I bought this when I was in Vienna last month in a fancy Viennese coffee-tea-sweets shop.

Green inside!

It’s so not what I expected but tastes oh so good.  It feels more like chocolate-coated pistachio-flavored butter.  Too big to finish in one go so saving half for later…

A Czech Cat

31 05 2011

This is the first and the only cat I saw during the entire Vienna-Cesky Krumlov trip.  Where are the cats??  None in Austria?!

From Vienna to Cesky Krumlov

29 05 2011

The second destination on my agenda on the recent Golden Week trip was Cesky Krumlov (  in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site I had so badly wanted to visit since the last time I was in the Czech Republic visiting Prague.

We were to leave Vienna on a Friday afternoon which turned out to be a fabulous day, sunny and warm, and that may have been the cause of the delay as our shuttle service was 2.5 or 3 or 3.5, cannot remember anymore, hours late for our pick up in the city – something we were very very unhappy about.  I kept being told it was due to bad traffic and the fact that the driver could not quite find his way to our hotel which we did not believe but once we got started, yes, we saw that there was very heavy traffic.

Just as we were leaving central Vienna, saw the Spittelau incineration plant ( designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser ( whose design works I thought I would never get to see.

Can someone please tell me if this is the River Danube...

On the Austrian side, many small patches of field mustard. On the Czech side, they occupied much larger spaces.

The border on the Austrian side.

The border on the Czech side - a casino!! (There was actually a separate "border".)

Our ride finally arriving in Cesky Krumlov after a three-hour drive.

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