Wrapping Up 2014!

31 12 2014

I am at the airport in Manila, the Philippines, waiting for my flight back to Tokyo.  Been busy or had little internet connection so days have gone by although I wanted to write daily about my trip.  But since it’s December 31, I’m going to do a wrap of the year 2014.

When I finished writing the above, it was time to board.  So I am back in my apartment in Tokyo before I leave for my parents’ for the new years.

January:  It became the final January to be attending the industry convention in Cannes, France I have been going to for the last 22 years although I did not know that at the time.  From 2015, it will be held in June when it’s supposed to be warm and sunny.  It also was the last time my best friend and I would rent an apartment together in Cannes, though we did not know that at the time either, as my friend got transferred to another group company in August.

February:  The Cannes trip lasted into the first week of February after which time I took advantage of my location to visit Monte Carlo, Monaco for the first time.  It rained throughout my short stay.

March:  At the end of March, I decided to visit another region with casinos, Macau, though it was just by coincidence.  Again, heavy rain at times but I was pleasantly surprised by the interesting mix of Portuguese and Chinese influences as I had been told otherwise – that Macau is small and it’s good only if you like gambling – not true.

April and May:  From the end of April and the first week of May, paid a visit to Boston, Massachusetts, US of A, upon request by my aging parents, where we used to live in the ’70s.  Met new and old friends, went to where we lived, places we used to visit, a perfect trip down the memory lane.

June:  Since I got rid of my cable TV subscription I started going to movie theaters again and probably during the month of June was when I went to see the most number of films.  This is the list.

July:  Almost every month my two good friends and I get together to eat different cuisines of the world and we always try to go to a new region except that in November we do French because of “Beaujolais nouveau” and in December we do “Christmas”.  This year we ate around the world by going to Sri Lanka, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Chile, India, and Myanmar.  In July it was Chile at Mr. Eduardo’s.  His empanada which he made in front of us from scratch, as well as everything else, was beautiful.

August:  For my summer vacation I chose Poland as the place to visit and when I mentioned this to my German friend living in Berlin, she insisted I come and visit her as well.  So I did.  Warsaw, Krakow, and Berlin in ten days.

September:  A major change in my bathroom which I had been reluctant to do because I liked the design of the old one but it was getting too dangerous to not change.  Now completely updated, typically Japanese toilet installed and because of that, I was once again able to have guests at my place for the first time in a long time.

October:  My birthday month and celebration was to be had.

November:  My two most favorite musical groups, the Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices, were in town at the same time which interestingly enough gave me an opportunity to visit the Tsukiji Market for the first time.  Feeling very blessed.

December:  Finally a trip to the Philippines, Manila and Vigan, after offices closed for the new year holidays.  Things unexpected happened which I shall write about in the new year as I sort out my photos.

Hope more good things to come in 2015.  Happy and peaceful new year to all.





Random Poland

17 09 2014

Before I move onto my next and final destination of my summer trip, here is a random collection of Poland as I saw it.

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The Tram in Krakow

16 09 2014

I somehow went w/o riding the tram while in Krakow I guess due to the size of the city.  You just didn’t need to ride it as you could walk everywhere.  However, I should have.  It just would’ve been fun.

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“Rynek Underground” Under the Main Square of Krakow

15 09 2014

I thought it was fascinating when I learned that there was a history museum housed underneath the main square of the Old Town of Krakow.

The entrance to the museum is at the far end of the "Cloth Hall" on left.

The entrance to the museum is at the far end of the “Cloth Hall” on left.

The museum is apparently quite new, opened only in 2010, after an extended archeological study of what lay underneath the current surface of the square including discovering that the surface used to be much lower and that it got elevated during the last few hundred years.

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These are not from the gift shop.

These are not from the gift shop.

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Looking at St. Mary's Basilica from the museum.

St. Mary’s Basilica as seen from below ground.

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Above ground.

Rynek Underground

 





Walking in Krakow #3, the Kazimierz the Jewish Town

14 09 2014

I saved visiting the Jewish quarter of Krakow, Poland until the last day of my stay.  By then, I had pretty much run out of cash in local currency which I regretted as all the synagogues charged a cash-only small entrance fee which I unfortunately did not have.

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The Pierogi Festival, Krakow, 2014

13 09 2014

The day after I had my first pierogi experience which was going to be my final day in Krakow, Poland, my plan was to visit the old Jewish quarters of the city and to try a Jewish cuisine restaurant for lunch.  On my way, I decided to go through the small market square behind the main square.  Little did I know I would be running into stalls after stalls of different varieties of pierogi at the “12th Pierogi Festival“!

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What I had.  Meat, duck, blueberry (sweet), and spinach (fried; with garlic sauce).  The favorite turned out to be the fried spinach dumpling, not so much because of the filling but the fried part.

What I had. Meat, duck, blueberry (sweet), and spinach (fried; with garlic sauce). The favorite turned out to be the fried spinach dumpling, not so much because of the filling but the fried part.

From "Any Time Restaurant" above that did only fried dumplings.  Meat and apple cinnamon with fruit (?) sauce.

From “Any Time Restaurant” above that did only fried dumplings. Meat and apple cinnamon with fruit (?) sauce.

Yet another shop with only "homemade" non-fried dumplings.  Carrot and barley.

Yet another shop with only “homemade” non-fried dumplings. Carrot and barley.

So much for my plan to eat a Jewish lunch.





Art Nouveau in Poland

11 09 2014

There were some beautiful art nouveau buildings in Krakow, Poland.

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The last photo if I’m not mistaken is from Warsaw where everything was supposed to have been destroyed by the war or the Soviets so am wondering when this building was built.

About art nouveau in Poland.

 

 








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