Youtube Video: Feudal Japanese vs Medieval European CASTLES

Shad of the YouTube channel Shadiversity is a bit peculiar fellow. His performance is a bit over the top, but that is his selling point and it has an entertainment value. He has some old-fashioned notions about gender, but that is sadly to be expected, because not only is he male, he is also a practicing mormon. Thus being another proof of the to me totally baffling fact that evidently intelligent and well-educated people can believe the most ridiculous, silly and multiple-times over falsified notions if those notions are under the guise of “religion”.

However his videos on medieval castles are very informative, educational and fun to watch, so I can recommend those with clear conscience.

Macedonia 5 – Stillness

One impression that I was left with after my trip was a sense of… unfinished? The opposite of stillness. It’s hard to explain. The city of Skopje was such a mix of modern, ancient, renovated and decrepit, and through it all it was clear that Things were Happening, but… there was also a sense of organized chaos? I have a lot of question marks in my thoughts about the city, and the best I’ve been able to tell people is It was interesting. I think the one conclusion I will come away with is that there is no need for conclusions.

In any case, Skopje is full of statues – hollow statues – so many figures standing or sitting around or holding epic poses, it’s quite grand. And many of them are large! Immense! Makes you feel a bit small, to be honest. And the sort of grandiosity that puts me a bit on edge. Here’s a very, very, very tiny sample:

Alexander the Great, of course.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The view from under the arches of a medieval bridge… not even the oldest object around.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Upskirt photography at its finest.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The other side of the bottom of the previous statue – sitting around for ages!
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

A paeon to motherhood, I assumed – I might add that nobody was looking particularly thrilled.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I am frighteningly ignorant when it comes to good music from the region, though, so here’s Loreena McKennitt instead. I intend to work on my musical diversity.

Tree Tuesday

Our tree this week was sent in by Affinity’s newest team member, rq. It’s a majestic old tree in a fairy tale setting and the last shot is brilliant. Perfectly framed, perfectly lit and perfectly peaceful.  Thanks for sharing, rq.


©rq, all rights reserved

©rq, all rights reserved

©rq, all rights reserved

©rq, all rights reserved

Harakka Island – Chapter 3

It’s time for the next chapter of Ice Swimmer’s series, Harraka – An island. Thanks again, Ice Swimmer. I’ll let you take it from here


Chapter 3 – Former FDF Building


1. Main Door, Former FDF Building, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The building is from 1928 and it used to belong to Finnish Defence Forces and nowadays it is used by artists who can hire studio space for five years at a time there. This is the main entrance.


2. The building and the Birch, © all rights reserved

There is a big birch next to the building.


3. Rusty Ring, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A ring fixed into bedrock next to the building. As for the picture, Caine was definitely an influence for me in this kind of photography.


4. Corner, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

We’re going around the building. This is the northwestern back corner.


5. Backyard and Fireweed, ©Ice Swimmer all rights reserved

There was a lot of fireweed in bloom on the island. Now we’re in the backyard of the Artists’ Building, looking at earthworks built when Harakka was partially fortified.


6. Tractor, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The little tractor is probably used for hauling various things.

7. Chemistry Equipment, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights re

The building was used by the FDF as a chemical laboratory. For that reason, while there were plenty of wild raspberries, strawberries and other berries growing on the island, tasting them didn’t feel too attractive. The building is actually the third site for the FDF Chemical Laboratory. At first, the laboratory was in downtown Helsinki, in the same building that housed the University of Helsinki Chemistry Department and after that in one of the garrisons in Helsinki before it was moved to the island.


8. Whose Island part II, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The ratio of shoes / webbed feet is fairly small.


9. Birch stump, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

At the southwestern corner of the building, there used to be a birch.

Now we have seen the building used by military chemists and subsequently artists and some of its surroundings. Next, we’ll go a back, a bit south in the backyard of the building.

(link to previous post, Harakka an Island: Chapter 2)


Barcelona: The City 2: La Plaza Catalunya

The centre of Barcelona is the Plaza Catalunya. Lined on one side by the traditional Corte Inglés shopping centre and start of the Rambla, the main boulevard, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell you’ll miss it. Most tourist buses start and stop there (our shuttle bus from the camp site dropped us off there and picked us up, and so did most others), the hop on- hop off buses stop there, the metro lines do, the regional train station is under it.

Above it are the pigeons.

Water fountain by night, brightly lit.

The fountain by night.
©Giliell, all rights reserved


Water fountain in daylight.

The fountain by day.
©Giliell, all rights reserved

Pigeon bathing in a water fountain.

Did I say fountain? What I meant was “pigeon bath”.
©Giliell, all rights reserved

Pigeons in a tree.

How many pigeons can you count?
©Giliell, all rights reserved

Barcelona: the City 1

Barcelona is home to 1.65 million people, the travel destination of 7 million people a year and one of the most densely populated areas in Europe, second only to Paris. I’ll start my series on the city as such with a few panoramic shots to give you an idea. They were either shot from the Parc Güell or the Tibidabo, both which will get their own posts in the future.

Panoramic view of Barcelona

The city in full
© Giliell, all rights reserved.

Panoramic view of Barcelona

Shot from the ferris wheel in the Tibidabo.
© Giliell, all rights reserved.

Panoramic view of Barcelona

You can see the big parallel boulevards running down to the harbour. © Giliell, all rights reserved.

Panoramic view of the zoo.

The Zoo, one of the few green spaces. ©Giliell, all rights reserved

Panoramic view, with the Sagrada Familia in the centre.

Panoramic view, with the torre de Agbar and the Sagrada Familia in the centre.
© Giliell, all rights reserved.

In the middle you can see the Torre Agbar or Torre Glóries. I never gave much of the interpretation that all towers are phallic symbols, but this one takes the cake.

Panoramic view of the Torre Agbar.

A PG 18 rated tower…
©Giliell, all rights reserved

The Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece. The Catalan architect is all over Barcelona and we will visit one of his works, Parc Güell, later. Be advised to book your tickets in advance if you want to visit the place.

Panoramic view of the Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia
©Giliell, all rights reserved


The Beautiful Town Idstein – Part 11 – The Brewery

We have finished our day in the town in this beautiful building, that has originally served as a firefighter’s armoury/base or whatever the proper English terminus technicus is. The building has been converted into a brewery and restaurant today, and one that probably has no problem getting enough customers. Luckily we were only two persons so we have managed to get places for dinner.

I am no beer connoisseur, but of course I could not miss this opportunity and I had to drink one here. It was good and refreshing, I would not mind drinking such beer more often.

The restaurant has two storeys and in the lower room is actually the brewery, just behind the counter. Very interesting arrangement that, one that must be very comfortable in the winter, but very uncomfortable in the summer. We were there during a hot spell in the spring and even with the door open wide, the room was very warm inside – the beer was just brewing.

The meal was also very good and if you per chance ever visit Idstein, I can recommend dining at this establishment. Highly recommend. I have eaten my fill and I was sorry that there is only so much one can eat in one go without bursting.



This concludes my irregular series about this beautiful town. As a final goodbye a picture of the same town square that started it, at night before I went to sleep.

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The Beautiful Town Idstein – Part 10 – Various Ornaments

One house had these three reliefs in plaster. The first one  and the third one are depictions of Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press. I do not know why, I have found no association between him and Idstein.

Some houses had some sort of coat of arms (more like coat of tools) carved into the woodwork. And one house had a cat climbing the wall which was unfortunately too high up for my puny phone camera to take a good look at.








The last atypical ornament was this faun, looking mournfully over a garden fence. I have no idea whether it is a modern addition or genuine antique, but it fitted the town nicely and did not stand out as inappropriate. Which does not prove anything.

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The Beautiful Town Idstein – Part 7 – Doors and Windows

There was a wide variety of doors and windows to be seen, some looking more authentic than others, some being very evidently modern. And of those modern ones some made a better job at concealing this than others.

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I think that maybe the two doors at the castle gate (Alte Kanzlei) were truly authentic, or at least very old. Wood and iron can survive centuries when kept dry  and these both were good hidden from immediate reach of the elements. The one on the left was on the back side of the  building, the red one on the right on the inside of the gate arc.


What I found interesting however is the aforementioned mixture of authentic looking and modern. I am not very well informed on this problematic, but to the best of my knowldedge in CZ if someone owns an authentic historic building that is listed as such and is protected by law, then all repairs must be performed with technology authentic to the time the house was built – at least on the outside, or on the specific part that is being protected. Once I have talked with an old lady whose house had authentic wooden shingles on the roof and she complained about how difficult – not to mention expensive – it is to find somene to do repairs that are confirming with law.

It seems that in Idstein not all houses have such strict protection , although some perhaps do. There was definitively a visible hint of plastic here and there.



©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The Beautiful Town Idstein – Part 6 – Die Fachwerkhäuser

Ein Fachwerkhaus is the German term for what could be considered a typical medieval building – a frame made of beams with the gaps filled with bricks and mortar. They are in many places in CZ, but it seems to me they are much, much more common in Germany. And Idstein is certainly full of them.

What I found most interesting is the fact that some houses were built from straight timber with precise symmetric angles and all the lines straight. And others had completely irregular beams incorporated in the frame, or they were slanted in different directions like they were drunk.

These all are beautiful buildings but I  would not like to live in one of them. The hotel at which we resided was not timber frame house, but it was a very old building. This means there were no right angles anywhere and all the floors were wavy and sloped in different directions. I would not mid the odd angles much but I found walking on sloped and uneven floor slightly disconcerting and uncomfortable.

Not to mention the huge amount of work that has to be invested in maintaining these buildings.

Fachhaus Fachhaus Fachhaus Fachhaus Fachhaus


©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.