Caught by Nostalgia

A lot of emails come through the various mailboxes I monitor. Today, one came through from Citybike Wien with a newsletter announcing their Advent Calendar. The charming graphic reminded me of wonderful days we spent in November 2015 wandering around Vienna. We were there for about a week and luckily had a chance to visit the Christmas market on the first weekend it was open.

“The snow flutters down quietly…” and other Christmas carols will soon be on the radio again, proclaiming:“Welcome to the pre-Christmas season! “.

I get this newsletter because I rented through their bike sharing program while we were there. In the past, I have thought about unsubscribing but it was cumbersome getting through their website. All is well. Instead I am going to register with the Citybike Uphill team so I can enjoy the rest of the Advent calendar graphics from Hannah at hana.rts.

Update. After some more fooling around on the Citybike website, I found out I already have an account. After choosing my handle of “Capo in B,” a simple click has registered me with the uphill team. It might be a little difficult for me to manage this challenge as we are still stuck in Malaysia. But it is diverting to see that I still have € 1 in my account.

I don’t have strong memories of holidays growing up in a small town of Windom, Minnesota. Looking back through our albums, a lot of memories come flooding in around the experiences with our daughter growing up in Minnesota, Frankfurt, and then some side trips to Ecuador and Vancouver and Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur. Here’s one photo that captures this feeling for me today.

Must be Istambul but maybe Constantinople

In case you are curious about Austrian Christmas Songs, the one quoted is here on youtube. Perhaps, I will return to this post if I am able to unlock any of the doors on the Advent Calendar. All the best to you wherever you are, whatever you celebrate, and more importantly enjoy all the memories of the seasons. Cheers.

Kuala Lumpur Ennui

Over the last year, we have stopped over in Kuala Lumpur several times for family events and personal pursuits.  Recently, we have tried to find some less common venues involving city walks.  It is steaming (and when it rains, streaming) in KL and never ending construction forces us into the streets as we approach our quest.

Prime Minister Memorials and the Bank Negara Museum and Art Gallery.

We took the free Red GOKL bus from KL Sentral and exiting at Menara DBKL (City Hall Tower).  A walk up Jalan Raja Laut (street) to LRT station Bandaraya arrives at a foot bridge to KTM station Bank Negara. Either of these stations are also good starting points for the walk north up Jalan Dato Onn and circling west to the Memorials for the first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, and third prime minister, Tun Hussein Onn.  These huge buildings are stuffed with mementos about the accomplishments but shy away from controversy.

Across the road is Bank Negara (National Bank) which has an extensive art gallery and museum with no entry fee.  Bags are not allowed but the information desk has tokens for the lockers.

The works are technically well done but tend to show an idealized village.  Here are few inspirations that bend the rules.

KLCC-Bukit Bintang Walk

A 3-4 km walk I took several times starts at the Avenue K Shopping Mall at the KLCC LRT stop.  This goes underground from Avenue K via (tunnel 1) Suria KLCC Mall to the Convention Center (tunnel 2), then via elevated Walkways (skyway 3) to the Pavilion Shopping Mall.  From there, a tunnel (4) connects under Jalan Bukit Bintang to the Fahrenheit88 Shopping Mall. Exiting on ground floor by Shoopen and walking along Jalan Bukit Bintang about 30 meters arrives at the down escalator (5) into the Lot10 Hutong basement restaurants.  From here, escalators up to second floor of the Lot10 shopping mall access the skywalk (6)  from H&M  or Isetan leading under the monorail over to the Sungei Wang Plaza.  Except for 30 meters, this entire route is protected from sun and rain.

Here’s a map from Google that I annotated with numbered pathways.  Brown lines are underground, Green lines are Skyways.

KLCC-SungeiWang Path

River of Life

Masjid Jamek (the Jamek Mosque) marks the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers where Kuala Lumpur (meaning Muddy confluence) gets its name. These rivers run through the heart of Kuala Lumpur.  A new program plans to beautify the area by cleaning up the rivers and erecting walkways along the banks.  It is quite impressive around the Jamek Mosque in the evening.

Cats and Bikes

To complete this post, Kuala Lumpur has many cats and many oBikes, a station free bicycle sharing system.  Here are a few photos of each. I have an oBike account and use them frequently when public transportation does not have a direct route.


 

 

KLUnique

After six weeks in Central Asia, we moved on to Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it is known by all.  Handling family matters has brought us to Malaysia several times in the past twelve months.  This time, Daughter accompanied us, which provided a change of focus to our activities.

Malaysia in general, and Kuala Lumpur in particular are easy to navigate.  There are lots of interesting experiences and sights for tourists and travelers.  Feeling like I had exhausted the list of the places I was interested in, I looked for some unique views and experiences.  Even in this, it is hard to get away from the temples, food, and street scenes.

On this trip, I signed up on the new share bicycle service, obike.  This was the first service I have used where bicycles can be left at any public location.  All other services I have experimented with in Asia, Europe, and Mexico, located the bicycles in fixed stands.  The ride that made me proud took me on a 5 km route through the central area that could not be duplicated by car or by walking.

In previous posts, I have featured photos of the KL skyline, famous for Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower.  Some different perspectives provide a contrast to the usual tourist brochure.

I visited some of my favorite temples and found some new ones too.

Even after so many meals in Malaysia, there were some new adventures.

 

 

To the Cape of Good Hope (and back)

After crossing Africa from Dakar to Nairobi at the end of January, we headed south to South Africa. We spent a week in Johannesburg, then two weeks in Capetown. One of our goals was to see the Cape of Good Hope. We made it all the way to the farthest Southwestern point of Africa, and then we turned around and started traveling up to Europe.  Along the way, we stopped in Windhoek, Namibia and Gaborone, Botswana before shooting up to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.  I post a lot of pictures that capture some of our memories and some of our deepest impressions.  In the captions you will find commentary to explain where and what touched me about the photograph.  I faced a quandary trying to choose the best photos with the strongest impressions out of so many we took.

 

In my neighborhood – Ljubljana

As this trip progresses, I am finding a common theme to my pictures and my postings, both in WordPress and in Facebook.  There is a tension between the touristic and the day-to-day experience that begs for analysis.  Enrolling in the local public bicycle program helped me expand my understanding of this.

Starting from where we stayed, I took one or two trips daily.  The graffiti on the deteriorating walls of the building where we stayed suggested to me a run down neighborhood.  On close examination, the care given the flowers and plants in the window boxes illustrated a spirit of revival that characterized my discoveries.  I took a picture of my reflection and my account from the public bicycle terminal.

Window boxes in our building
Window boxes in our building

Selfie with my public bicycle log
Selfie with my public bicycle log

Map to bicycle to Sunday Grocery Store
Map to bicycle to Sunday Grocery Store

Most shops are closed or close early on Sunday.  I followed bike paths to one that was open.
Just across the street from us is the Metelkova district.  This is an arts and alternative life style enclave that is home to a well known music club and also an art gallery.

Metelkova Refuge
Metelkova Refuge

Inside Metelkova refuge
Inside Metelkova refuge

One misty morning I road out along the Ljubljana river by the Dragon Bridge down to the South branch by the locks.

Dragon Bridge in the fog
Dragon Bridge in the fog

Locks of the Ljubljanica River south channel
Locks of the Ljubljanica River south channel

On a warm afternoon, I saw a sign for the road to the castle.  Even though I had to walk the bike part of the way, it provided some spectacular views.  Also, an exciting ride and skids down a gravel path I chose back to the city.  I was not sure whether to take that path until I saw a man pushing a baby pram down it followed by a young man on a bicycle.

From University Square toward Castle
From University Square toward Castle

Overlooking the city though a viaduct
Overlooking the city though a viaduct

From Castle toward western mountains
From Castle toward western mountains

In the final summation, we have many interesting experiences seeking out the unique and the common during our week in Ljubljana.  I wonder what we will feel after a week in Zagreb.

Impressions of Ljubljana in Autumn

We traveled from Trieste to Ljubljana by local bus. There were express busses but they did not fit our schedule. It was much more interesting stopping in a number of small towns, traveling down two lane highways, and seeing the passengers board and alight. There were grandmothers and tourists and high school students at various intervals.

This entry I am trying a new style with more photos and editing from the iPad. We found our apartment next to the art museum square.

IMG_2740.JPG
An apartment gem hidden by a grim facade

There are the mandatory cats in the neighborhood. This black one on an orange car made us think of halloween.

IMG_2763.JPG

I registered for the public bike service for € 1. Every day I get an hour to feel like I’m 14 again. I have zipped through the old section and over to the new city developing north of the railway station.

IMG_2768.PNG IMG_2770.JPG

The old town has a comfortable feel settled among old churches, the active market, restaurants, and boutiques, overlooked by the castle.

IMG_2756.JPG  IMG_2749IMG_2751

We hiked up the mountain to the castle. It is an interesting space for artistic exhibitions and for scenic views. By the funicular station the stone base is exposed. The actual view is nice for the misty mountains in the distance but somewhat unsatisfying. This contrasts with how excited we have been to be in Ljubljana, discovering our own little treasures.

IMG_2789.JPG   IMG_2783