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Lake Bled - I feel Slovenia

According  to legend, Lake Bled was created by fairies. Bled Island was the setting for their joyous dancing on starry nights. No wonder this place is magical.  Bled Island I walked along the south shore of the lake from the pletna boat station near the Grand Hotel following the trail that’s parallel to the Cesta Svobode road. I passed some beautiful mansions, an abandoned house and a tunnel on the way and stopped at a lookout point where I had a good view of Bled Island. Forgetting to bring a hat was a huge faux pas as the sun was so unforgiving. It was an easier walk back to the center of Bled with the sun behind me. I did bring bottled water and that was clearly a bright idea. Pletna Boats These colorful boats take passengers to Bled Island for 12 euros. There is a scheduled hourly departure. It doesn’t include the entry fee to the Church of the Mother of God and the Clock Tower. Bled Castle and the neo Gothic Church of St. Martin Notice the turquoise blue waters of the lake and how
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The Painted Pipes of Fairbanks

Marilyn with Bunny Boots, David Hayden. Noble Street and 2nd Avenue These ventilation pipes  provide fresh air intake for utilidors (utility corridor) that run under the streets of downtown Fairbanks. Thirteen of these pipes have been artistically painted by local artists for Paint the Pipes which is a joint project of the Downtown Association of Fairbanks and Project Fairbanks. Sadly, the original Marilyn pipe was vandalized in May 2018. Marilyn Pipes Up was sprayed with green paint. The culprit/culprits were never caught. The artist had spent 40 hours to paint the pipe in 2012 only to see it trashed a few years later. But he repainted Marilyn (with the help of sponsors) and added something new - the bunny boots!    Lingonberry Love, Gail Priday. Griffin Park towards Chena River. Priday loves picking lingonberries. And what better way to show this love for the fruit than to render it in color on this pipe.   Fairbanks, Mica Fairchild. 5th Avenue between Cushman and Barnette Streets Th

Alaska Bucket List 2021

  Aurora Borealis The number one item on my Alaska bucket list was to see the dancing northern lights. The best place for viewing is in and around Fairbanks which is in the Aurora oval (away from bright city lights). Though I had seen the Aurora Borealis in Iceland in 2015, I had only seen the curtain rays and small swirling lights. I was hoping that this time around, I would have the chance to see a full Aurora display. It’s never guaranteed that you’ll see the northern lights when you’re in Fairbanks during the Aurora Borealis season. But I was hopeful. I did check the KP Index before leaving and saw there was moderate activity forecasted on the days I would be in Fairbanks. But it was not to be. However, the moment I boarded my flight home, there was a strong Aurora display at around 1 a.m. What luck or lack of it! On our flight back to Fairbanks from the Arctic Circle, the pilot called our attention to a horizontal ray across the sky with a short vertical flowing down midway from t

Laugh Now - Banksy at the MOCO

Girl with Balloon, 2003, spray paint on metal shelf, 60x90 cm We know Banksy for his iconic street art and the overt political and social commentaries of his artworks. But who knows for certain his true identity? Banksy has carefully guarded his anonymity perhaps because revealing himself will open a Pandora box of legal entanglements.  We’ve seen or are aware of a few of Banksy’s street art in and around his hometown in Bristol. And we’ve heard of the spectacular partial shredding of his painting Girl with a Balloon that was on auction at Sotheby's in 2018. But did you know that Banksy has quite a few indoor works of art? The MOCO in Amsterdam has gathered several of these works on canvas, wood, metal and paper for the  Laugh Now  exhibition which is not authorized by the artist. The artworks on display were loaned to the museum by private collectors and have been certified by Pest Control, the official body that authenticates all works by Banksy.  Girl with Balloon The original,

State Hall of the National Bibliothek of Austria

Prunksaal or State Hall of the Austrian National Library In the 18th century, Emperor Charles VI commissioned the construction of the court library in the Hofburg. It was built between 1723-1726 from the design of Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, the court architect. This Baroque library has 200,000 volumes which date from 1501-1850. The 15,000 volume collection of Prince Eugene of Savoy is part of this collection. It includes valuable manuscripts and books from France and Italy. They are bound in red, blue and yellow Moroccan leather and can be found in the central oval of the library. Together with Google, this historic and copyright-free collection was digitized by the Austrian National Library and is available at www.onb.ac.at. The statue in the center of the oval is of Charles VI portrayed as Hercules Musarum. It was “allegedly” sculpted by Antonio Corradini in 1735.  Behind him are statues of Spanish and Austrian Habsburg rulers sculpted by the Strudel brothers, Peter, Paul an