The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

Posts from the “Europe” Category

The Smaller Picture

Posted on April 24, 2013

Let me break it down for you: There was a bird on the glass. It reminded me of an ancient Hungarian fairy tale, “The Glass Man and the Golden Bird,” that describes a king who must travel to the Kingdom of Magic to find The One. Along the way he encounters great foes, like a witch who has turned herself into a monstrous black spider with two swords for two front legs. A little golden bird accompanies him on his journey; it serves as companion and songbird in times of peace and protector during times of trial and despair. Eventually the king finds The One when the golden bird sings a song for a lily, transforming the lily into a beautiful maiden. Sometimes even…

Where Did It All Go?

Posted on November 22, 2012

I fly home in exactly one month. I’m not going to say, “it feels like yesterday I was watching central London prep for their Olympics!” I’m not going to say that because it’s cliche and it’s stupid. I also won’t say that because “yesterday” would allow too much time in between. Listen, it’s more like this: I was in London this morning and I walked to Russia, to Petersburg, to arrive promptly at 6 pm. I made it for dinner, but today I only asked for soup because I had fish n’ chips, Dutch cheese, Swedish caviar, an expensive croissant from Copenhagen’s airport, bratwurst in Salzburg, every fucking thing in Budapest, Transylvanian gulash, more Hungarian food, pierogi in Krakow, Chernobyl borsht, more pierogi in…

Photo Essay: City Peeping

Posted on October 28, 2012

City peeping (v): to be in a city while observing curious subjects from curious angles. St. Petersburg, you should know, is a very peepable city. Not people-peepable, though, which explains the lack of people portraits. It’s a problem I’m actively working to fix. Petersburg is peepable in a different way. People peeping at the Peter and Paul Fortress!! There are these nuts who go swimming in the Neva in sub-zero temperatures. And then they sat in the sun and dried off, despite the fact that it was freezing with wind-chill and my cheeks were getting that tingling-numb sensation. Nuts, I say!! Window peeping!! A modest view from my bedroom. Landmark peeping!! So, like, there’s this church here. Not many people have heard of it. Car…

Matysowka

Posted on August 31, 2012

As tiny children, my cousins and I would play jump rope in their empty schoolyard. It was always great fun, mostly because we played helicopter-style, the only style I could ever manage without skinning my knees on rough asphalt. Little did we know, the metal gate we walked by everyday as children would be destroyed by their friends one night far into the future. The gate would be smashed by a Skoda after their one friend consumed too many beers. Little did we jump-roping children could know, the driver would walk away fine, but the gate that I saw everyday would be severely dented. Confused neighbors and passers-by would see the gate and wonder: “When did this happen?” It would be a fleeting thought as…

Morskie Oko

Posted on August 22, 2012

Sometimes we revisit places we idealize from our childhood. Sometimes these places meet the grand expectations we develop after years of absence and reminiscing. But more often than not, we go back and things are inherently different. The place has changed and we have changed, and we can no longer view it in the same happy way.

With Zakopane and Morskie Oko, it was magic then and it’s magic now.

Soviet Secrets are Forever

Posted on August 20, 2012

May, 1991: Antoliy Dyatlov Kills Himself by Way of Rope. This isn’t true, of course. Dyatlov died in 1995 of heart failure. * * * There was a cartoon published in the New Yorker shortly after the incident. Two dogs are having a conversation. One dog says: “They attributed it to human error”, and the other replies: “But everything in the world is due to human error.” * * * “The one common thread through all of these accidents is the complete failure of the Soviet system to manage modern technology in a safe manner. This failure is due in large part to the secrecy that was endemic in Soviet society and to a lesser extent in twist Russian society before it. Society existed in compartments,…

The Pierogi Festival

Posted on August 15, 2012

The very best of my childhood is rejuvenated with a return to Krakow, this time with copious day drinking and a whole event dedicated to pierogi. I personally took on the responsibility of trying all the flavors as well as the beer, as well as almond-flavored vodka topped with milk. It’s a tough life, I know. It’s August and the weather is properly freezing, the people are just as cold. Dobrze być spowrotem w Polsce. In other news, I have a Tumblr now that hosts photos that can’t be found here or elsewhere. Consider it an auxiliary travel/photo blog, but much less effort than this one.

A Robot, A Film Camera, and Eastern Europe

Posted on August 14, 2012

A melody, maybe?

Bucharest

I arrived to Bucharest on its hottest recorded day ever. What can I say, I do that to places.

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Sighisoara

Dracula’s hometown manages to attract many visitors, but it’s not difficult to leave the beaten path.

This woman is a Holocaust survivor. She also happens to be as sweet as sugar.

Lokoshaza//En Route

I was bored, okay??

Budapest 

Currently in Krakow; rain is pouring. I am beyond excited to be back in Poland where much of my family is. Obligatory pierogi pig-outs are happening. Trying to stop them would be like trying to pull a large ship to shore with a piece of floss.

After Krakow, it’s off to Ukraine. A bit random, I know, but I have a very important bucket-list matter to tend to. Putting it off any longer would just be woefully irresponsible and we wouldn’t want that now, would we?