The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

Posts tagged “europe

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…

Moving East: A Film Photo Story

Posted on September 23, 2012

A background song, if you’d like?

Krakow: A pretty girl who hates being photographed is photographed.

In the center of Warsaw lies a tiny room. The space in the room is mostly occupied by a large Photoplasticon and a few stools. The viewer sits and the Photoplasticon rotates to show three-dimensional pictures of Warsaw from the years 1915 to 1918. This particular photograph shows market vendors working on Szeroki Dunaj in the year 1916.

Take a break in Warsaw’s botanical gardens.

A visit to the Photoplasticon is a delightfully fitting frame for my next point: Warsaw is changing rapidly and blatantly. There are two types of Warsaw of my own label – “static” Warsaw, or the parts of the city that will never change due to historical significance and the honoring of architectural and aesthetic traditions, and “dynamic” Warsaw, the areas that have adopted the modernism of London and the sleek minimalism of Scandinavia. Pre-war brick structures are now being fitted with glass walls and ceilings. Newer restaurants look like the one pictured; this pizzeria also happens to be named after one of the oldest cemeteries in Europe, Powazki Cemetary, its neighbor across the street. People don’t discard old things in Warsaw; they simply allow them to grow and change with the times. For better or for worse, this mix amounts to quite a cool city.

Behold: the unbelievable beauty of a Russian autumn in Novgorod.

A friend and I were walking along Novgorod’s residential streets. A woman picked us off the street and ushered us into her garden. Tatiana was her name. She gifted us with kilos and kilos of produce: apples, plums, cucumbers, and homemade pickles. We were positively giddy.

She is so uniquely beautiful.

Hand-carved and painted domovoys. They are meant to protect your house. I couldn’t walk away without one.

If I were a guy, I’d move to Russia (but with that logic, Brazil would work too):

A Petersburg kind of night. I don’t want to be anywhere else.

10 Things About Russia

Posted on September 14, 2012

If someone repeatedly calls your cellphone asking for Maria Borisovna in a loud and confused manner, simply saying “wrong number” will not make them go away. Instead, they will call you repeatedly, ask you for your name and how they can reach Maria Borisovna. Simply saying “I don’t know any Maria Borisovna. Stop calling me” will not make them go away. Hanging up will make them go away, but only temporarily. If you’re a woman and you show any part of your legs without wearing stockings, people will think you’re a prostitute. Well. That explains a lot. Russians believe that if you’re a woman and you sit on any cold surface, it will inevitably make you barren. That also explains a lot. If you…

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.

F1020037

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?