Up a Tree

Long ago, my father, Tod, purchased a piece of property in Arch Cape between 101 and the beach.  It’s was designated a wetland after he bought it, which makes building on it rather tricky, so he has just left it alone for the time being.  Several years after he purchased it, someone put a “4 SALE” sign in a tree on the property, which wouldn’t be much of a problem except that the tree is rather large, and the sign was bolted to it.  When Tod called about the sign, the guy who bragged about putting it up said he did it because the trees on his lot (adjacent to my father’s) were to small to be seen from the freeway, and when asked to take it down, just laughed.

Fast forward to about a month ago, Tod decided it time for the sign to come down.  He called the number again, but found it was disconnected, so taking the matter into his own hands, he with me in tow, set off to cut down the sign.

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Powder Tower (Prasna Brana)

 Big Black Tower…

Built in the 1400’s, the Powder Tower stored gun powder in 1575 during one of the many wars. We walked up to the top, which is no small feat (but would have been easier if you had small feet..). It starts our with a tiny door up a tight stone spiral staircase, going up for about 70-100’, with a rope to hold onto. Then you reach the main floor which was where King Wenceslas kept court.

From there you get a little mobile audio guide, look at things on walls, and then walkup one more spiral staircase (30-50 feet higher). Only one person can fit through at a time, so every so often you have to huddle in little alcoves, where I saw some graffiti from the 1800’s… damn 19th century touristy hooligans!

Once on the second level you can continue up more stairs, about 50’ higher until you get to a wooden platform. From this platform you can look down onto the top of the ceiling you were just under. It’s creepy and not over yet.

You then go up some 2×4 wooden stairs up to the upper attic level, onto a wooden floor that you can See Thru Between The Cracks!! Eek! I’m not afraid of heights, but I am afraid of crashing through very old wood and being impaled on old stone buildings.

On this level some old stone statues are stored. My nerves are fluttery and I looked up and could see into the spires, probably another 100’ up, filled with shadows, cobwebs, and wooden rafters. This is where the Hunchback of Notre Dame would hang out.

I think “This can’t get any cooler, yet freakier.” This is when Justin says “Want to continue?”

“What? Where? “ I ask. He grins really big and says “Outside”

My mouth dropped open and I said something like “You’ve got to be (expletive deleted) kidding!!” He wasn’t. Safety Wires? Bars? Hand Rails? No! But the wall was over waist height, so that helped. Still- it was pretty cool.

And of course, it’s been standing for over 500 years, through storms and wars, so I think this huge stone structure can hold a few more tourists.

Excellent View.
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Churches & Gargoyles

 more gothic than I could ever dream of

Various churches and gargoyles.
Walking into an old church there are signs with pictures symbolizing no eating/drinking and no cameras. We walk in and everyone seems to be taking pictures. Stupid Tourists. Of course, being there to sightsee, I too am a tourist, but I am a *smart* tourist. I learned back at Belvoir (Beaver) Castle in England that pictures are fine, but it’s the flash that hurts the fresco’s, old paintings, and wood. Too much light.
So I felt almost guilt free taking non-flash pictures. I say ‘almost’ because I very quickly stashed my camera when an old deacon came out in his black robes and long silver roped outfit and stood by the door, watching everyone.
Silver mining was huge back in the day, so there are a lot of Miner statues, and figures of Santa Barbara, patron saint of miners.
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Olsany Cemetery

 All the lonely (or dead) people, where do they all come from?

We went to the largest graveyard I could imagine, and apparently we only saw 1/4 of the 116 acres after we had walked at a good pace for an hour and a half.
85,000+ graves and many graves are family plots with up to 6 people per grave. Imagine Central Park in New York but all graves.
We did see some unexpected life in the graveyard: Hedgehog! It didn’t want to play or be social, but it let us take its picture. So cute… I pet it with my gloved finger, cuz they’re prickly.
By the time we got back to the hotel we estimated that we had walked at least 10 miles.
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Doors Of Prague

 Communication is architecture

I’m taking pictures of doors. They are very cool, and way more ornate than average doors have any right to be. It almost frustrates me, because I stop at these cool doors and think “No Fair! Why can’t *WE* have cool doors like this in Portland?!” … and then I realize that these doors are in themselves probably older then Portland. Justin thinks otherwise: he thinks that the doorways are probably older that Portland, but the doors themselves have probably since been replaced. He may be right, but it’s still unfair… stupid doors..
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TV Tower & Jewish Cemeteries

television for the soul

We went to the TV Tower observation deck (with creepy weird child-art things on the side of the tower) and from there we saw the small cemetery next to it. The cemetery at the base of the TV Tower is not the “Old Jewish Cemetery,” but we went to that one too. Over 50,000 people buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery, many on top on one another (thus the stacked headstones), and most of them died in 1942-44.
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