‘Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?’ (Ecclesiastes 4:11)
‘And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians 13:13)

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My Prague (10): Snow in Prague

The first ‘real’ snow in the last three years. Photos taken yesterday (2nd February 2017). It was not only freezing, but also (believe it or not)… kind of raining! [See my other episodes on Prague; click on each photo to see camera settings, to comment, or to see each photo full size!]






Winter is coming

Some flowers in our garden clearly remind us: winter is coming! First, a photo with Sedum sieboldii (for some reasons I was told as a child that these are ‘ice flowers’). Then we have a Chrysanthemum, and finally a nice bouquet of everlasting flowers (which took some physical pain to be assembled!)




Lisbon (1): A bird’s-eye view

The trip to Lisbon in the second half of September this year offered some good opportunities for shooting. The first post will show some bird’s-eye views. Now the first three photos are shot from the viewpoint of St. Peter of Alcantara (Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara), which is situated on the São Roque hill (one of the seven – or eight, according to some opinions – hills of Lisbon). The first photo shows the Tagus River (Rio Tajo), together with the 18th-century baroque-style Catholic Church of Santo António and parts of the Mouraria and Alfama  city districts on the hill of São Jorge.


In the next photo you have the same hill named São Jorge, but this time you can see more of the Mouraria neighborhood and, of course, the São Jorge Castle.


Below, once again Mouraria, and on the top of the hill you can see the Church and Convent0 da Graça on the left and the São Jorge Castle on the right hand side.


The following photos are taken from the the São Jorge Castle, taking the East-North-West-South direction. This is what you can see if looking towards East:


And here is another view. I really though the guy who owns the colored house is a Romanian, since the colors are those of the Romanian flag 🙂


Going slightly to the North on the Castle’s walls, you can see the Church of Santa Engrácia, a 17-th century monument, originally a church, but converted in the 20th century into the National Pantheon (important Portuguese personalities are buried here). Twice a week you can also visit Portugal’s biggest flea-market around this location.


Lisbon, the view to the West:


Below you have the same view to the West, but now you can see the 25th of April Bridge (inaugurated in 1966) and the statue of Christ the King, inaugurated in 1959 (inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).


Below, other two photos showing the Western part of Lisbon (sunset time):



The last two photos are shot in Alfama. In the first one, you can spot the Church of Santa Engrácia (see above); in the second one, Church of Santo António (again, see above).



My Prague (15): Crazy Goddess and Divet Show

So the Prague Pride’s week is finished, but I still have some photos to show you. On 11 August I saw in the Prague Village two wonderful performances, starring Crazy Goddess – Travesti Show (more on their website) and Divet Show (Finnish impersonator Marko Vainio – more on his website – brought to us different stars such as Madonna, Liza Minelli, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Alla Pugacheva, etc.).

Let’s start with Crazy Goddess:

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And here’s what you can do with a pair of boobs  🙂

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Below, ‘Freddie Mercury’:

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And here’s the Divet Show (the amazing Marko Vainio!). I confess I identified only Tina Turner (best impersonation, in my view), Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Conchita Wurst and Alla Pugacheva (well, I am old, I know!). If you identify others, just let me know!

Below: Alla Pugacheva


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Below: Celine Dion (her heart still goes on)

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Madonna, maybe? (below)


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Bellow: Conchita Wurst

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Below: Tina Turner





My Prague (14): Prague Pride, August 2016 (the 6th) edition

Prague Pride – Saturday, 13 august 2016, 12-15 PM. It is the largest Pride in the Central and Eastern Europe – 40.000 participants, according to Prague Monitor. This is also why (although I do not like posts with more than 15 photos), for the first time I will publish a post with 70 pictures, in order to accurately cover the whole event. The parade started on Wenceslas Square, headed towards Náměstí Republiky, continued on the Vltava‘s shore, then on the Čechův bridge and ended in the Letná park. Here are some participants. In the first photo below, you can see  two members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (‘an order of queer nuns’): Sister Roma and Sister Vish:

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And some general photos of the event:

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The Czech Police has something called ‘Anti-Conflict Team’:

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The Roma flag:

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The Orlando nightclub shooting was commemorated:

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Below, some photos can give you a hint regarding participants’ number:

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Just be aware that the crowd is not only on the bridge. The line is very long, and continues on the Vltava’s shore on the left of the picture (it is even longer than you can see here).

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Anti-Pride protesters were, unlike in Budapest, very few. There were two groups of maximum 15 participants each. The first group (mainly old religious people) was in the Wenceslas Square. The curious thing was that, again unlike in Budapest, police did not separate the groups. And still no incident occurred.

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As you can see below, the old protesters were not very proficient in English. The placard on the left says ‘God accept us’ instead of ‘God accepts (or accepted) us’; on the second placard the word ‘you’ is written down as ‘Jou’:

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Very frightening, right? 🙂

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However, the second group (again, maximum 15 participants) was close to the Čechův bridge and it was composed of mainly members of the far-right. Here police officers became serious.

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Of course, not only humans took part in the Prague Pride. Dogs showed their support too. Not only as participants, as you can see below…

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…but also as police officers ready to protect.

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You may also want to check my coverage of other similar events: Budapest Pride 2013 and Budapest Pride 2014. The post with Budapest Pride 2016 is forthcoming.

Prague Pride – August 2016: (1) The opening concert

The Prague Pride Opening Night (8 August 2016) took place in the Pride village on Střelecký Island (Střelecký ostrov) between 6 and 10 PM. Invited artists: Adam Mišík (relatively OK), the heavy-metal band Vladivojsko (very impressive performance!), and Jan Bending (didn’t hear about him, but it seems he scored in SuperStar, the Czech version of the Idol series – anyway, very boring!). The special guest was Omar Sharif Jr. (Omar Sharif’s grandson), a gay and LGBT activist (see below). Read more about this concert here. Let’s start with some photos of the people in the Pride village located on Střelecký island.
[Click on each photo to enlarge it!]

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And of course, the performances: 05. DSC_6331 (Copy)

Below, some photos of the the heavy-metal band Vladivojsko:

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And of course, how could one miss such a performance:

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You are definitely impressed by the person below, of course, but…

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…as you can see in the photo below, it’s all fake! [I realized this only today, after I carefully watched the photos I took] 🙂

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And now, some interesting portraits:

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Below, you can see US Ambassador to the Czech Republic (Andrew H. Schapiro) delivering a supportive speech.

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And finally, Omar Sharif Jr.:

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My Prague (9): Battle of the nations (b): Fallen Soldiers

Read more about this full contact sport on my first post on the Battle of the nations. Click on each photo to enlarge it! Today I want to concentrate on the fallen soldiers (we are still focusing on the category ‘Group Battles’ 5 vs. 5). According to the general regulations, a fighter is ‘removed from battle’ when:

a) ‘He is “grounded”, i.e. he touches the surface of the lists with the third point of support (body, buttocks, arm, knee, shield, etc.). The rule applies if a fighter falls down together with an opponent.’ (‘important: Two basic supporting points for a battle are feet.’)

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b) ‘His legs leave the designated combat area or he falls or is forced outside the lists.’

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c) ‘An element of protective equipment (used to protect joints, head, hands, groin, or neck, and also serves to protect a large area), is broken or lost.’


d) ‘He touches the ground fighter with his body or buttocks.’

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e) ‘Continues attacking actions without a weapon in his hand (shield is not a weapon).’

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‘Important: When the fighter falls on his opponent and touches with the third supporting point (except for body and buttocks) only his opponent, who lies under him, the fighter is not considered as fallen.’

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My Prague (8): Battle of the nations (a): Category ‘Group Battles’ 5 vs. 5

The Battle of the Nations 2016 World Championship was held for the second year in Prague, on the Petrin hill. The historical medieval battle (HMB) is a full contact sport, probably the oldest, the roughest and the most bloodiest one (I didn’t even know by last Sunday that something like this was legal). We met a Moldovan fighter who told us that the previous day there were a lot of injured people, and allegedly two men were transported in a coma to the hospital (we were not able to verify the info, but the Moldovan fighter showed us his large scars from the previous years and the numerous surgeries he had, so we tend to believe him). The battle involves any kind of steel weapon that existed in the Middle Ages (swords, axes, hatchets, halberds, scepters, etc.). On the Czech website they say that for safety reasons all weapons are blunt, but I had a closer look and they didn’t seem really blunt to me (in several rounds many clothes were cut by different weapons). Anyway, you can read more about the rules and regulations on the official website.

Read about the championship on Wikipedia, on the official site or on the Czech site (in English). Watch a short 10-minutes movie made by VICE INTL about the 2013 World Championship hosted by France.

There were five full days of battles, from Thursday, the 5th of May until Monday, the 9th of May. On Sunday, the 8th of May, we bought tickets for the second block (six hours of fighting, from 15:00 to 21:00). And so we had the chance to watch the ‘Men’s category Group Battles 5 vs. 5 (Playoffs)’, the ‘Man’s Category “Duel” 1 vs. 1 (Playoffs)’, ‘Women’s Category “Group Battles” 3 vs. 3’ and finally an unexpected (because unannounced) ‘All Against All’ show – actually, a battle between the winning team in the ‘Women Group Battles’ category (Ukraine) and an international women team.

Now back to the photos: it was really difficult to select only a few out of the 850 photos made during the six hours (my all-time record, I guess) 🙂 But I will start today a 5-episodes series. Today I will post photos on the ‘Men’s category Group Battles 5 vs. 5 (Playoffs)’. The next posts will be on the fallen soldiers, then on the ‘Man’s Category “Duel” 1 vs. 1’, then on portraits of some fighters, and finally one post on the bystanders (many of whom were also dressed in medieval suits). Unfortunately, because it was too late and dark, the photos of the women’s category cannot be used. [Click on each photo to enlarge it!]

Russia vs. Canada

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Germany vs. Israel (quite a game, giving the recent history – and Israel won!)

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France vs. Italy

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Do not remember these countries, but giving the ‘three lions’ heraldic design (belonging to Richard the Lionheart) probably those in black represent the United Kingdom. And I guess those in red are Polish fighters.

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Other countries I am not remembering of…

And here is Moldova’s team (the Russian Moldovan fighter we met asked us why Romania doesn’t have any team – didn’t know what to answer)… He also told us that since the beginning (the first World Championship was held in 2009 in Kharkiv, Ukraine) in both men and women categories Russia is always the winner and Ukraine comes in the second place. His explanation is that it all depends on the number of fighters a country relies on – as an example, Russia can make a selection (for the World Championship) out of more than 600 fighters, while in Moldova there are maximum 15 fighters…

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Ukraine, one of the best teams, beats Poland (I guess…)

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Germany vs. France, Germany wins – as always 🙂
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UK vs. some other country I am not remembering of…

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And since I was talking about injuries, there was no serious one on the day we’ve been there. Still, at one point the ambulance was called, as a preventive measure:

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And here is the overcrowded arena:

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And finally, some part of their (expensive) gear. The photo was shot during the ‘Women’s Category “Group Battles” 3 vs. 3’.

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My Prague (7): Prague’s Witches’ Night festival

Each year on the 30th of April Prague is engaged in witch burning (pálení čarodějnic). Read more about the event here, here and here. We couldn’t pay too much attention to this event since this year on the same day we had the Orthodox Easter, but we still found some time to get some snapshots. Below, two (very modern, I guess) witches posing for the cameras.


Witches are trained. You have to start when you’re young…


And witchcraft is hereditary, of course!


Witchcraft can also be flower-power, with all those beers and stuff…


And yes, witches must also eat. They roast sausages over a blazing fire 🙂


And here are the best two witches on the Vltava’s island this year (sorry for the grainy photos, it was really dark)!