Pic du Jour – Sucre, Bolivia’s White City

Sucre, Bolivia, from the east

This is a view of the historical center of Sucre, Bolivia, as seen from the city’s 413-year-old Recoleta Plaza which sits above the country’s constitutional capital to the east. Why the center of Bolivia’s most beautiful city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is referred to as La Ciudad Blanca is made fairly clear.

Sucre received some international attention this past week thanks to this AFP story highlighting the threat that some 5,000 65 million-year-old fossilized dinosaur tracks in the outskirts of the city currently face.

According to preservationists, pressures from a nearby cement factory that’s extracting limestone from a neighboring quarry is putting the footprints, traced to massive titanosaurs, king carnivore theropods, “bird-hipped” ornithopods and armored ankylosauruses, under serious risk.

The site, Cal Orcko, was discovered in the mid-1990s when erosion and rain uncovered the footprints, and is considered one of the biggest sites of fossilized footprints ever found. More here.

For the record, today’s Pic du Jour, the 270th straight, was snapped in Sucre, Bolivia, on 14-Apr-2013. Please click the image to view the full uncropped version.

Pic du Jour – Slovenians, Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence

Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence and the Slovenian connection - plaque in Cleveland, Ohio

I arrived in Cleveland last night, home to this plaque that offers yet more proof that Slovenia and Slovenians truly are at the center of the universe. :)

Jefferson, who authored the U.S. Declaration of Independence, was apparently inspired by a 7th century ceremony in the Duchy of Carantania, one which was based on the notion of consent of the governed, before he penned the document. A description of the medieval ceremony From a recent write-up on the Radio/TV Slovenia website:

There was nothing quite like it in Medieval Europe. When a new Duke was about to be installed in the Duchy of Carantania of the 7th and 8th centuries, he did not assume power solely by divine right, as was common elsewhere in Europe. Instead, the prospective duke, symbolically wearing peasants’ clothing, faced a member of the peasantry who had been selected by ordinary people.

Using an early form of what was to become the Slovenian language, the peasant then questioned the soon-to-be duke — and the surrounding crowd — about the duke’s integrity and asked him whether he was really concerned with the well-being of his duchy. Only when the crowd gave its public consent was the prospective duke finally able to don his ducal vestments and take his oath of fealty – but not before being ceremonially slapped by the peasant.

I’ll be based here for most of the next four months, the first somewhat extended period I’ll be spending in the U.S. since I moved to Europe a decade ago. I’m planning to take lots of notes. And really looking forward to catching with lots of old friends, too.

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 269th straight, was snapped in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, on 28-Aug-2013. Please click the image to view the full uncropped version.

Stolen Phones and Flinging Fish – Blog Report for September 2014

Between Trieste and Monfalcone
I’m finishing up this monthly report on a train from Trieste bound for Venice. I’m flying to the US tomorrow morning, where I’ll be based for the next handful of months, so this will almost certainly be my last rail trip until I return to Europe. That will be, at the very soonest, one year from now, so I’m savoring the route, which at least at its initial stages, is among my favorites in this part of Europe.

For the first 15 minutes after leaving Trieste Centrale, the tracks closely hug this stretch of northern Adriatic coastline, as do numerous cargo ships and freighters this side of the horizon. The area’s faded majesty is kept somewhat fresh by the Miramare Palace that takes pride of place on a promontory a few kilometers northwest of the city. Seen from a distant window of a passing train, it radiates Mediterranean charm.

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Pic du Jour – The Dog Lady from Campo San Maurizio

A woman walking her four dogs at the Campo San Maurizio, Venice

Here’s one shot from a three hour stroll around Venice yesterday afternoon. I mostly stuck around the less hectic and busy Dorsoduro district waiting for the crowds to thin at the Guggenheim Collection. They never did and I decided I wasn’t up for elbowing my way through one of my favorite museums in Europe. Another time.

This  was snapped in the Campo San Maurizio which is on the other side of the Grand Canal in the San Marco sestiere, or district. Venice’s historical center is made up of six districts, or sestieri. I’m very happy to report that Venice appears to still have more dogs than cats. The rodent population probably agrees with me, too.

A mini-gallery from the afternoon forthcoming once I’m on the ground in Ohio later this week.

Today’s Pic du Jour, the the 268th straight, was snapped in Venice, Italy on 06-Oct-2014. Please click the image to view the full uncropped version.

Mannequin Monday #19

Babar in Cartagena

I’m in transit at the moment, but haste doesn’t always make waste, right?

The subject of Mannequin Monday #19 was snapped in Cartagena, Colombia in early June 2013, a reminder that I’m still often referred to as Bob R. :)

By the way, this image also serves as today’s Pic du Jour, the 267th straight. Enjoy!

Pic du Jour – On the Street, Piran

On Kogoj Street, Piran, Slovenia

I made a quick visit today to Piran, Slovenia’s 1000-year-old seaside town, to say a brief goodbye. I’m leaving Slovenia tomorrow for the US and points well south for at least the next 12 months, and couldn’t part without a quick jaunt to the Adriatic coast, more specifically to Piran, which gave this blog its name and me to the world. :)

This was snapped on Kogoj street, deep inside the city’s network of narrow cobblestone streets. Some of the buildings in the town date back to the first half of the 15th century. Check out this post from 2012 that includes more on the town and my history with it –along with a couple dozen images.

Since returning from Morocco 13 days ago, the vast majority of my time has been occupied with organizing, packing and storing –and even minimizing the stuff that I’ve convinced myself belongs in my stash of worldly belongings. I’m happy to report that the latter’s becoming easier. For more on the latter, I strongly suggest you check out The Minimalists, and excellent website authored by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus who write about living a meaningful life with less stuff. Check it out.

For the record, today’s Pic du Jour, the 266th straight, was snapped on 05-Oct-2014. Please click on the image to see the full uncropped version.

Pic du Jour – From the Brkini Hills, Pick a Port


This was taken in the village of Obrov in the Brkini Hills of southwest Slovenia. There is no sign of any seafaring from the main road that passes through the village, but that doesn’t mean it’s far away. Nearly equidistant are three key northeastern Adriatic ports in three countries: the northern Istrian port at Rijeka, Croatia, Slovenia’s primary hub at Koper, or Italy’s northeast port at Trieste.

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 265th straight, was snapped in September 2013. Please click on the image to see the full uncropped version.

Pic du Jour – Saxophone Player, Cartagena

Saxophonist, Cartagena

I first noticed this man as he was sitting at a cafe with a few other musicians at the Plaza de Santo Domingo in Cartagena, Colombia’s old town center. When the chatting stopped, he took the silence as a prompt to pick up his sax, walk across the street and begin playing. His playing prompted me to order another drink, sit tight, and listen intently.

It further prompted me, just now, to seek out some Colombian jazz. I found Roberto Lopez Afro-Colombia Jazz Orchestra Enjoy.

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 264th straight, was snapped on 08-Jun-2013. Please click on the image to see the full uncropped version.