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Saturday, July 09, 2011

France/Spain 2011 - Day 3, Part 2 - Strasbourg

"The more things change, the more they remain... insane." - Michael Fry and T. Lewis

***

France/Spain 2011
Day 3 - 19th March - Strasbourg
(Part 2)

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Cathedral square

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Strasbourg Cathedral

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Cathedral front

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Buildings came quite near to the cathedral, so there wasn't that much space in the square - and that much space for its full glory to be apparent


Strange band

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Statue to Jean Baptiste Kleber, a general from the Revolutionary era. He was born in Strasbourg, naturally.

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Homme de Fer (Man of Iron) tram station
They found a suit of armour (sans helmet) here in 1802. Apparently it's something to do with the Man in the Iron Mask (Masque de Fer).

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Sluices of Ill River

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Pont de Saverne

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Tree and Ill River, with La Petite France in the background

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Restoration of retaining walls of the "Covered Bridges"

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"Ponts Couverts" ("Covered Bridges")

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Island and Ill River

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Riverside housing

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Cute graffiti

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Less cute graffiti

There was a wedding shoot:

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La Petite France

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Church poster: "Pourquoi la souffrance ? Et après ? Quel sens à ma vie ?
Et vous quelle question poseriez-vous à Dieu ?"
("Why is there suffering? What happens after [we die]? What meaning is there in my life? And you, what would you ask God?")

My local companion said there're more young people going to church nowadays.

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Guy with very strange attire

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Strange toilet with 2 private cubicles.

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"These public conveniences are free of charge"
Why didn't they just translate "toilet"?

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Place Winston Churchill
According to the street sign, he won a Nobel Prize. I didn't realise he won the Nobel Prize for literature.
At the back: library and médiathèque (media library)

For lunch I went back to my companion's place and tried West African food (the first time I'd had Sub-Saharan food, I think):

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"Chiep". Tomatoes + oil + chicken + sticky rice

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Halal Butcher which sells wine. And if I understood my companion right, it also sold pork.

There was a McDonald's in a half-timbered house. Or what looked like one, anyway.

N. China - Day 10, Part 2 - Yungang Grottoes

"It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it is true." - Bertrand Russell

***

N. China
Day 10 - 8th November - Yungang Grottoes
(Part 2)

There's another set of famous Buddhist grottoes (which are also UNESCO-listed) in China - the Longmen Grottoes (Mogao is called "Mogao Caves" for some reason, it's in Gansu along the Silk Road so it's less accessible and it's more famous for the paintings and murals than statues). However Longmen, being more accessible, got damaged during the Cultural Revolution.

For some reason the stuff the Taoists did in caves isn't as famous. Apparently they're places of meditation, but somehow the traces of their activities aren't so famous.

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"古千視高" (Far Vision Through The Ages [?])

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Entrance to the cave area

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Some words

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Ceremonial gatewy to the caves

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Cave 1, 471-494AD

Cave 2 was quite big, so you could go in and get close to the statues (you couldn't in most of them).

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Cave 2 complex

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An empty alcove

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Buddha. From previous knowledge the holes were used to hang accoutrements like jewelry (long since vanished)

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Another view of the Buddha

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Cave 2 Buddha stitch

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Cave 3, "originally the biggest cave at Yungang" (?!), 471-494 AD
I suspect some translation error, since it certainly wasn't the biggest cave

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Wooden buildings built to front Caves 5 and 6 - the most impressive (and most colourful) caves

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Eaves of the building

Photography was not allowed inside Caves 5 and 6 (because they were probably the nicest, with the most colours - most of the caves lacked colour). So I took photos from outside.

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Cave 5 wall painting

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Cave 5 Buddha's folded hands (it was just the Buddha inside)
The Buddha inside was huge (17m). Everything isde was 5th century, even the ceiling.

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Cave 6. This one had a group of carvings in the centre, and you could walk around it and view all sides (as well as the carvings on the cave wall)

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Statue and painting on left side of outer chamber of Cave 6

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Statue and painting on right side of outer chamber of Cave 6

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Cave 7. It and Cave 8 "are the earliest caves at Yungang" (though Wikipedia informs us that Caves 16-20 were finished by 465 AD). It was still dated to 471-494 AD though.

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Roof of Cave 7

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Cave 8

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Cave 8, 471-494 AD


Oddly the UK guy said his colleagues didn't complain about the air quality in Hong Kong.
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