You might have expected another photo from my travels into the Baltics. I am sorry, but I have to disappoint you for now (There are still a few to come later).
I am afraid but this post is going to get a bit unusual. Don’t worry, nothing geeky or rude, or crazy. Just – unusual.
You see, I am on vacations – for two and a half weeks. Today the first half of these long awaited vacations is over. Besides this the month of July is coming to an end. Both of this makes me stop my usual blogging routine of putting photos up to Flickr and presenting them here on my blog. I sit back and think about time – how fast it goes by, and, most of all, how I used the time.
You must know that I am often thinking that I don’t use the time efficiently, that I could have done more with the time given to me each day. So I decided to write a journal for each of my vacation days. I did a bit of a review today. I did not ask the journal how many activities I managed to put into the free time, but what kind of activities. And I must say, I am rather satisfied with myself:
- I helped a friend of mine to get into the internet, and she’s happy with it.
- I managed to select the proper birthday present for her.
- I managed to clean one of my balconies, something I had been planning for months.
- I enjoyed the warm weather having lunch outside in the restaurant round the corner – felt the pleasant air and the soft summer wind on my skin and in my hair.
- I kept on discovering Squidoo and I am still full of the motivation to learn more about it.
And – most of all – I am enjoying the freedom to do or not do so something!
What is your feeling about time and how you use it?
I must admit: I love water – be it the waves of the sea rolling in, a majestic river, a lake or a small pond like this one. I can look at water for a long time, and it makes me feel alive and makes me quiet at the same time.
And I love the different shades of blue water: the greenish-blue of lakes surrounded by mountains or by trees; the silvery blue of the sea. I love the beautiy of water.
The last part of my travel to the Baltic countries led into Estonia. The first Estonian city we visited was Tartu, a city known for its academic tradition. The University Academia Gustaviana was founded in 1632 and is one of the oldest in Northwestern Europe.
The University still forms the character of the city – you can see a lot of young people sitting in the various cafés and restaurants, or simply on the lawns around the cathedral hill.
The photo above was taken on the cathedral hill which is dominated by the ruins of a 13th century cathedral. It may sound strange, but walking in a cathedral where the roof is lacking gives one a special feeling of the greatness of those old buildings and it makes one feel quite humble…
At the moment I am writing this blog post I have uploaded another bunch of photos to my Flickr account. I am using Vista now, and its image gallery program (or is it called photo gallery in English – I’ve only got the German name for it), is showing me the date when the picture was taken. On my left side beneath my laptop I’ve got my diary open – I had sometimes forced myself to write down each day where I had gone to and what we had visited.
And so, by looking at my diary and looking at the photos on my computer and preparing them for Flickr, I re-live the week I had been away to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Three countries in one week – that’s pretty much to take in. I am so glad that I had bought a bigger memory card for my camera. So I could take pictures without selecting while being away. I do the selecting now – and it’s part of the process of re-living the one week of travel.
Riga, the capital of Latvia, is famous for its Art Nouveau houses. Art Nouveau is an international movement and style of art, architecture and applied art, that had its peak at the turn of the 20th century. There is a very informative article about it on Wikipedia.
However reading about it and looking at it are different things. I walked from one house in Riga to the next one, taking in the beauty and trying to capture it with my camera. Latvia is a very poor country, and it is astonishing how many houses they have restored up to now (many of them are still in a sorry state, though).
Rundale Palace is one of the most beautiful baroque palaces in Latvia. We had a guided tour through the different rooms of the palace – the white dance hall, the galleries, the small cabinets with Chinese and Japanese porcelain collections. Although Latvia is a poor country it managed to reconstruct most of the palace which was put in ruins during World War II.
Rundale Palace has a big park attached to it. It is a typical baroque park with strict geometric forms. I sat down on one of the benches, bathing my eyes in the green colour of the lawn and the trees. For one short instance I thought I could see one of those 18th century princes and princesses clad in beautiful clothes walking by.
But this moment went by and I found myself in the present again…
I have quite some experiences with Online Forums (Fora?). You ask a question, and then you’re told to
- either read the f* manual
- go through the forum’s history in order to get a question to your answer (which would take you days, because there’s no SEARCH function and you have to read hundreds of posts).
Or, if you are lucky, your question is answered, but in such a way that you simply cannot understand it. You and the person who wrote the answer seem to live in two different worlds. Meh!
So I am rather cautious with forums. But there is one which is very helpful and informative: it is the forum (actually there are more than one) put up by Barbara Ling over at:
They focus on Internet Marketing, but you can also participate in such entertaining channels as “Personal Ramblings” or an “Off topic channel”.
The Forum I very much like to visit is “Squidoo Marketing”. In the beginning of June I produced my first Squidoo lens, introduced it in the Forum, asking for comments and hints. The feedback I got there was very helpful and encouraging. I am working on my second lens now. It is not yet in a state to be introduced to the public, but I hope that next weekend I will have produced something which I can show to the people in the forum.
So I can only recommend the Virtual Coach forums – come and have a look!
On the map you can see Klaipeda. A ferry gets you over to the Courland Spit (Kurische Nehrung in German). There is one long road going through the Island, and this road leads to one of the highest dunes of Europe. I got up there and had the following view:
It was a rainy day, but the sea was quiet. I could have stood there for ages, just looking at it, but unfortunately we could not stay long. There were so many other places to go to… (That’s the disadvantage of being part of a travel group: you have to follow the schedule.)
On the 10th July 2008 I wrote my first blog post. No, that isn’t right. I wrote my first blog post with the intention to keep on blogging in English and on WordPress.com.
Before that time I had a German blog which I wrote on in a rather sporadic manner. There wasn’t much traffic coming in, and most of the traffic came from English speaking countries. They liked my pics but could not understand the writing. So I decided finally to change the host to WordPress and the language to English.
Looking back to the months of blogging since July 2008 I can only say that it was one year full of learning:
- I got in contact with a crowd of helpful, kind, communicative people. Here’s to Robert Hruzek, Brad Shorr, Joanna Young, Rosa Say, Karen Swim, Jackie Cameron and Barbara Ling!
- I learned to offer a mixture of photos, drawings (took me some spoonfuls of courage pills to show them to the public!), writings, videos.
- I learned to keep up blogging three times a week (I began with that on January 2009 and managed to keep that schedule).
- I learned to participate in group writing projects (sorry not to participate in July’s group writing project, but could not manage it this month, Robert!).
- And learning all that I additionally learned to see myself as a citizen of the world, and at the same time, got a sharper understanding of myself as a European and German).
So I am looking forward to another year of blogging!
Wikipeda says about Klaipeda:
“Klaipėda German: Memel) is a city in Lithuania situated at the mouth of the Curonian Lagoon where it flows into the Baltic Sea. As Lithuania’s only seaport, it has ferry terminal connections to Sweden and Germany. Some of its older buildings have picturesque half-timbered construction, similar to that found in Germany, France, England, Denmark and southern Sweden.”
Those houses are beautiful, aren’t they? However one doesn’t forget that housing conditions at that time weren’t very good. We often admire the beauty but forget how it was to live in those old buildings.