Mar 26, 2011

Birtvisi Canyon, 26 March 2011

Saturday Dima drove Søren and I to the Birtvisi Canyon, south of the Algeti reservoir, one hours drive from Tbilisi.

A week later I found out that I had picked up a castor bean tick (in Danish Flåt) in Birtvisi, by that time it was fully engorged with my blood

The small black section of the animal in front is its size before the nasty creature had been sucking my blood

Mar 15, 2011

Hash to Shavnabada Monastery, 13 March 2011

This Sundays hash was to the Shavnabada Monastery. "Shavnabada" is located on the top of the mountain with the same name not far away from Tbilisi.

Shavnabada Monastery.
There is a very interesting legend about the name of the mountain and the Monastery.
Centuries ago, Georgians were loosing fight against foreign invaders. Suddenly they saw a knight sitting on the white horse wearing black felt cloak, with his help Georgians won the fight but when they wanted to thank him after the victory nobody could find him, finally they saw the knight going to the direction of this mountain where he disappeared. Georgians believe the knight in black felt cloak (in Georgian Shavi Nabadi) was St. George who came to help them in war. They gave the name Shavnabada to the mountain and built "Shavnabada" St. George church on top of it.

The basic idea of hashing is simple:
One or more members of the club (the hares) mark a route (the trail), with flour.
The rest of the members (the pack) will follow the trail, looking for marks (checking the trail).

The youngest participant in the hash

As many other churches in Georgia, the church of the Shavnabada Monastery was newly restored

From the Monastery there was a fantastic view in all directions.

At the end of the Hash the pack and the hares cicle up to evalute the hash.

One or more of the hashers - the Religious Advisor/Grand Master/Circle Master - do a recap, handing out praise and punishment to the participants for deeds done on trail.
Typical down downs include: Setting the trail, getting lost, arriving late, being quoted in the media without mentioning the hash, spilling beer, being a newcomer (virgin) or a visitor, limited only by the imagination of the Religious Advisor/Grand Master/Circle Master

The praise/punishment are the same: the lucky(?) one gets a down-down - a drinking vessel of beer which has to be emptied within a certain amount of time, while the rest of the pack chants and cheers

Mar 6, 2011

Brussels, 28 February to 3 March, 2011

In Brussels I participated in two workshops of ENPI east projects on behalf of our Kura project: “Communication an EU-funded project” and a coordination meeting for ENPI (European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument) East Regional Projects.

I had never been in Brussels before and after the meetings I went for some sightseeing.

Central market square.
"One of the most beautiful town squares in Europe, if not in the world", is a phrase often heard when visitors in Brussels try to describe the beauty of the central market square.

Central market square.
The House of the Dukes of Brabant.

Central market square.
During the early Middle Ages small wooden houses were scattered around the market, but as from the 14th century the rich and powerful patrician families built stone mansions. Gradually the market turned into the main commercial and administrative centre of the city.
In the following centuries most wooden houses where replaced with beautifully decorated stone ones, mostly owned by the Brussels guilds.

On August the 13th 1695, however, the prestigious square was bombed to ruins by Field Marchal DE VILLEROY. By order of Louis XIV of France he had Brussels destroyed in reprisal of a lost Battle in Namur (south Belgium).Between 1695 and 1700 the guilds rebuilt all the houses. Also the heavily damaged townhall was entirely reconstructed.In the 18th and 19th centuries most of the houses became private property.

After attempts of several owners to modernize the facades of their houses, which would have resulted in a mutilation of the unity of style, the mayor of Brussels, Karel Buls, decided that the houses of the Grand-Place had to be preserved as much as possible in their original style. Since that year the owners of the houses are bound by a servitude.

Central market square.
The Town Hall, the FOX (House of the traders guild with the statue of St. Nicolas on top) - The HORN (House of the sailors. The upper floor looks like the rear end of a ship) - The SHE-WOLF

Monument of the dying Everard't Serclaes
Everard't Serclaes (c. 1320 – 31 March 1388), lord of Cruyckembourg (Ternat), a citizen of Brussels, was made famous by his recovery of that city from the Flemish.
It is said among locals that the statue of Everard 't Serclaes brings luck and grants the wishes of all who touch it. Many tourists touch (or rather rub) the statue, and this constant polishing keeps the body depicted in the statue in a shining color compared to the rest of the sculpture. Other parts are also touched frequently by the tourists such as the face of an angel, a dog, and one of the shields.

New York has the Statue of Liberty, Copenhagen has the mermaid and Brussels has the ...... Manneken Pis. This statue of a little boy in a somewhat compromising position has since several centuries been a major tourist attraction in the city. When most people see our 'manneken', the first reaction is always one of amazement: "Look, how small he is ! Why does everybody want to see him ?" The people of Brussels, however, accept him the way he is. After all, it doesn't always have to be big to be beautiful.

Belgium claims to be the country with the best beer in the world, but it was difficult to find the good beer in the restaurants I visited

It should not be allowed to sell beer in such small bottles!

The royal park

The royal park

The Rose-ringed Parakeet is a gregarious tropical parakeet species The Rose-ringed Parakeet is one of few parrot species that have successfully adapted to living in 'disturbed habitats', and in that way withstood the onslaught of urbanisation and deforestation. It is a noisy species with an unmistakable squawking call.
The Rose-ringed Parakeet is an invasive species with big population in parks in many towns including London and Brussels. Worldwide, all colonizing flocks are initially the product of deliberate or accidental releases of breeding pairs.

As it was breeding time for the Rose-ringed Parakeets when I visited Brussels they were busy finding a partner and defending the hole in a tree chosen for their nest.

Rose-ringed Parakeets are popular as pets and have the ability to mimic human speech. First it listens to its surroundings, and then it copies the voice of the human speaker.
The Rose-ringed Parakeet is an invasive species with big population in parks in many towns including London and Brussels. Worldwide, all colonizing flocks are initially the product of deliberate or accidental releases of breeding pairs.
It has also been seen in Denmark, and as temperatures increases we will probably soon we will have our own populations in the parks in Copenhagen.