park - photography

Park in September - late photos

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Frank Lloyd Wright house in Chicago
autumn - photography

Frank Lloyd Wright house in Chicago

Open house Chicago

Last weekend (October 15 and 16, 2011) Chicago Architecture Foundation organized an open house event. Many sites that are usually closed to public, open just by invitation or are occupied by businesses were during these two days open for everyone. From many sites one of the most interesting was the house in Rogers Park designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The house is not large and is placed next to a small bed and breakfast called Cat's Cradle. Cat's Cradle was a site in the open house itself and is very interesting place.

Frank Lloyd Wright house - photography

About the house

Information placed in front of the house
Chicago Landmark
Emil Bach House
Frank Lloyd Wright, architect

One of the last of Wright's small urban houses, the Bach House combines elements of the Prairie style with a compact plan well suited for an interior lot. The inward orientation of the house ensures the privacy of its residents and reflects Wright's idea of the importance of family life.

Designated a Chicago Landmark on September 28, 1977 by the City Council of Chicago. Michael A. Bilandic, Mayor

Commission on Chicago
Historical and Architectural Landmarks

See also:
Autumn - photography
Frank Lloyd Wright house in Springfield, Illinois

transgender members of parliament

Anna Grodzka, Poland

Anna Grodzka
Anna Grodzka
Anna Grodzka became a member of the Polish parliament in the recent election on October 9th, 2011. Anna Grodzka is a member of a Palikot Movement party which collected enough votes to become a third major force in the current parliament. Grodzka is currently the only transgender member of parliament worldwide. She is a long-term activist for the LGBT rights. Grodzka is a founder and activist of the Trans-Fuzja foundation which is devoted to help transgender community in Poland. Her transformation to be a woman has been presented in HBO movie Trans-Akcja and presented in 2010. Among Grodzkas goals for the parliament are to help LGBT community, equalization of opportunities for woman and raise of the minimum wages.  

Georgina Beyer, New Zealand

Georgina Beyer at International Conference
Georgina Beyer
Georgina Beyer is the worldwide first transgender member of parliament. She has served in the parliament of New Zealand between 1999 and 2007 on behalf of the labour party. Beyer underwent the sex reassessment surgery in 1984. Her public career has started from election to school board and consequent election as a city mayor.  Beyer had tried to include "gender identity" term in the list of Human Rights Act. Georgina Beyer has been elected three times, in 1999, 2002 and 2005. In 2007 she has resigned from the seat. 

Other members

Vladimir Luxuria - Roma Pride 2008
Vladimir Luxuria
The first member of parliament in Europe that has openly admitted transsexuality was Vladimir Luxuria. Vladimir was a member of parliament in Italy during Romano Prodi's government. Vladimir functions in public life entirely as a woman. However, Vladimir has never undergone the medical or the legal procedure of the sex change. Luxuria has been involved in organizing Italy's first pride parade in early 90's and has continued LGBT rights activism during her appointment in Italy's parliament. 

autumn - photography

Few pictures that I have taken on my walk today. Very sunny day gave a perfect opportunity to take some nice pictures. European yaw or hawthorn look particularly pretty in autumn, leafs changing colors are always very photogenic.  

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park - photography

worlds most scenic castles

Egeskov Castle, Denmark

Egeskov Castle is a renaissance castle located in southern Funen in Denmark. The Castle has been built as a fortification on a lake and originally one could reach it only by a waterbridge. The name of the Castle means "oak forrest". Egeskov Castle is surrounded by gardens featuring different topics. Whole area with the Castle functions now as a museum and is one the most important tourists attractions of the island. 

Egeskov Castle, Denmark. Pictrure from

Leeds Castle, England

Leeds Castle was built at the beginning of XII century and shortly after that became a royal residence. Over the centuries Leeds Castle was a residence of English royal family. Last private owner acquired the Castle at the beginning of the XX century and in 1976 was open to the public. The Castle was afterwards place of peace negotiation between Egypt and Israel and Northern Ireland peace talks. 

Leeds Castle, Kent, England 3 - May 09
Leeds Castle, England

Malbork, Poland

Teutonic Castle in Malbork is the worlds largest gothic castle. Malbork was the capital of the Teutonic Country and was occupied by the Teutonic Grand Master. Castle is well preserved and all of its parts are open for tourists. Over two centuries the Castle in Malbork became the most guarded town in the Teutonic Country. Castle was partially demolished at the beginning of XIX century but shortly after reconstructed. The museum is the Castle has also very large amber, art and military collection. 

Marienburg 2004 Panorama
Malbork, Poland

Kalmar Castle, Sweden

Kalmar Castle was build in XIII century and since then played significant role in Scandinavian history. The union of Denmark, Sweden and Norway was finalized in the Kalmar Castle in XIV century. Kalmar Castle was heavily damaged XVII century and not restored until the XIX century. Nowadays Kalmar is one of the best preserved Swedish castles and is open to the public. 

Kalmar slott.nordostra sidan
Kalmar Castle, Sweden

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle is a XIX century palace in southern Bavaria in Germany. The Palace was planed to act as a royal residence but has been open to public immediately after the construction. The magnificent scenery of the Castle was an inspiration for many movies. Today the Castle is a popular tourist destination.

Neuschwanstein Castle panorama
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

See also:
Teutonic Knights' castles in Poland

graduation towers - different face of spa

Graduation tower in Ciechocinek, Poland

What is a graduation tower?

A graduation tower is a wooden construction traditionally in a shape of long tower. Tower is filled with blackthorn branches. The purpose of the graduation towers in the past was to increase the concentration of salt in saline solution and to obtain salt. Nowadays graduation towers are used in spa towns for artificially creating salt concentration in air similar to sea shore area. Mineral rich water obtained from a local spring is run slowly from the top of the tower. Droplets of saline evaporating and breaking on the branches create a mineral rich aerosol in the vicinity of the tower.  The condition of the air around towers highly depends on the weather and is the richest in minerals when evaporation is high, that is sunny and warm days. 

Graduation towers in the world

Graduation towers can be found only in Poland, Germany and Austria. In all of those counties towers have been build in towns with mineral rich natural springs. Previously used for salt production, nowadays are a tourist attraction and turned towns into health resorts. Large complex of graduation towers is located in Poland in town Ciechocinek. Ciechocinek became a health resort mainly used by people with respiratory tract problems.

Gradierwerk2BadNauheim 6 Ciechocinek 18 Ciechocinek teznia 4
Bad Nauheim, Germany Ciechocinek, Poland

See also:
10 reasons to visit Poland
Teutonic Knights' castles in Poland

the largest earthquake and tsunami in North America

The largest earthquake in North America

Very close to Seward, in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on Good Friday March 28, 1964 took place the largest earthquake recorded in North America. The magnitude of the earthquake reached 9.2. The earthquake caused a tsunamis more than 200 feet (60 meters) hight. Tsunamis reached Oregon and California causing fatalities. Despite a large magnitude of the earthquake only 131 people died, mostly as victims of the tsunamis. The largest damage was caused in Anchorage as a direct result of the earthquake. Other areas damage was mostly caused by tsunamis. The strength of the Alaskan earthquake has been noticed worldwide and as a result even level of wells in Africa has changed and boats sunk in Luisiana. The great Alaskan Earthquake is worldwide second largest earthquake ever recorded. Only the Great Chilean Earthquake that stroked in 1960 was larger and reached 9.5 on the magnitude scale. 

View Americas largest earthquake in a larger map

On the map above the epicentrum of the Great Alaskan Earthquake is marked in green, in blue we marked Anchorage and Seward. 

Alaska after the largest earthquake

Althout only 131 people died in the Great Alaskan Earthquake, large region suffered great damage. Anchorage suffered the most damage. About 30 blocks of commercial buildings in downtown Anchorage were heavily damaged. Smaller coastal towns, like Seward, suffered also great damage caused mainly by tsunamis. After the earthquake plans of towns were adjusted and new buildings or constructions have been put new more save areas. Damage in Alaska has been estimated at 2 billion dollars (at todays value). Results of the tsunamis are still visible as a death forest that is nowadays preserved. Salty water brought inland by tsunamis destroyed trees in large coastal area. 

Tsunami hazard in Alaska

Alaska as one of the most seismically active region on the planet is at constant earthquake and tsunami hazard. Most of the earthquakes and vulcano eruptions do not cause big damage since the most active region of the Ring of Fire is sparsly populated. However, the southern Alaska is not only in danger of tsunamis and earthquakes caused in the region. As an coast open to the Pacific Ocean, it is in the tsunami hazard area of more distant earthquakes like those in Japan, Hawai, California or South America. 

The tsunami hazard zone, the evacuation route and area are well marked in all tsunami hazard areas. Seward in Alaska has daily test of the tsunami alert, similar to other towns in the hazard zones. Below we show road signs used in Alaska for the hazard area. 

Tsunami hazard zone US road sign. Evacuation route, road sign from Alaska. Evacuation area for tsunami hazard, Alaska.

See also:
Alaskan honeymoon - part 1
Alaskan honeymoon - part 2
Alaskan honeymoon - part 3

slavery in the modern world

Slavery in the world today

One may think that the slavery is a concept of the past centuries and that in a modern society every person is free. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word "slave" has wider meaning than the commonly used one.
A person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.
  • a person who works very hard without proper remuneration or appreciation
  • a person who is excessively dependent upon or controlled by something
Slave Trade Abolition was passed in March 1807 and both United Kingdom and the United States enacted the law in 1807 and 1808 respectively. However, more than 200 years after that countries around the world fight with slavery. Nowadays the most victims of slavery are children and woman that are sold as servants, factory workers or sex slaves. Problem mainly concerns poor regions of Middle East and Africa but America and Europe are not free of the slavery problem either and have noticeable amount of sex slavery cases.  In Europe and America immigrants from poorer countries are sometimes taken advantage of and forced to work for smaller than minimal or no salary.

ST-slaves Arabslavers Overseer Artayou Carrier whipped me. I was two months in bed sore from the whipping. My master come after I was whipped, - NARA - 533232

Facts about slavery around the world

Few examples of slavery in modern world and todays slave trade 
  • In 2005 UNICEF and United Arab Emirates signed the agreement to free more than 1000 children slaves from Middle East involved in camel racing.
  • Remnant of the cast system in India exacerbate the children slavery problem which are often forced to work in carpet factories. Although carpet manufacturers and carpet importers to the US and Europe deny it, South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude estimates that between 200 000 and 300 000 children are slaved in India. Estimated numbers for Pakistan and Nepal are of the same order.
  • Led by false promises of employment in hotels or restaurant women immigrants are sold and forced to prostitute in Europe and North America.
  • Sugar cane slavery is problem in Dominica Republic where people are kidnaped by or sold to Dominican soldiers and forced to harvest sugar cane for low or no wages.

Your slavery footprint

If you are curious if and how many people were abused or worked as slaves to manufacture goods that all of us use everyday check your slavery footprint. Service after collecting some informations about place you live and what is in your house and what do you eat everyday will show you how many people were abused making your life as it is. Service will also display a map with distributed fraction of slavery in your footprint.

worlds most amazing hotels

Hotel from Ice in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Town Jukkasjärvi in the northern Sweden is fameus from Ice Hotel. The Ice Hotel is entirely made of ice and snow and is build every year and opens around December. Ice Hotels bar glasses are also made from ice. Hotels bar was open in partnership with Absolut Vodka and is a precursor of Icebars in London,  Stockholm and other cities. Hotel accommodates around 100 people and rooms, main hall, church, reception area are uniquely designed and rebuild every year from scratch.  Icehotel is the largest ice and snow structure spanning over 6000 square meters. Guests can spend a night in temperature below zero, sleeping in warm clothes and boots on a ice-block bed. 

  Ice Hotel Church Jukkasjärvi Sweden Ice Hotel 5 Icehotel entre ms

Salt Hotel, Bolivia

In Salar de Uyuni desert in Bolivia one finds a hotel entirely made from salt. The desert is a remnant of a dry salty lake. The hotel is build from salt blocks and other natural materials from the Andes. Few years ago the hotel had to be demolished after missmanagement but was rebuild in the eastern edge of the desert under the name Palacio de Sal. Floor, walls, even the furniture including chairs and beds are made from salt and guests are  forbidden to lick the equipement. 

Pictures from

Tree Hotel, Sweden

Sweden is home for few of the most unique hotels. It is not only that they have an Ice Hotel but Swedish people put a new meaning to the word tree-house. Tree Hotel features six uniquely designed and fully equipped tree-houses. All rooms have different shape, from a bird's nest to UFO. The hotel is located in town Harads in northern Sweden. Each of the six houses is eco-friendly and has been put from 4 to 6 meters above the ground are 15-30 square meters large. Although hotel is located in northern Sweden, it is open all year long. 

Bird's nest room. Picture from

Sleeping capsules, Japan

Japan has probably the worlds most minimalistic hotel. 9 Hours is not only hotel with different design but also different concept of running a hotel. The hotel does not have rooms in the classical meaning and guests are sleeping in the individual capsules. Most of the hotel is shared between guests and the private area is restricted to the 2.5 meter long and 1 meter high capsule. Except a TV and a small shelf the capsule contains just a mattress covering the floor. 

Pictures from

Cave Hotel, New Mexico, US

New Mexico, US has a hotel made in a cave. Kokopelli's Cave is located 70 feet below the surface and has cave cavity turned into a hotel room. Access to the cave may be not easy depending on the guests condition. The cave was first the office and private home before it has been arranged as a hotel room. The room is fully equipped with full kitchen and even a jacuzzi and everything is put between 65 million years old walls.

Pictures from Kokopelli's Cave Bed & Breakfast,

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