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War monuments allways tell a story. Sometimes even more than the story it intends to tell. In Isandhlwana a monument commemorates the 1879 battle in the Anglo-Zulu war. Just outside the village, everywhere against the hill one sees heaps of white stones. Every spot indicates the place an Englishmen was killed. Simple, yet very impressive.

Apart from that, obviously one also encounters the monuments with the placards with names. And so the visitor reads the names of those killed in Isandhlwana, also somebody who died in the next village, Rorke's drift. But what about the others?

According to what I can read they died of fever in another town called Helpmakaar (beautiful African name btw, translated it would be 'Help each other '). Not as heroic is it? Corporal Chaddock and his men were suffering in a tent probably, while others fought against the Zulu's. I try to imagine the scene. At some point in 1879 his family back home got a message that he had passed away. What did they tell them? He died of fever or did they make up a heroic story about a battlefield? Did a (great)grand child of him visit the battlefields half a century later and saw this monument? How do they remember him, as a hero killed by a Zulu or as a loser who died away from the battle?

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Rio de Janeiro, view from the Sugar Loaf.
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Everybody, in the whole wide world, knows the leaning tower of Pisa. Which is a shame, as the tower is only one of the many great features of the Piazza dei Miracoli, the square of miracles.

So many great buildings on that square, such a great city to walk in and then everyone only takes pictures like this or this. Such a shame. The rest of the city deserves more attention, more praise. Hence this edition of 'Second look'.

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An afternoon in Copenhagen. Plenty of walking, strolling around town, searching for a Danish translation of Asterix (found) and an English translation of Dan Turell (failed), as always hunting books. Suddenly I see the statue. A statue of someone in a comfy chair reading. As a book addict, always a good sign. I cross the road to take a picture, see who he is. Hartmann is his name. Never heard of him.

Up close I notice that he is not reading a book. A book, even when in a statue, has several pages. This seems like just a book cover. Is he sitting with a menu? Is he trying to decide what to take for afters?

Back home Wikipedia (off course) has the answer. Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann is a Danish composer, with German ancestry. Yet I do not know why a composer is portrayed sitting down. And I still don't know him. Yet sometimes I feel one can know too much. I liked the menu option much better...

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These days nobody in a western country should have to suffer from poverty anymore. A phone, television, roof above your head, enough food to survive, real poverty has been left behind. Not very long ago though, many had a toilet still in the garden. Then today, walking a block I noticed something that seemed from half a century ago. The toilet back in the backyard. Recession must have struck hard. But even then, a bit of privacy is not too much to ask for, is it?


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The Mezquita in Cordoba, magnificent building. Living proof that the multicultural society can work. Catholic cathedral in a former mosk, in the middle of the Jewish quarter. Andalucia has been mixing cultures for centuries.
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In Venice visiting a graveyard is not as easy as elsewhere. The vaporetto to Murano has a stop at the island completely covered by this graveyard. Luckily we decided to get off the boat. What an amazing sight. Regardless of the effort, plenty of people apparently pride themselves to keep the family graves filled with flowers. This cemetary certainly ranks amongs the top I have visited.

A wise man, can't remember who, once said:'The way people treat the death, says a lot about the degree of civilization'. I can only agree.

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In Catholic churches it was easy to find out about the bible. Even for those who could not read, iliterate. Paitings or statues told a story. My upbringing wasn't exactly Christian. Yet I do know that the story I was referring to played about 2000 years ago. Give or take a few years.

 

Elsewhere on the www I can read about the invention of glasses in the 13th century. A bit of discussion and controversy, hence I could be wrong a century or even two. But can someone explain what the geezer with the specs on the right is doing next to the one wearing a huge cross, ready for cruxifiction on the left?


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Benidorm, Spain, last summer.
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Christmas in Venics, a very nice tree, just around the corner from San Marco square.
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Malaga centrum

Malaga center on a nice summers day.
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In South Africa traveling is easy for Dutch people. Afrikaans is a language with the same origin. So most of the time, without actually speaking the language, one can understand. Just sometimes the words have gone different ways. So while the first word still means the same in Dutch (information), the second one these days has a completely different meaning. It rhymes with 'rank'...

Couldn't stop a giggle and had to shoot a picture obviously!

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Christian extremes automatically, like Pavlov, seem American to me. Christians who fight each other because of some interpretation of the bible is not unlike Northern Ireland. I wasn't surprised that it existed, but I was amazed that we drove by one in Northern Ireland. A drive in church.

I'm not religious at all, so going to church is a strange concept for me, but I can't possibly imagine what it would be like to drive to an empty carpark on a rainy sunday morning and then having to listen (open window? radio?) to a vicar preaching from a lorry.

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Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland.

Origins? Two possibilities. Natural causes. Volcanic rock, sea, time, erosion, et voila: plenty of hexagonal rocks. Second option: A giant was building a bridge from here to Scotland. Just before the last part he saw an even bigger giant in Scotland and stopped building.

I know which option I like best.

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Try to take a picture with an arrow in midair and you're guarantee to fail. Just sometimes luck will have it that you press the button exactly at the right time.
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To me this picture summed up Ireland. A quiet, very quiet, small road through beautiful nature. Clouds threathening to burst with rain any second. And a sheep in the middle of the road. Like a statue, wondering why this piece of noisy metal is trying to overtake the road.
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Rome. February 2008.
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I don't know who he is, nor do I recognize his two mates at the sides of the bridge. But with a bit of timing, in Berlin, one can seem to be very close to him, when on a boat trip on the Spree.
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The longest still standing part of The Wall is just over 1km long. East Berlin invited 118 artists from all over the world to turn this part into an artproject. Unfortunately, though probably a bit appropriate, over a decade and a half of decay have done a lot of damage. This part was simple, but in the same time very strong.
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Walking the dog is normal business for millions every day. Plenty of children are being held on a leash as well. I've even seen cats attached to their owners. But a rabbit? A first for me, but for this young man in Antwerp, it seems like an ordinary walk.
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