July, 2010 Archives

When the Aya Sofia, or Hagia Sophia, was built between 532 and 537, it served as an Orthodox basilica, then when the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453, it was converted to a mosque. Now it is a museum. During the time that it was a mosque, most of the mosaics were plastered over. This image shows the Theotokos (Virgin Mother and Child) mosaic, along with one of the medallions showing an Islamic inscription.

Saturday morning on the way into the office to do some work, the kind of work you can only do on the weekends, when offices are empty and updates to applications, software and/or systems can be made without disrupting users, or without asking users to outright stop working, I took a detour across the Casco Bay Bridge to South Portland.

The Casco Bay Bridge, or “CBB” as no one but myself in this explanation for what you’re about to see over the course of the next 5 day visual tour call it, is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the Million Dollar Bridge. I discovered this morning, thanks to the Internet, Google and Wikipedia, this isn’t correct. CBB replaced the Million Dollar Bridge, or “MDB.” MDB spanned the Fore River, joining Portland with South Portland. It was a bascule drawbridge. (Yes, that is a nice animation!) CBD, also a bascule drawbridge, replaced MDB in 1997.

Anyway, earlier last week I was driving into Portland across CBB, and I was thinking how ugly it is, and I guess I was imagining what the Fore River and Portland waterfront might look with something more like Budapest’s Chain Bridge, Istanbul’s Galata Bridge across the Golden Horn, or any of the utilitarian iron bridges spanning the Chicago River. But that’s silly; I live in Portland, Maine; I like the city a lot; and CBB is what we’ve got here.

Anyway, I crossed the bridge, and I drove up to where the excellent bike/pedestrian walkway descends from the roadway, and I looked, and I took a bunch of pictures. The first batch I did with my Canon one-shot digital camera. I did 2 rolls of back-and-white 35mm stuff, which when I have developed I’ll share. At least the better pictures I’ll share.

So, get ready for a tiny bit of repetition this week. Monday-Friday are dedicated to CBB. I hope it’s enjoyable. Thanks!

St. Stephen’s, which is very near to where we stayed when we stayed in Budapest (windows in our room had a nice, close-up view of the dome and spires), is pretty much dead center.

Here’s a link to the full size panorama.

Taken from Castle Hill, not quite the Fishermen’s Bastion (judging by the perspective), but nice anyway.

Chain Bridge is on the right. Margaret Bridge is on the left. You can’t see the Elizabeth Bridge, further to the right, in this picture.

Here’s a link to a larger version.

All the bridges were blown up by the Germans as they retreated west from Pest to Buda and the fortifications on the hill when the Red Army entered the city.

Here’s a nice reference from Google Maps. Pest (what you’re seeing in this picture) is to the right of the Danube, the river running from top-to-bottom in this map. Buda is to the left of the Danube. Pest’s streets are more gridded because Pest is on flat land, part of the Great Hungarian Plain. Buda and (to complicate) Obuda, are built on hills.

I often find myself walking through the woods, off the main trail or road, thinking “Wow, this area hasn’t been touched by humans, and I know I’m the first person who’s ever walking through these woods!” when I come across a stone wall like this.

This was taken at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, which admittedly isn’t the western Maine mountains, but the feeling’s the same.

Friday we’re doing “home improvement” chores we’ve put off because the summer’s been busy, the weather’s been hot, etc., etc. I’ve been lazy.

After the home improvement stuff is done, and we’re waiting for the paint to dry and the pressure treated wood to “sweat” whatever’s used now in place of the arsenic to preserve the wood, we’re going to the beach. Haven’t been at all this year. I’ve been busy.

This picture is intended to make me feel inspired. About going to the beach.