Week 53: Change in Time

We were strolling through the Old Town Square in Prague when we came upon a huge crowd standing in the blazing midday sun awaiting the movement of the Prague Astronomical Clock. So we joined in, and in a minute or two the clock struck 12 noon. Magical things happened. The four figures flanking the clock were set in motion, representing four things that were despised at the time of the clock’s making in 1410. Vanity is represented by a figure admiring himself in a mirror. The miser holding a bag of gold represents greed or usury. Across the clock stands Death, a skeleton that strikes the time upon the hour. Finally, the Turk tells pleasure and entertainment. There is also a presentation of statues of the Apostles at the doorways above the clock, with all 12 presented every hour. The show takes place every our on the hour. And has for centuries. It is the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still working. We lunched at the foot of the clock in a shady outdoor cafe, and were there for the one o’clock show, too. Again, the crowds waited in the hot sun. We were glad our beer was cold.

Astronomical Clock

To give you proper perspective, I present Tom’s photo of the clock in context to the City Hall wall on which it resides:

Astronomical Clock 2
This week’s Change of Time theme closes out the year for the First 52-Week Challenge. We shooters are having way too much fun to let it rest, so next week, on Aug. 4, we begin a whole new year of photographic challenges, addressing 52 new themes over the next year. Stay along for the ride!

Week 51: Faith

People from Lithuania and probably beyond make a pilgrimage to a hill near the Latvia border to place crosses on the hill in the middle of nowhere to wish for something good. They have been doing this for centuries. It is called the Hill of Crosses. I was unprepared for this phenomenon as our tour bus ambled through the Lithuanian countryside to take us there. Over the centuries, not only crosses,but giant crucifixes, carvings of Lithuanian patriots, statues of the Virgin Mary and thousands of tiny effigies and rosaries have been brought here by Catholic pilgrims. The exact number of crosses is unknown, but there must be close to 1 million. The hill has a main stairway going up to the original spot where a cross was first erected, but the immenseness of the “project” has necessitated alternate routes and off shoots so it is really a maze of crosses. They are constructed of paper, wood, metal, grasses, sticks, anything that can be shaped into a cross. I passed people carrying little homemade crosses to be placed on the hill, including a quartet of giggling American teenage girls. The Hill of Crosses is truly a sight to behold on the Lithuanian landscape.

Hill of Crosses 1

Hill of Crosses 3

Hill of Crosses 2

Hill of Crosses 4

Hill of Crosses 5

Week 50: Open Wide (ala Francais)

Imagine my surprise when we arrived at the Regina Paris Hotel and I opened the balcony door to see the Louvre staring me in the face. This photo is totally zoomed out. The other view is of the Tuileries Garden, created by Catherine de Medicis as the garden of the¬†Tuileries Palace in 1564. It was eventually opened to the public in 1667, and became a public park after the French Revolution. Since the 19th century, it is the place where Parisians celebratd, meet, promenade and relax. Tom and strolled through there after dinner last evening. In modern times there is a small carnival added. The third “Open Wide” view is around the corner from our bathroom door, opened wide.

The Louve West

Regina Paris Bedroom View

Hotel Regina Bathroom View

The next two Open Wide photos are from the windows of Monet’s home in Giverny at hour from Paris. The first is his bedroom window, opened wide onto his garden, and the second is from his kitchen window.

Monets Bedroom Window

Monets Kitchen Window

If you can stand one more, there is this taken yesterday in the garden of the Rodin Museum. Auguste Rodin’s Le Genie du Repos Eternel”
frames the tourists in the museum’s window.

Wide Open Window with Sculpture