Friday, July 28, 2006

Ahoy Down There!

Have you ever had an irresistable urge to just yell to somebody you most definitely do not know, just to get their attention and no other reason?

Well I have. Such was the case this time too. I did resist the urge this time, as usually. One reason being the height, I would've had to really truly shout, the language barrier, the girls were most likely hungarian and then the simple fact that I was on Margit Hid, a bridge with heavy traffic, even louder shouting required.

But I did take a picture though. This bird's eye view is actually very cool. There aren't too many changes to take pictures just about straight down from a reasonable height. I'll have to find more opportunities to shoot more pictures like this one. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Repellent Shared Victory!

Once again a photo contest victory in the gaming community of discussion board. Well a shared victory actually. Sami Möttö gathered equal amount of votes as I with this photo.

The topic was "luotaantyöntävä" in finnish which translates to forbidding, repellent, repulsive or unapproachable in english. Most of the people had an approach of something disgusting like mold on cream cheese, bugs and such.

I on the other hand took the topic a little more freely. For me the picture came more as "luotaan työntävä" which translates to repellent according to FinnPlace dictionary. The slight difference in finnish words of "luotaantyöntävä" and "luotaan työntävä" is that the former is more of something disgusting and latter is more of something that pushes something else away. Former being more of metaphorical and latter concrete way of pushing something away.

Besides the tree in my picture reminds me a little of Dr. Zoidberg. It can't be that repulsive!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Just some random pictures

Just a quick check how Blogger handels the way it posts pictures when the at upload differenct sizes are selected. The first is small, second medium and the last is large. Earlier I presumed that it would affect the size of the picture shown after clicking the thumbnail. It actually seems to affect the tumbnail size. Now that explains a thing or two with the problems I have had with the layout of the text in my recent posts. Now all that remains to be checked is that if the picture behind the thumbnail is resized too.

Oh, I do like the way sun shines through the clouds. Not quite just random pictures after all.

Edit: The size indeed does affect only the thumbnails. I guess I could've found that one out by reading some help files, readmes or stuff like that. But hey, I am an engineer, if I need to open a manual (or something related) something has already gone wrong...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Return to Aquincum

As I promised earlier here are some more photos from the ruins of Aquincum.

First of all is the map of the excavation site and what is what in the ruins. Shop streets, public baths, forum, court of law and such. It was actually quite surprising how many baths this small area had. And yet the romans were not the people who brought the bath culture to Hungary, it was the ottoman turks, if I remember correctly that is. Please do rectify me if I am mistaken.

And now to the ruins themselves. This time we went to the excavation site itself to take a closer look of the ruins.

The area itself seems a bit too small for 40000 or so people, but then again the town of Aquincum streched on a far wider area than has been excavated. According to a guidebook of mine there are more ruins of the civilian town a kilometer or two to the south from these ruins. Although I don't know if the town itself was couple of kilometers in diameter I wouldn't think it to be impossible either.

The picture here, taken from a shadow of a column, displays part of the law-court building (basilika).

And here are the ruined remains of the so-called Butcher's house. It does take some imagination to see about anything supporting of any functionality for this ruined building but I trust the archeologists have made, at least, well educated guesses. I am not quite sure but I preume that the different coloured sand indicates what part of the ruins have been at one time the indoors (the red) and what has been outdoors (the white). It seemed pretty reasonable almost throughout the whole excavation but on some areas there was only white sand around the ruins.

Here on the far left side of the picture can be seen what remains of the north-south main road (cardo) and row of shops alongside it. right of the column are artisan societies' (collegii) headquarters in the front and artisans' houses further back. Even further back are the ruins of market-place and behind those are the ruins of the great public bath in the center of town.

Then follows a picture taken towards the place the previous picture was taken. This is the so colled E street. On the right side is the so-called merchant's house and on the left side of the street are some residental buildings with gardens.

And here is one of my personal favourites. Ruins of a large residental building with colonnaded central courtyard (peristylium). I can only imagine how beautiful that courtyard might have been "back then" in the roman days. Even ruined it looks peaceful and serene and made me want to just go there and relax. I could almost see and hear the flowing water in the fountain.

Amongst the ruins were, as I mentioned earlier, a few bath houses. In one of them the pool was quite clearly visible after all these years. When I was there I could imagine roman people taking a bath here. Someone stepping down the steps to the pool and other sitting on the edge of the pool one leg in the water. When looking at this picture I still can see them but I don't know just how the image relays through the picture.

Then this here picture is taken from the northeastern corner of the excavation site. The ruins are yet again of a bath house, public bath. If the shapes of the ruins in the other buildings tell anything then the semicircular shaped parts of the ruins are where the cold, hot and lukewarm pools were. The ruins have not been dug out completely, as you can see, because just outside of the right side of the picture is a paved road. Not heavily used but obstacle to the excavation anyways.

And then some examples of roman engineering. Here are the remains of underfloor heating. This kind of constucting was used in the bath houses to warm th water in the pools and steam rooms. Some more information about this can be found in Wikipedia under the topic of caldarium. Basicly the construction circulated hot air under the pool and warmed the water in the pool or in the case of the steamroom it evaporated the water to make the steam that heated the steamroom.

And last but not least, the aqueduct. While not quite as grand as in the wikipedia entry, pretty amazing still. It was rather tricky to get here, next to the aqueduct, since it is located between an eight laned highway. Outside the excavation site there is a pedastrian crossing leading to virtualy nowhere. Except between the roads where this bit of the aqueduct is located.

This picture here gives a little better idea of how the aqueduct bits are located. This bit here is not the same as the one in the previous picture, as you propably had already guessed. Here in Budapest are more of these ruins among modern stuctures, freeways, apartment buildings and such. Luckily enough some of those have remained to this day.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Danube by Night

Ok first off, taking pictures at nigh without using a tripod… Well that is quite challenging. Thanks to the image stabilizer and ISO1600 the exposure time could be kept in reasonable limits. In this case a whopping one third of a second. The picture isn’t the sharpest one and the amount of noise in the picture is tremendous but still I’d dare say the picture is good considering the amount of light available and the lag the tripod. I did brace the camera to the bridge railing which did shake every time a car went by.

Ok enough with that and time for some wonderings. While walking around the town at night you can witness some pretty weird things. One was a couple of lads taking pictures of each other. They had one compact camera and the other fellow stood astride above a light that was dug into the ground and shed light upwards. And the camera was apparently set to timer and positioned on the ground between the fellow’s legs. Hmmm. Strange. I had to double check that the person photographed thus was not a girl and wearing a skirt. No, they both were dudes.

The second weird thing was an elderly man who walked along the bank of Danube, between the road and river where there was no sidewalk. Well that ain’t that strange but the strange thing was that he started to undress himself. After a couple of minutes of taking his pants off we got bored and went on our way.

Third, there is a pedestrian bridge festival going on here when Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the oldest bridge here, is shut off from the traffic. There is supposedly all sorts of events and program late into the night, but I didn’t expect to see a glassblower at work around 00:15! He did make very good looking glass ornaments though. Oh, and at the Pest side of the river I at last found a nice café called the Festival Café. The name, unfortunately, suggests that the café is there only for the duration of the festival. Luckily the festival takes place on every weekend thoughout July

And fourth. I know being an entrepreneur is a hard job and that as an entrepreneur you can decide yourself when you are going work and such. But seriously, keeping a flower booth open at 01:00 in the night? Come on, we saw just half a dozen of other people walking the whole street! There were no customers at sight and they kept the booth open! Or so I thought. When we got to the booth, indeed there came a couple who stopped to look at the flower bouquets and I understood correctly they did buy something. Maybe if they didn’t have customers they wouldn’t keep the booth open. And since the booth was open apparently they do have customers late at night too…

Go figure. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A Blast from the Past

Now this is something I have been waiting to see for almost 20 years now. Genuine ruins of an ancient civilization. Welcome to Aquincum, capital of Pannonia Inferior, part of the Roman Empire.

Although not quite the fulfilment of what I was hoping to see this still is the best so far. I have seen some medieval ruins but nothing from the ancient times. So this, what we, my wife and I, saw as our first glimpse of the ancient Roman Ruins was pretty exciting. It funnily enough looks like the ruins are at some backyard but I am pretty sure that it is the backyard of a museum. Not much of a ruins of a city but impressive enough.

Further down the road I peeked through a gate and saw more of the ruins. Now this started to look more like something big. I don’t have a clue of what that might have been. It was a big building some 2000 years ago (boy that sounds like a lot!), that much I can tell from the size of what remains. The guide book says that here in the ruins of Aquincum are ruins of villas, workshops and all sorts of public places. Here once lived 40 000 people who came with the roman legions. The legions themselves resided further away from the town of Aquincum.

Even further down the road we found out that there was a lower fence which allowed us to see more of the ruins. Now this does look like something really big. Those two ruins earlier apparently were of smaller buildings. But this one here, this is of something bigger. It seemed to have at least six rooms where as the two earlier had three or four, although they are not completely in the pictures. Not that a building of six or so rooms would have been quite that big, I recon, but who knows how many story high it was. And for being a building in a town six rooms on a ground floor is pretty big if you ask me.

And finally we did see more of the Aquincum that just a ruins of a house or two. Now we were able to see what the town plan had looked like. There was even one lone wall still standing and one Corinthian style column too. This is more like it! I still am waiting to see more of the genuine, real, buildings of ancient times that I do know to be there. I mean Colosseum, Forum Romanum and such in Rome and Parthenon in Athens and so on.

The guide book mentions ruins of a roman spa under some motorway, about a dozen lone columns in the middle of apartment buildings built in the 60s, part of an aqueduct near a supermarket (which I did see from the window of the local train when returning to the hotel)… There is much more to see. The town of Aquincum did spread over a large area and there are ruins here and there in the Óbuda region which is just about built over the roman ruins. When I do go back there to do some exploring be sure to have another photo coverage.