Thursday, September 22, 2011

Move Along, Move Along

I am 35 years old. In those 35 years I have lived in 3 of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom as well as Germany, the Czech Republic, the United States and, briefly, Belarus. In my 10 years living in the Czech Republic, I lived in a small town called Mlada Boleslav as well as Prague, in total though I lived at 8 addresses in 10 years. I have spent my life moving around, and can happily say that I enjoy it. My little brother, only 1 year my junior, took a different path to adult life, settling down in the Highlands and pretty much staying put, though even he has moved house within the same town a few times.

I often think that Mrs Velkyal has had a calming influence on me, I can watch football without apoplexy these days for a start. In the 6 years we have been together I have only lived at 3 addresses, and 2 of those cover 5.5 years. Even so, I find it nearly impossible to not think about the other places in the world which pique my interest. Perhaps growing up in the British Army gives you a taste for going somewhere new, a taste for always being an expat. I get the sense at times that if we were to move to the UK, I would probably feel like an expat even there, after all I left just after I graduated and haven't spent an extended period of time in my own country since.

I keep a mental list of places that I would love to live in, just in case my numbers come up on the lottery and I am suddenly flush with cash. Near the top of that list would be a return to Germany, mainly to put my Germanophilia into full swing, I love the German language (no I don't think it is "too brutal for singing"), German efficiency, German food and German beer, I like Germans and find their sense of humour funny, yes they have one. If we were to move to Germany there are a couple of places I would most like to live in, Berlin and Celle.

Mrs V and I went to Berlin a couple of years back and absolutely loved it, had Obama failed to win the election in 2008 there was a very good chance that we would have moved there rather than here. Celle is a smallish town near Hannover, and the place we lived in as children, it is also etched in my memory as one of the most beautiful towns in Europe. My attraction there is simple, I would love to experience the town as an adult, it is also entirely possible from research my great uncle Bill did, that my father's family originally came from that neck of the woods.

One thing is for certain, I don't feel as though I am done with travelling and seeing places new and intriguing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Recovered Memories

I enjoy taking photos, indeed at my parents' place in France there are boxes of photos I took in the dim and distant past before I got a digital camera. It is only in the last few months that I have been able to retrieve a lot of my photos because they were on the hard drive of my old laptop that died.

Normally this wouldn't have been a major issue, but the laptop in question had Windows XP in Czech rather than English. While my Czech is OK, dealing with technical language is a completely different ball game. So once I had my wireless router set up I set about re-installing Windows and getting all the files on to an external hard drive. With that process done, I have slowly been sorting and organising all the various bits and pieces that I managed to recover. So I thought I would post a few of my favourite pictures which have never before seen the light of this blog.

When we lived in Prague, I would walk home from work quite often and crossing the Nusle bridge was part of the walk. The bridge has high sided fences as it is a popular place to commit suicide. There is no river under the bridge, just a cobbled street and houses, I can't imagine how it must feel to live there and have people leaping to their deaths on the street outside.

Just round the corner from our flat was this tower and church, and we would walk by them several times a day.

I have always loved railway stations, the potential of all those places to visit. This one is the oldest railway station in Prague, Masarykovo nádraží and was literally opposite the building we lived in.

The other station we lived close to was Prague's main station, Hlavní Nádraží, from where we would get the train to České Budějovice and then on to our favourite getaway town for a weekend, Český Krumlov. This picture was taken from the window of the penzion we always stayed in.

In the final months we lived in Prague, Mrs Velkyal and I made a point of going to the various places in the city we had either loved or neglected to go to. One such place was the Estates Theatre, where Mozart received great acclaim for Don Giovanni, and I took this picture of the seats.