Friday, June 10, 2005

MTB: Tallinna maraton

Abstract: Yet again a marathon I could successfully finish (I had a nasty accident last time). It was great fun but again, it feels kind of snobby to write in English about something so utterly Estonian.

Tallinna Rattamaraton
Rada oli tõesti hästi ette valmistatud ja väga mõistlikult üles ehitatud: tehnilisemad tõusud ja metsavehe vaheldus kenasti maantelõikudega. Selles mõttes oli tegu täieliku vastandiga Mulgi maratonile, kus kruusalõigule on vahele pikitud mõnisada meetrit heinamaad mis läheb uuesti kruusaks üle. Ei saa öelda, et see kuidagi kergem või raskem oleks, aga mulle meeldib nii rohkem.
Espordi foorumis ( küsis keegi rehvide kohta ja sai vastuseks, et Kõrvemaal ei ole kunagi porikummi vaja läinud ja ei lähe seekord ka. Paraku taas kord näide sellest, et seesinane foorum on käest ära, kuna kusagil 20 ja 30 kilomeetri vahel oli _väga_ palju mudaseid kohti ja ka muus osas ei olnud rada just kuivemate killast. Kui ei usu, vaadake pilte (näiteks see). Kokkuvõttes kulusid porikummid täiesti ära, ilma oleks üsna raske olnud.
Nagu öeldud, oli rada väga hea ja konkreetseid nõuandeid ohtlikest või keerulistest kohtadest anda ei olegi. Ainus kindel nõuanne on mitte alustada lõpuspurdiga liiga vara. Viimasel viiel kilomeetril on kuus rämedat tõusu (20, 15, 10, 20, 10, 15 meetrit kõrguste vahet), nendeks on vaja jõudu varuda.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Photo: The Budapest file

This opens something I hope grows into a series of photography-oriented logs of places I happen to go. Hence:

Taking pictures in Budapest, Hungary
This is a wonderful city to take pictures at. I was there on 26th and 27th of May. It was unexpectedly hot, the weather was perfect and that set certain limits to photography. By 8 AM the light was already too harsh and sun too hot for any photography. I have been in Hungary once before in November las year mostly concentrating to the area around the Heroes' square on the Pest side. This time it was Buda and Danube. As the city is situated on steep banks of the river, the best time for photography depends on the precise location. Here some tips:
  • The wonderful Parliament building is the nicest before 6 AM with the sun rising behind it, shortly before sunset around 8PM and after 9PM when the lights come out. The setting sun illuminates the Pest side only briefly as the western bank of Danube is rather steep and covers most of it.
  • The Buda castle (and most of the Castle District) looks very good around 6AM with the rising sun iluminating it. In the evening it gets into shadow fairly quickly.
  • The Fisherman's Bastion silhouettes against the evening sun under some angles and as it's built of white stone sunrise looks spectacular in early light.
Regarding the Fisherman's Bastion, it is the best place to take night shots of the Parliament building and the Pest coast but attention: on warm summer nights it is a popular spot amongst local lovedoves and finding a stable place for your tripod might be tricky. The bastion has a gallery with pillars each of which is decorated in a different way. Lot's of great detail shots to be had!

The Budapest is full of very well preserved or skilfully restored statues of white stone. The most prominent ones are different lions, four of whome watch the Lánchíd bridge and additional ones can be found scattered around the Castle District and lower riverbank on the Buda side.

One thing to keep your eyes open for are the dogs. Hungarians are fond of them and picturesque master-pet couples are commonplace. This means, however, that you are certain to step into dogpoop if you go strolling in the dark.

When going out to the Castle District early in the morning from the Pest side remember, that the historic elevator (looks nice and offers a spectacular view, btw) may not be open yet. The best alternative is a small rather well-hiden stairway across the street from the elevator entrance. It's quite a climb but the much longer route around the south end of the Castle is not easier (although it takes you by some beautiful lion statues)

Be certain to take a look at the Vajdahunyad Castle: it is not big, it is not that spectacular and it's a mock but is full of wonderful detail, especially in the autumn.

Some links: