Uncle Henry´s Universe.

Uncle Henry´s Universe.

About the blog

I have no heavy training... Barely Elementary School. Preferred the wilderness, it became my university, but I got muddy boots and experience instead of School knowledge so my English was therefore quite inadequate. This blog is a project to improve my skills in English language.

We all have our own universe, welcome to visit mine.

Malvarina

TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Tue, December 13, 2016 22:07:55

We spent a week in October at Malvarina Agriturismo, an organic farm that also has cozy accommodation and a fantastic restaurant. The farm is run by a family and a few employees; it is really genuine and breathes calm and peace. (No TV in the room!) It is a wonderful oasis on the slopes of Monte Subasio, where a brisk walk through olive groves takes you up to the Mt Subasio national park and a wonderful panoramic view over Umbria.

The kitchen offers genuine old-fashioned Italian diet, completely built on their own organic products, adapted to the seasons and availability. Their prosciutto crudo is heavenly, mouth watering just thinking about it! And their freshly pressed olive oil, early pressing, emerald green and smooth as velvet! An experience which should be on everyone's bucket list.

Dinner is served at 20.00, then you eat and socialize, drink good local wine (the best was the one who actually had no name), dish follows dish, one tastier than the other. The meal lasts until towards midnight, when you rounded off with a cappuccino and a little grappa. After a week of partying on the Mediterranean diet, I have lost more than 1 kg! (Try to do so at a hamburger menu!)

During the week there were only two things that did not taste me, and it was not due to the kitchen, it was because of me. I hate liver! It did not help that it was cooked in a pear; it just tasted even more liver.

And then the thing with the snails. I love French snails in garlic but the herbs in the Italian did not suit me. Or size, fully grown specimens, giant monsters who must be forced out of the shells. As large recalcitrant arionidae, who must be cut into slices to be swallowed. But this is like saying a parenthesis; Malvarina is fantastic and well worth a visit. Try it!







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Mary-Ann´s Polarrigg.

TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Mon, July 04, 2016 21:19:50

We have stayed at many peculiar places around the world, Mary-Ann's Polarrigg in Longyearbyen, is definitely one of them. Old miners' barracks assembled into a small hotel, with mining tools, coal and driftwood lying in the corners and images of half-naked ladies on room doors. And with a polar bear in the corridor which reminds you of the importance of being able to defend yourself in the Arctic.

Polar bears rarely freeze ass off, neither this one. It has its rear end in a wonderful conservatory, also the dining room, where you can have breakfast with the whole nature panorama outside the window. (Maybe you will see a drooling arctic fox, a glowering Svalbard reindeer or any other exciting thing ...)

If you suddenly need a beer (Longyearbyen has the world's northernmost brewery) or any other strengthening, the pub has open until 02:00. It's just tiptoe away in stocking feet (No shoes indoors in this village!) sneak through the kitchen, say hello to the chef if he is there, pass slugger bear and swish you're there.

The beer is very good! The place is quite charming and the style really relaxed! Go there, be cool.





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Svalbard

TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Sun, June 26, 2016 18:16:01

The chance or risk, depending on how you see it, to encounter a polar bear near Longyearbyen this time of year is probably as good as non-existent. But only almost! They have four legs and like to hike, so you can never be absolutely sure, suddenly stand exception there breathing down your neck. Therefore it is best to stay within the safe range, at least without armament.

This year we wanted to do something extra on the summer solstice, it became kayaking in the Arctic. Only a small day trip, but still, pretty awesome! Advent fjord in Longyearbyen is located at 78.13 degrees north, so it's a bit of traveling but it was really worth it!

The landscape is wild and enchanting beautiful. Northern Fulmars glide past on stiff wings, only a few meters away from the kayak, eider and long-tailed ducks resting in the coves and snow buntings sing intensive from the beach. A quite long and enjoyable observation of an adult ivory gull, round off the day.

The beaches are full of driftwood from Siberia, a lot of plastic waste from the world's oceans, aircraft remnants from the war and rusty relics from abandoned coal mines. Nothing to come before 1946 may be moved or removed, it counts as cultural heritage.

A fantastic day trip with MS Langöysund gave, among other things, steep bird cliffs, bearded seal, a large family of Beluga whale and not the least; a loud popping ancient piece of glacier ice in the whiskey!

The endemic Svalbard reindeer, a separate subspecies of reindeer that overwintered the last ice age in the islands, is a charming and quite fearless little chubby thing that you suddenly can meet on the street, when you go to shop in the village.

The local supermarket provides gun cabinets directly inside the front door; they do not want anyone carrying weapons in the store, civilized in any way ;-)




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La Grotte de Villars

TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Wed, June 01, 2016 14:05:36

When the guide locks the massive steel door behind me, I feel the claustrophobia creeping like an iron band around the chest. It ceases, however, immediately when she knowledgeable and committed invites us in an amazingly beautiful world with stalagmites and stalactites from floor to ceiling. 13 km caverns and halls in different levels and only one who has the key to the doors – I know who I will hold in, if the light suddenly goes out!

We got during our drive through southwest France the opportunity to visit the Grotte de Villars, something that can really be recommended. It is an amazing and unforgettable experience. There is forbidden to photograph, therefore I borrow here some of the resort's image and hope for forgiveness, given how they are used.

There are more known caves, such as Lascaux, where the paintings are of a totally awesome and unique quality. But if you are content with simpler paintings, so is the Grotte de Villars a good option. Plus, you get to see the originals, at Lascaux, you make do with copies. Because of e.g. fungal infestation are caverns with paintings closed; only a few researchers are permitted to visit them. The visitors are now referred to the caves with cave painting replicas.

Claw marks after cave bears that once scratched out a sleeping place from the soft clay.

Cro-Magnon man painted with manganese oxide mixed with animal fat. Paintings, that still remains 19,000 years later. With time, however, they will disappear because the calcium deposits slowly covering them. In the Grotte de Villars is the famous "man - bison" picture, one of the very rare pictures where man depicted in pre historic art. (One of two sites in France) I have no good picture of it so it got to be a small horse instead.

There are no photos available in the souvenir shop, which nearly describes the experience that rests in my mind after our walk in the cave system. It must be experienced. Both my wife and I agree the visit to the cave to one of our absolute greatest experiences so far in life.





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Nordic light

TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Sun, January 10, 2016 16:20:07

We were hungry for a little beach holiday now in the dark winter time, so we went to Iceland, where it was even darker ... Hmm, but the bath was nice and warm. Blue Lagoon is world famous for its hot water directly from the hot springs out of the ground. It was blowing ice-needles, the water stung the skin and smelled a bit like rotten eggs, but it was certainly an experience to savor.

It is said that, what you lose in the blue lagoon, is lost forever. It is not always true. You can retrieve an iPhone, but it requires endless hard work, desperately swimming and advanced diving techniques to succeed. And yes, expensive waterproof shell is waterproof, even when they have been chewed on by lava sand.

We were in Iceland just under a week and would like to travel light, no suitcases and minimal hand luggage. No advanced photo and video equipment, just an iPhone and a tiny action camera. It stung!

With just under four hours of daylight it was hard to get any sensible picture with so faint equipment. The fact that it blew almost storm did not make things easier. But it was infinitely beautiful and well worth experiencing. The blue light just before dusk was the most amazing, magical light I've ever experienced! (The above picture was taken at dawn, 11:03 am, and provides only a small taste of the blue light)

Reykjavik is a great place; it has everything one could ask of a city. Wilderness completely doorstep, where Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull and Purple Sandpipers huddle in the old harbor, there are outdoor shops in abundance, and not the least; An abundance of great cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants! (And they have very good beer!)

Perhaps it should also be mentioned that there are several universities, lots of museums, galleries and other cultural buildings. And that there are an unusual number of sculptures, you can reflect on.

Go there! It is worth it!





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Do not move Dzok !

TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Thu, December 19, 2013 11:15:12

Now have local politicians in Kraków got the idea to move the monument of Dzok in favor of yet another monument to World War II, but the resistance is massive, most people thinks that it´s better to place war monument closer castle Wawel and let Dzok continue to wait for his master .

The dog Dzok became famous in the early 1990s when his master got a stroke in his car on the busy Grunwald Roundabout (B- 7) and was taken away in an ambulance. The man later died but the dog was still there and waited faithfully for a whole year to his return (1990-1991). Eventually, Dzok accepted to live with an elderly woman, who daily has provided him with food. When she died 1998 he was sent to a home for dogs, from where he escaped after two days in captivity but he got killed the same night, run over by a train.

Many city dwellers who daily seen the dog wait at the roundabout were emotionally involved by his fate. 2001 erected a statue of the faithful dog Dzok, at Petite Fleur Czerwinski, next to the River wisla and Wavelhill . It is created by the sculptor Bronisław Chromy (who also created the Wawel Dragon). Since then, the monument has become a popular tourist attraction. A collection box in the sculpture’s plinth provides assistance to other abandoned pets.







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Fabolus Krakòw!

TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Wed, December 04, 2013 17:14:45

Have spent some lovely days in Krakòw and I must admit, it took at once a place in my heart. What a city! Stare Miasto, "the old city" had roots in the 1200s and was full of stunning architecture and quaint alleyways.

Brama Floriańska is the only city gate, of the original eight built in the Middle Ages, that was not dismantled during the 19th-century "modernization" of Kraków.

There are plenty of cosy cafes and restaurants where you can warm yourself for a moment from the biting December wind.


Exciting facades in the Jewish quarter, Kazimierz!

On Market Square, Rynek Glowny, one of Europe's largest squares, stands a statue of a head symbolizing headless love. A natural place for tourist photographer!


Bye for now!


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Caribbean expectations.

TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Sun, October 20, 2013 19:30:28

As the cold and darkness increases, dreams begin to germinate about upcoming vacations. Nothing is decided yet for this winter; maybe we stay at home and edit all the old sins. Or it will be like before; that I happen to slip on the keyboard and woops ... a new journey is suddenly ordered!



Last time we ended up in Cuba. Absolutely amazing and totally unforgettable!



Chilled at the computer for a while today, but did not get as much done. There is some video footage from Cuba but nothing that has been edited yet. Eventually I managed to cut a minute from a domestic flight to Cayo Largo, I think it breathe expectation...



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Gambian Sun Squirrel

TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Thu, April 12, 2012 13:34:53

Gambian Sun Squirrel, Heliosciurus gambianus.

The Gambia = Superb bird life and a nice little squirrel. Long walk at dawn, the first day. The wife and I, and a bag with the digital camera and a leaky water bottle... We have no pictures from The Gambia!

From our balcony we got acquainted with a large tree and all those who ate of the fruits there. The sun squirrel was one of them. A nice buddy that we captured with the camcorder.

The Gambia 2009.

If the video don´t work. Try this link. http://vimeo.com/40146448

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Malabar Giant Squirrel

TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Thu, April 12, 2012 13:28:30

Malabar Giant Squirrel (Indian Giant Squirrel), Ratufa indica.

The squirrels monster! A meter-long (including tail) and with a weight of two kilograms. An unforgettable meeting in a magical place. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkadi, Western Ghats. With a male of Asian paradise flycatcher playing beside us, rustling leaves after elusive reptiles, exciting jungle and the native guide´s stories about encounters with tigers, on the same path as where we stand!

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