Only admiration – for Battersea Power Station!

Hi folks!

Still in London – we’ve done the nostalgia and we’ve lamented geopolitics, but we refuse to get down. So we go give London yet further inspection!…

First up – Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. And we’re headed waaaaay over there, along the riverbank ->

A somber note…

Alas, the famous red telephone boxes are dying out. This one’s even got… a tree growing inside it! ->

There’s even a branch growing out the top! ->

Secure bicycle parking:

This building always reminds me of the cool British film FAQ About Time Travel (not seen it? Do so!). The house in the movie is smaller, but it still looks like they could be ‘twins’!

We’ve already walked quite far (there’s Big Ben in the distance) ->

And in the other direction – Battersea Power Station comes into view…


Wait. But… How did he get here?! It got me thinking – better to be on the outside on a wall, than on the inside behind bars…

Battersea Power Station. Cult object extraordinaire. What a beaut! ->

However, as my travel companion, OA, pointed out: ‘Such a dominating architectural landmark really deserves plenty of space around it’. Come to think of it – he’s right: the modern office-shopping-residential complex built in recent years next to it is practically flush – it does take something away from the grandiose aesthetic. Still, I’m no city-planner/designer/architect, so what do I know? )

The view along the Thames:

And another look back at Battersea, after the pink lights become more noticable. Hmmm. I wonder why they chose pink? )

Just one thing missing: the pig on the wing ).

The rest of the photos from London are here.

The Thames Path – a segmented analysis.

Traditions come in different shapes and sizes. Some folks, for example, every New Year’s Eve go for a monster banya-session (at least in Russia!). Some folks – particularly adventurous Russians! – spend a month every summer in Kamchatka or Altai or the Kurils or some other similarly awesome part of the world. Other traditions are localized: like my tradition every time I’m in the British capital…

My London tradition is a hike along a section of the Thames Path, which is nearly 300 kilometers long, starts out at the Thames Barrier to the east of central London, and ends in Kemble, Gloucestershire, way out west – almost as far as the sea in the Bristol Channel. I’d completed several stretches of the path before over the years – from its start at the Thames Barrier (in 2016), to Hampton Court earlier this year. The next section would take us to the western edge of the Greater London Built-up Area, or just outside Greater London (confused? Me too:), which is just inside the M25 London Orbital Motorway, specifically – to Staines Bridge in the town of Staines-upon-Thames in the county of Surrey, which would take my total kilometers walked on the Parth to almost 80!

You might be thinking that walking along a path may not be fully… appropriate for one’s localized tradition in one of the foremost cosmopolitan, glamorous, etc. capitals of the world… But you’d be wrong! (IMHO!). For this is… the perfect path! I just like it so much I want to walk it over and over (and I do repeat some stretches, as sometimes I lose my way or it’s too rainy; more in this below). Even the sections I’ve already walked (sometimes twice already!) – I’d relish the chance to be pals’ guide: that’s how much I enjoy it. I mean, it even has its own tag on my blog – an exclusive status for a ‘mere’ path ). But before I get into my walk-report on this latest segment, let me briefly go over previous segments, as a summary review/reminder…

First leg

The Thames Barrier to Cutty Sark. Here’s the detailed walk-report. I highly recommend a read.

The Thames Barrier saves London every time the level of the river gets too high. There’s an information center there too:

Read on…

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Southern Kamchatka: two more king-‘canoes: Kizimen and Kronotsky.

Northern Kamchatka – done!

Time to slither further down the peninsula to its bottom end, where there are just as many outstanding volcanisms as in the north – if not more…

First stop – another spectacularly splendid volcano: Kizimen, situated some 70 kilometers south of Tolbachik. Austere in appearance; climbing it… no thank you, I’d rather not risk it. For example, here she is in March 2013:

Steep sides, and lots of fumaroles at the top where special protective clothing and gas masks would be needed.

Read on…

My very first world expo: in Dubai. Hi-tech and polished, but in the long lines you will fry!

As you’ll probably know, I get myself to all sorts of exhibitions and events. Naturally most have an IT flavor. For example, there’s Hanover’s CeBIT (RIP); Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (where I was in June of this year); Interop in Japan; the industrial Hannover Messe and Innoprom in Ekaterinburg; the Chinese World Internet Conference; assorted regional get-togethers; the exclusive WEF conference-exhibition event in Davos; INTERPOL-World, and even modern art in an exhibition format sometimes.

So, yes – I visit plenty of exhibitions, knowing the ones I frequent inside-out. However, there’s one type of exhibition I didn’t know much about, for I’d never been to one. I’d always heard about them down the years, but never had a taste for myself. I’m talking about world’s fairs, aka world expos. There’s a reeeaaal long tradition of them, starting out in 1791 (!) in Prague, through 1900 in Paris, 2010 in Shanghai, to 2020 2021 in Dubai – where I happen to be writing this from. And yes – you’ve guessed it, now I know what the deal is with these world expos. And if you don’t already know the deal yourself, you will do by the time you reach the end of this post!…

What exactly is a world expo?…

Read on…

Greater Tolbachik: Northern Fissure, Dead Forest, and the ‘Star’ nano-volcano with lava tunnels.

One of the unique natural phenomena of mid-Kamchatka is Severniy Proriv – Northern Fissure – a site where, as a result of a ‘fissure’, or crack, which formed during the 1975-76 big eruption of Tolbachik, three symmetrical cones of volcanic slag were left behind.

Such fissures are a rather rare volcanic phenomenon, but this one was predicted by volcanologists based on their constant observations of seismic activity around these parts in the mid-seventies: in 1975 the frequency of earthquakes around Tolbachik sharply increased – which meant that somewhere nearby there was lava bubbling up nearer and nearer the earth’s surface. So an expedition of volcanologists was dispatched there, who were lucky enough to observe the eruption from the very start. As a result this eruption was very well-documented and on the internet there’s a mass of information about it – admittedly, mostly in Russian. Today, the three cones formed by the Severniy Proriv – now collectively called Severniy Proriv (are you keeping up?:) – are still there, and they’re three mega-beauts:

Read on…

All you wanted to know about Liechtenstein. Well, almost.

Last week, I was in the unusual out-of-the-ordinary European country called Liechtenstein. It’s a tiny nation state – and also a super-successful one. It has a population of just ~40,000, while the working population is… also around 40,000! How that works out is by ~51% of the working population commuting daily from Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Goodness!

Here’s the view from my room. Behind the hotel – the Alps (along the border with Austria); while these mountains in the photo are the Swiss Alps:

Read on…

Some do politics; I prefer the Tolbachiks!

Onward – down the volcanic spine of the Kamchatka peninsula

Next stop volcano – Tolbachik, similarly A-list just like Klyuschevskaya Sopka, Avachinsky (near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky), and Khodutka and Ilynsky in the south. I’ve been all around it, up and down and across it on five occasions, and it’s always one of two things – OMG-beautiful, or an OMG-ruthlessly harsh experience (due to the weather). It’s like… Russian roulette – will you actually see Tolbachik in all its grandiose glory, or will you see… not much besides fog and rain (aka – Kamchatkan mirages), and fairly freeze while you’re at it.

I’ve been to the very top of Tolbachik tree times out of my five visits, but more on that later. For now, some photos of this distinctive, magnificent, monumental volcano:

Read on…