A Postcard from Dublin

Which is one of the most famous postcards one can receive from Dublin or Ireland? Exactly: the colorful doors.

So no wonder when I was lately in Dublin I had a look at these different styles and colored doors.

Luckily I was with a friend who told me a story why the doors are always looking so different.

Not different to today Irish men also centuries ago liked to go to the pub in the evening and having a pint of Guinness, and second, a third… until the bell rings at 11 pm and the last order has to be done. So very often the men came home a little less controlled and lightly confused sometimes which door is the right for the home, all looking grey in the night. And it was not uncommon that they took the wrong door and finished in the bed of someone else’s wife. Of course the ‘right’ husband was not amused like the wives themselves.
But now we know a woman finds always the way to re-direct her man in the right place and the wives colored their doors all in another color. So no excuse anymore for the husband to find the right door. If the man lives in the house with the purple door then he has to come back to the house with the purple door. And not the green one.

Of course there is another story. In the 17th century the Georgian Dublin houses and of course doors looked all the same. Beautiful entrances but not really distinguishable from each other. So Dubliners wanted to give them a more individual look and started to decorate and paint them after their own personal gusto. Bright colors, decorative knockers and a nice lantern.. and suddenly the doors looked all different like the house owners were.

I like the first story better than the second. But both are nice and a good explanation for these colorful doors.

Dublin, Co. Leinster/Ireland:

For further information:
Dublin Webside

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Sleeping on the Beach in Travemünde

I love to do things I have never done before. One of these is to sleep on the beach. Oh, well, young people sometimes do this. But the older age like me lacks of situations to do so.

In spring a friend of mine sent me a link for a sleeper beach basket – with other words: to sleep in a beach basket on the beach in Travemünde. I thought this is a wonderful idea to surprise my sweetheart when we come over. Shortly after I had booked a night for us.

The beach basket is something typical for German beaches. They were invented 135 years ago and since then they are a kind of symbol for Germany’s beaches, Baltic Sea and North Sea. In 2016 they re-invented the beach basket, this time in sleeping version.

Until I really saw it I couldn’t really imagine how it would be and hoped it would be comfortable enough. Actually it looks like a beach basket tipped over on its back. It’s large 1.30 m and long 2.40, more than a bed and with its mattress and bed cover and pillows it looks super cozy. There is a possibility to close all with a light top that has a ‘window’ to look out. At each sleeper’s side there is another porthole window.

The sleeper beach basket stands together with all the other hundreds of baskets.

The cost is like a hotel room and various from 30 to 70 €. There is the possibility to book also a light breakfast or evening snack. You book online or in person at the beach but you pay always cash on the beach.

Bathroom? Well, showers and toilets are always nearby and you get also some towels.

I had a short talk with the owner of the beach baskets two days before the booked night to be sure what to do. She gave us a time until when we should arrive, she would wait though. That evening, with my sweetheart a little skeptical, we arrived in time. Mrs. Seipel gave us all information plus a bag with some brochures and a key for the toilet. We closed the beach basket and went off for dinner. Later we came back and started our adventurous night under the stars.

I enjoyed it much more than my sweetie unfortunately. I loved to wake up early in the morning with the sunrise coming over the sea, the seagulls screaming and the cool air outside.

Inside the sleeper box it was warm and cozy. We had just a shirt on and it was perfect, though outside the temperature was low (around 10°C/50°F). The only thing that could disturb is the usual morning cleaning on the beach. Heavy, noisy machinery that takes away the seaweed. 

If someone would ask me I always would recommend a night or even more. It’s something new, an experience, a great idea to do something different. They told me that it is even very romantic when it’s raining. It is completely closed and you hear the rain on the ‘roof’. I would like to try that as well…

Travemünde, Schleswig-Holstein/Germany:

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For further information:
Sleeper beach basket in Travemünde
Other places where to sleep in a beach basket at the Baltic Sea (in German and Danish)

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La Villa of the Papyri of Herculaneum at Los Angeles

Last year when I was in Los Angeles I visited the famous Getty Villa. I have heart about it before but I didn’t know where it is and what kind of museum it cold be. Now I know and I am happy I happened to be there.

The Getty Villa Museum is located at the Pacific Coast Highway at Pacific Palisades, which is north-west to Los Angeles city. It is a museum with more than 40.000 Etruscan, Greek and Roman antiquities, dated from 6.500 BC to 400 AD. Of which many came on dubious ways. They have half a million visitors during the year.

Getty was an oil tycoon who had a villa in this place. He liked to collect ancient art and soon his house was ready to be a museum. He opened it to the public in 1954. But as he continued to collect wherever he could get something he soon had not enough space and built another museum, a little further down to his villa, but still on his ground.

The villa – as a lover of ancient European cultures – he wanted in the very same way as an ancient Greek or Roman villa. And he decided to built his new museum like the famous Villa dei Papiri of Herculaneum.

The Villa of the Papyri is an old Roman villa in Herculaneum which in the eruption of the Vesuvius in 79 AD was completely covered by lava and ashes, up to 30 meters high.

During excavations they discovered the building and called Villa dei Papiri because they found a library with more than 1.800 papyri rolls. It is thought that the villa might be owned by Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, Caesar’s father-in-law. Most of the art discovered you can see today in the National Museum of Naples. And some in Los Angeles.

Getty built his museum on the old plans of the original villa in Herculaneum.

The original villa was first discovered in 1750 when a Swiss architect and engineer was in charge for the first excavations in this area under the patronage of Charles III of Naples. Getty’s villa was opened more than 200 years later, in 1974. His owner never saw the final result. His heritage was more than 600 million Dollar, going in the Getty Trust and used for renovation, adding and more.

Tickets must been taken on Internet or on the phone as far as I know. It’s a parking ticket, the entrance is free. I remember we came from Santa Barbara and the entrance was a little tricky as we had to drive first direction Los Angeles and then turn back to get the entrance.

They have a huge parking ground.

The entrance is not really that amazing, much too much concrete for my taste, too modern. That’s why I was so surprised when I actually came into the museum’s area. So different.

To visit the villa please calculate hours. We thought to have an hour visit, after 4 hours we were still wandering around. The offer a beautiful video in the excavations of the original villa in Italy, a must see!

The museum is arranged by themes, which makes it easier to see all. Don’t forget to always look at the ceilings, they are sooo beautifully painted. The light and the colors are amazing!

Nearly always you pass through a garden with water plays, fountains, ancient statues and a lot of green. As I was there in summer the bigger ponds had no water but were shimmering in a light blue paint.

There is a little shop for souvenirs. I got a pair of blue glasses here, couldn’t resist, too beautiful.

Following there are some more photos. I took so many photos that is was more than difficult to select just the bests. I enjoyed to jump back in time and even return on ‘my’ continent’. It felt all so home. I am from the Naples area in Italy and I know also Herculaneum. As a tourist guide of course I knew all these places, about the history there. I didn’t feel at all that the hours were running and running.

Be sure that between the different rooms and sections you always stay a while outside in the sun on a bench in one of the mane patios they have. You need that to let sink all the beauty you saw and get ready for more.

I loved the wall paintings in the main courtyard. They look so amazingly real, you nearly can touch the columns’ roundness… even though they are painted.

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Getty Villa, Los Angeles, California/USA:

For further information:
The Getty Villa
The lost library of Herculaneum

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A Walk on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood

Hollywood – I was there already. Once, many years ago. But it was then a very small village with a few houses. And now it seems to be and endless city where you don’t know where Hollywood begins and where it ends.

Well the first was in County Wicklow in Ireland where is a small village with the very same name. The second is the one in Los Angeles in the United States.

Of course I wanted to see Hollywood, walk on the Walk of Fame and see Sunset Boulevard at sunset when I was visiting friends in San Diego. So the occasion arrived when we were heading to Santa Barbara. And on the way we stopped for a night in this super busy city that seems never to sleep.

So we booked in a little hotel. One of these where you drive with your car in front of the room door. Two squeaky beds and a small bathroom, but all clean and not noisy in the night at all. Which surprised me a little as it is right in the middle of a super busy, central area.

Hollywood was founded by real estate developer H. J. Whitley and named Hollywood in 1886. He quickly found a lot of investors as he was known to have developed already more than 100 other cities through the United States.

Los Angeles, a major city already, was only 16 km/10 miles away. Only one years after a real estate boom started. Only 15 years later it was functioning like an own town with even a newspaper. Already in the beginning of last century the place was very known and appreciated by famous rich people.

In the early 1900 filmmakers moved to Los Angeles, nearly always good weather and a lot of different filming locations made Los Angeles a perfect venue. In 1911 the first studio was established, the Nestor Company. The now well known Paramount, Warner Bros., Colombia and RKO had studios here as well since the early 1920s. Hollywood soon was nicknamed Tinseltown..

Today Hollywood is known nearly ONLY for the film studios, VIPs living here, the Sunset Boulevard and the walk of fame. Not to forget the famous Oscar night!

Hollywood – we saw it first from a hill and then emerged in the city. The hill was Griffith Park and the place of course the Griffith Observatory. A very touristic place I must say but not less beautiful and especially a perfect location for a great overview on Lon Angeles, Downtown, Hollywood and until the ocean.

We haven’t been inside the observatory but I guess it is very interesting as well and should be considered when going there.

Yes, I walked the Sunset Boulevard. A super busy street with a lot of shops and restaurants. The walk of fame is nice to see, it didn’t blew me out of my socks. But I thought it very funny that the first star I saw was the one of Angela Lansbury. She was with me on the same flight from Dublin to L.A. before.

We spent nearly half of the next day at the Paramount studios which was really great. The other half of the day we were driving through the wonderful gardens and villas of who-knows-whom. I loved the shady streets lined by tall palm trees and framed with lush front yards. Some had stunning views on Downtown, the ocean or just the mountains.

I liked my stay in Hollywood. Especially we could fit in the film studios and also the Getty Villa. I never took a photo of the famous Hollywood sign as I don’t like to take pictures of something everyone wants. Like I never thought to take a photo with Angela Lansbury. I was just excited to talk to her as I always liked her in “Murder she wrote..”

Hollywood, Los Angeles, California/USA:

For further information:
News from Hollywood

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Behind the Scene – at the Paramount Pictures

Who doesn’t love to go to the movies? It’s always something else when you see a movie actually on a wide, huge screen instead of the the televisions at home. Even though they are today cinema-like, the home cinemas. But nothing gives the same feeling, excitement you get at an evening out with friends or your partner and going to a movie theater, or to the pictures.

I am big fan of the big screen and love to go. Sometimes I really miss it. So no wonder I was super excited to go and have a guided tour at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film studio. One of the oldest in Hollywood and the fifth oldest in the world. The 22 stars in the Paramount logo are a symbol of the 22 actors and actresses founder Arthur Zukor contracted and honored in 1916. Since 2014 is the major Hollywood studio to contribute all its films in digital form only.

In the 1930s there were under contract actors and actresses like Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert, Bing Crosby and Gary Cooper.

Interesting that until the 1940s they pre-sold movies, even though they weren’t in the make. That way they got money ahead for the filming. Anyway, since 1040 this was legally not aloud and instead of over 70 movies a year they went under 20. Which is still a big number I think.

Tough times in the 60s and 70s of last century but movies like ‘The Godfather’, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, ‘Love Story’ or ‘3 Days of the Condor’ helped to come out of the miserable situation. Who doesn’t remember these movies…

These were also the years Paramount Television was reincorporated.

There are so many movies by Paramount Pictures. American Gigolo, An Officer and a Gentleman, Footloose, Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee, Ghost, Indiana Jones, Eddy Murphy movies and many more.

In 1983 there was a big fire at the Paramount ground which destroyed a few sound stages and outdoor sets.

In 2005 the Paramount Motion Pictures Group bought DreamWorks, also well known.

Studio tours are offered daily here. They are pretty expensive honestly but more than worth. The tours are never the same as they can’t disturb working sets. Unfortunately on my tour I have not seen even one celebrity. But we were only 6 people and the guide was one of the best I ever had. He way to explain and tell stories came from his heart even though he was very young.

I loved to see all those black and white photos of ‘old’ actors, my favorite Audrey Hepburn amongst them. We visited some film sets, our guide nominating movies made exactly here and there.

I loved the parking place of the film studios. Why? Because it has a background wall. Painted. Like a sky. And: the parking place it lightly deeper that the surroundings with a meter of wall around. OK, what is so interesting in this? It can be completely flooded (there is a water tower nearby) and this way it becomes and ocean. Which was used for example for the filming of the movie ‘Life of Pi’ (I saw the movie, never read the book).

In the waiting room is a kind of little museum. We saw old costumes of historical movies and and old filming camera. Impressive is the mask of ‘Benjamin Button’. It looks like a death mask of an old Brad Pitt.

The entrance of the studio is beautiful and old style.

We drove through a lot of streets with warehouse liked buildings which actually are different sets. In many we could read was was filmed right now. Some were closed, others were empty and we could enter.

Outside a few trailers where actors and actresses could have some privacy.

I loved also the props storehouse. There were props used for famous movies. I recognized the cabin of Star trek where they could beam people from one place to another (I was tempted to try out but I was in perfect company I didn’t want to leave).

The whole tour is a coupe of hours long and ends with a stop at the cafeteria for a snack, a coffee or some souvenirs. Against all my normal behavior I bought a great t-Shirt.

I enjoyed the tour and would always recommend to take one. Even though it is expensive and it needs a reservation ahead.

I was amazed how movies where made once, how they are done today. I think from mutual, simple, short movies to digital, sophisticated movies of today in just 100 years is a wonderful step. I can’t say which one I like more, maybe the simpler once, but I enjoy sometimes also the newest, computer made once.

The tricks they use to create a dramatic sky, to let it rain or to reconstruct whole streets of the 50s is really amazing.

By the way: the highest-grossing movies are at first place Titanic, the Transformers series (never seen), Forrest Gump (we set of the bench where Forest sat), Shrek (never seen) and others.

Paramount Pictures, Los Angeles, California/USA:

For further information:
Paramount Pictures Tours
To contact the Paramount Pictures Studios

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