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War Cemetary

January 2013, I am driving back from a meeting in Paris. I am not in a hurry, so I leave the péage and take the smaller roads. RN17, small village after small village, and then all of a sudden a war cemetary with a Dutch flag near Orry-la-Ville. Just over one hundred graves. Most of these boys died in Dunkirk in 1940. I walk around for a few minutes, take some pictures.

Teufelsberg

This is the former NSA listening post on top of the Teufelsberg in West-Berlin. The Teufelsberg is not a natural hill, it is man-made, from the rubble of Berlin after the second world war. The hill made a good place to build a listening post for monitoring communications in East-Germany. After the Berlin Wall fell the listening post was decommissioned, but the buildings remain. The exterior of the building is just canvas clothing.

Skating on water

This is on the Oostvaardersplassen in The Netherlands, 4th January 2009. We had had some good ice that winter, and although the thaw had started on Thursday we still tried to skate a little more on Sunday. But skating on ice with just one millimeter water is nerve wrecking, and cold. You never know if there is a hole ahead. OK, you know there is no hole, at least yesterday there was no hole, so.

Wreck

The highway from Kiev to Warschau. This is how the government warns for speeding: they put the wrecks on display. Not that it helps much, drivers here and also in Poland think they cannot die in their cars. But they do. On my last trip I spent five days in Poland and the Ukraine, and saw two serious accidents, involving three cars (all total loss), with at least two people lying injured on the asphalt, and one dead.

Mig

It is a normal house next to a road in Poland. The house is still under construction, and there is a Mig in the front yard. The owner of the house is very friendly and shows me around his Mig. We climb on top, he opens the cockpit, offers me to take a seat. He explains about the 480 litre external fuel tanks, the tires are still pressurized and yes the missiles are gone.

Polish roads

Driving through Poland is a dangerous experience. Some people say that Portugal is even more dangerous, but I’m not so sure, no matter what the statistics say. And even if Portugal is worse, at least you get to die in a sunny environment, a friendly atmosphere between warm hills and olive orchards. Not so in Poland. If you have an accident here it will be raining, snowing, freezing, and dark, with big trucks everywhere.

Mirror

You’re fourteen, and about to go downtown. Just fix the mascara, and you’re ready to leave in five minutes twenty minutes one hour. Maybe. Maybe not.