As soon as we crossed the border, the landscape seemed to change. So did the look of the buildings. Most had planted flower boxes and the properties were neat and well maintained. We arrived in
This city of about 300,000 is surprisingly beautiful, with an obvious ‘creative edge’. Many of the buildings are very elaborate, having been designed in the Baroque style. There is a great deal of art both on and around the buildings, and very interesting bridge designs. One still has a wooden hoist that was used to ‘dip’ the baker into the river if he shortchanged his customers. The city celebrates its architecture with museums and special displays. There’s even a bronze model of the old city located in one of the squares. There are activated crosswalks (something we haven’t seen for a long time); and bicycle paths along most streets. It’s interesting to see how they have been designed. In some situations, there is a marked lane along the road. But in most others, a portion of the sidewalk has been converted into a one way bike lane with paint and markers. It seems to work very well and might be a good idea for
It is a clean city, with men in white shirts and bow ties going around picking up litter, to highlight the focus on cleanliness. However, like so many European cities, many of the buildings and public walls are covered in graffiti. It’s tragic, and I really think something significant needs to be done to stop this from continuing.
At the downtown tourist centre we purchased cruise tickets and were offered an apartment in the old town at a price much lower than what we expected to pay. While we were a bit apprehensive about its quality, we shouldn’t have been. It was in a modern building with a standard of finishes higher than Bayshore! There was a large sliding door to a balcony that also functioned as a casement window. (We should use these better quality European windows and doors in our buildings.) It had a large screen TV with numerous English language channels. (Sometimes it is nice to get caught up with what is happening, although this time I unfortunately caught George Bush’s rambling speech to a
One of our tasks in
Most of our time in
The next day, we decided not to go golfing since for only the fourth time since New Year’s Day, it started to rain. (We understand it has rained almost incessantly in
The cost of the ticket for the 8 hour train trip is less than last night’s theatre ticket, since