Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Saturday, 2 January 2010

I've never been a great one for celebrating New Year's Eve, and even less on a cold and slushy evening after a day at one of the most miserable places in human history. There was a stage show on the main square, apparently, but a pop concert doesn't appeal at the best of times. So after catching some photos of the more striking Christmas lights and decorations, it was an early night in for me, and Sasha the cat (who comes with the flat). I watched some TV, but the English language world news channels don't hold the attention for long, and the main Polish TV channels have a strange habit of not just dubbing foreign programmes, but overlaying the dubbing on top of the original soundtrack, parts of which remain just audible in the background. Maybe it makes for subconscious language practice, but I found it damned annoying.

The obligatory fireworks took up quite a bit of the night - not much to see in view of the general murk, but plenty to hear, not just a half hour fusillade at midnight, but occasional resurgences throughout (and occasionally the next day, too). Sasha the cat (who comes with the flat) hid under the bed - no more to be said (I'd better stop before I start imagining that Sasha the cat has a big hat, etc., etc.).

Apart from the fireworks, it was also possible to hear that rain was clearing the snow a bit, which meant that New Year's Day was misty. It was also very, very quiet. Not much was open, so I waited to watch the Vienna New Year's Day concert on TV before a brisk walk around the Wawel hill and its cathedral (the decorative rain-spouts making their function very clear).

On my way back to the tram, I discovered that the Mariacka church was open to visitors, and stopped to - well, sorry, gawp at the profusion of gilding and the detail of the mediaeval altarpiece:

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