Doors

I grew up mostly in Perth, Western Australia.  It’s a small city and quite modern.  There aren’t many old buildings left anymore.  It was fashionable in the past to tear down the old to make way for the new.  So the architecture there is mostly very modern.

Because of that, I didn’t really notice doors while I was growing up.  Doors were just doors, mostly quite new or modern. There’s nothing special or unusual about doors in Perth.

Of course there were doors all around me every day.  There were front doors, back doors, bedroom doors, toilet doors, classroom doors, library doors, shop doors, shed doors, fridge doors, cupboard doors, garage doors, etc.  I could list a lot more but I think it’s clear that there are many doors in our day to day life.

Do you ever think about doors?

Probably only when you have a problem with them, or have to replace them.  Sometimes a door sticks and you have to pull it hard to open it.  Or maybe you have a door that doesn’t close easily for some reason.

I never used to think about doors at all.

And then back in 2002 I went to Paris.  What an eye opener!

Paris is beautiful!  There are many beautiful buildings, bridges, streets, statues, parks…and doors!

It was the first time that I realised that doors could be beautiful or unusual, or even just strange.

The first photo I ever took of a door was in Paris.  I was quite timid back then and I was afraid that someone would come out of the door and not be happy to find a tourist taking a photo of their door.  So I took the photo and walked away quickly.

The doors were wooden, huge, and old.  Just beautiful!

paris doors
My first door photo – Paris doors

Now, looking back, they’re not the most beautiful doors I’ve ever seen, but they made me realise that I should look a little more closely to the doors around me.  They can be worth taking notice of.

I haven’t always had my camera with me when I’ve seen a beautiful door, but I do have a lovely collection of door photos that I’d like to share. I have more, but I’ve chosen my favourites for you.

There’s not much I can say about each door – there’s not much to say about any door really.  So I’ll just tell you what I can about each door, and hopefully you’ll be able to see exactly why it attracted my eye.

Enjoy!

Romania

First here are some doors I came across in Bucharest, Romania. It was such a pleasure walking around the city, especially after being locked down there for two months not being able to discover the beauty of this wonderful city.

When we were finally ‘allowed out’ we took to the streets.

This is one of the most beautiful doors I’ve ever seen. Maybe one of my Romanian friends can let me know what this building is, although I think it’s something to do with fishing and wildlife.

beautiful green door
Isn’t it beautiful?!

Here’s a door which has a little slot next to it for the post. Cute.

post door
A red door

I’m not a big fan of graffiti, but I like how the graffiti fits in with the design of this door.

graffiti door
A very interesting design

This photo was more for the effect of the doors in the foreground and background working together. They were in a small auction house/gallery.

lux door
Gallery doors

I really loved this little blue door. There are quite a lot of run down and abandoned buildings in Bucharest, especially near and in the Old Town. This was one that captured my eye.

blue door
A blue door

Sometimes just a plain, simple door can be worthy of a photo – like this one.

white door
A white door

It was so much fun wandering around Bucharest, not knowing what we’d find. I think this was the door to a kind of utility room, maybe for water supply or something.

green door
A green door

This is the entrance door of the apartment we stayed in for 3 months. It was a wonderful apartment with big rooms and we were really happy to have such a nice place to be locked down in. This entrance door represents safety and comfort to me.

our door
The entrance to our apartment in Bucharest

Here’s another entrance door which was just down the road from where we lived. I liked the design of the red metal doors.

red door
Red doors

And don’t you just love this little purple door?! It’s the door to a small shed in the street where we lived.

purple door
A purple door

As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of abandoned buildings in the Old Town of Bucharest. It’s really unfortunate because for some reason most abandoned buildings end up like this. I don’t like the graffiti, but I love the door!

old town door
An Old Town door

And one final door from Bucharest. Really well made and classy wooden doors.

bucharest door
Wooden doors

And here’s a door in the famous Bran Castle, which we visited while we were stuck in Romania. What a great excursion that was!

bran castle door
A door in the Bran Castle

Russia

Having spent more than 12 years in Moscow, I saw a lot of Russian doors! There are far too many to put here, but here are some I want you to see.

I really love this door for some reason I can’t express. It was not far from the last apartment we lived in so I saw it often.

voikovskaya door
A Russian blue door

A door with ‘Just Kiss Me’ written on it just has to belong in this post. Sometimes I do like graffiti!

kiss me door
Just Kiss Me door

Some old and neglected doors. This in an entrance to an apartment building but I’m not sure it’s still in use.

brown door
Entrance No.1

Sometimes in cold countries snow can cause a problem for doors. Here’s a door that’s got a little snow problem.

snow door 1
Snow blocking the door

And this was across the road from us. This door was used occasionally by the occupants, but not when the steps were covered in snow.

snow door 2
Snowy steps

Look at the decoration above this door. I find it sad that they don’t make doorways like this anymore.

kebab city door
A beautiful doorway

And while this modern door isn’t particularly beautiful, it is functional. It’s a resting place for tired pigeons.

pigeon door
A pigeon resting on the door

A big red door with an interesting design above it.

russian red door
A Russian red door

Here’s a very old door, simple but functional. I found that doors which are the entrances of apartment buildings are so varied in Moscow. There are so many different designs and materials, depending on the time period they were built in.

blue door russia
A Russian blue door

And here’s a brown one with an inbuilt window.

russian door
A Russian brown door

I have no idea where this door leads, but I’m very curious! I’m not sure that padlock is very strong.

russian white door
A Russian white door

These doors are on a building that may have been some kind of factory in the past. I’m not sure if the building is in use now. I love the designs above the doors, but I also love the colour they painted the doors.

russian green doors
Russian green doors

One thing you may not know about a lot of Russian apartments, at least the old ones, is that each apartment has two doors. I don’t know why, and I don’t know if they were originally built like that or if they added the second door at a later stage. Maybe one of my Russian friends can let us know in the comments.

So here are two photos of our doors to one of our apartments in Moscow.

From the outside, first you unlock and open this one.

flat door 2
Door No.1

And you’re faced with door number two, which you also have to unlock and open! The outside door opens outwards, and the inside door opens inwards.

flat door 1
Door No.2

I still think it’s a bit strange, even after all the years I spent there.

Bulgaria

We haven’t been in Bulgaria very long, in comparison to the time we spent in Russia, but I’ve already found a number of doors in Bulgaria that I have been compelled to photograph.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

This door is in the Old Town of Veliko Tarnovo. I don’t know what’s behind it – any ideas?

cave door
What’s behind this door?

Also in the Old Town, some lovely light green doors.

old town door
Bulgarian green doors

These doors are the entrance to some apartments in the main street of Veliko Tarnovo. They do look like they need some tender loving care, but I kind of like them like this.

apartment door
Bulgarian white doors

These doors are garage doors in Veliko Tarnovo. I like these because of the little flower design they’ve put on each of the three parts. Can you see the tulips?

garage door
Bulgarian garage doors

And two more

I just have two more photos for you. One is from Riga, Latvia, and the other from Vilnius, Lithuania. They are two very interesting cities as far as architecture and doors are concerned.

I can’t remember exactly what kind of shop this was in Riga, but it was something to do with fish, or underwater things. So you can see that the door slightly resembles a submarine’s door. Although I don’t think a submarine has glass in its door, does it?

sub door
A submarine door

And our very last door is in Vilnius, an abandoned building, but such a beautiful doorway.

abandoned door

And there you have it. Some of my favourite doors in the world.

Do you also like taking photos of doors? Do you have a favourite door photo? If you send me your door photos I’ll put them in this post! cheryl@borninacar.com

~ Cheryl

Rubbish Bins

Do you ever think about rubbish bins?  Probably not.  Or at least, not many of you do.  After all, they’re just an everyday item that we use without a second thought.

Household bins – a bit of history

Can you remember your first household bin? 

metal bins
Did your bins look like these ones?

You might have had a metal can with a lid that you put your rubbish/rubbish bags in.  Early in the morning on ‘rubbish day’, or the night before, you put your metal bin at the curb.  A little later in the morning the rubbish truck came and the rubbish man (as we call them, affectionately, in Australia) picked it up, hoisted it over his shoulder, walked to the back of the truck, and threw the contents into the truck.  And then he returned your bin – and the lid – as accurately as time allowed, to where he picked it up from. Then he went on his way, to empty your neighbour’s bin, and so on down the street. 

There were often 2 rubbish men for each truck, or sometimes 3, to do both sides of the road, and one driver.

wheelie bins
Wheelie bins

Then in the late 1980s, at least in Australia, came the wheelie bin.  You know the ones. Big green ones with a hinged lid.  You put it at the side of the road on rubbish day.  Not on the road itself, but exactly 1 metre (or something) back from the curb, and the truck comes along and automatically lifts it up with a big robotic arm and dumps your rubbish into the truck. 

No rubbish man required, only one driver.  Or sometimes a second man to assist if some rebel resident hasn’t put his bin at the right place for the lifting arm to take the bin.  In that case someone has to put the bin straight before it can be emptied.

But there are more than just our household rubbish bins.  There are kitchen bins, railway station bins, bins in parks, in the streets, in the office, the locations and types of bins are endless!

If you’ve been a reader of Born in a Car for a while, you’ll know that I take photos of strange things when I travel.  A good example of this is my post about public toilets.  I’m not a typical holiday photographer as you can see.

So, as you would expect, I have photos of bins.  Not only from my various holidays, but also from where I live.  So we’re going to take a look at some of my favourite bins.

First let’s look at some of the recycling bins I’ve come across. 

Recycling bins

Recycling bins could be a whole post on their own! For that reason I’m going to just mention a few of them that I’ve seen that have impressed me – if a recycling bin can impress, that is!

Germany is a country which has embraced recycling probably like no other country in the world! There are recycling bins everywhere!

These bins above are in Munich, and there are not only bins for paper and plastic, there are also bins for glass, as you would expect. But here you’re required to separate your glass into colours – separate bins for green glass, brown glass and white glass! So organised!

The next photo is also from Germany, in Cologne. But this time it’s not a street bin, it’s a bin in an AirBnb apartment we stayed in some years ago. This kitchen bin has different sections – one for general rubbish, and one for metal, plastic and cardboard containers. Then under this bin was another bin for paper.

kitchen recycling bins
Household recycling bins

Such a good idea to have everything sorted before it goes outside to be collected.

The next bin was seen in an office conference room where I was teaching. But it wasn’t in Germany, it was in Russia! It’s always exciting to find recycling bins in Russia because when I first arrived there back in 2007, and for some years after that, there wasn’t a recycling bin to be seen anywhere.

This bin has 3 sections – one for plastic, one for paper, and one for general rubbish. A great idea for our corporate world!

There are now also recycling bins in the streets of Moscow, and in some parks. As I said above, these just didn’t exist a mere 10 years ago.

recycling bins moscow
These gorgeous bins are for plastic and glass
coloured recycling bins
And these ones on a train platform in Moscow
nizhny novgorod recycling bins
These were the first recycling bins I ever saw in Russia. They’re in the railway station in the town of Nizhny Novgorod

Street bins

Before I show you our bins in Bulgaria, I’m going to treat you to some very interesting and sometimes beautiful street bins that I’ve seen in my travels and at home. So let’s begin with Russia.

This one is held together by some scotch tape – but it’s still functional.

street bin 1

Does it matter if it’s not square?

street bin 2

I tend to take a lot of photos of bins with snow on them! This yellow one’s quite interesting, don’t you think?

street bin 3

And using the snow to extinguish your cigarette butts.

street bin 4

Not snow, but ice!

street bin 5

The idea here was a bin that resembled a cannon – do you think they succeeded?

street bin 6

Coloured bins are always fun!

street bin 7

A fire hydrant bin.

street bin 8

This bin is in a small park in Moscow, isn’t it beautiful?

street bin 9

Another beautiful old street bin.

street bin 10

And why not paint it blue?

street bin 11

Or green?

street bin 12

A very ornate metal street bin.

street bin 13

And this one is attached to the metal street pole – it swings which makes it easy to empty.

street bin 14

This bin was fixed to the footpath, so it was impossible to move it to a more convenient location. Pedestrians have to walk around it.

street bin 15

Here’s a couple of street bins in Berlin, Germany. How cute is this!

butler bin
A butler bin!

And this one below translates to “the brave little bucket” (any Germans please correct me if this isn’t right!).

berlin bin

Bins for households and apartments

When you live in a flat/apartment, or sometimes even a house, your bin is a communal one. These can also come in different shapes and sizes.

Take a look at this one in Beijing, China. Here you take your household rubbish and put it in these bigger street bins to be taken away. There’s no individual rubbish service, it’s for all the street or neighbourhood.

beijing bin
A Beijing bin for household rubbish

In one of the flats we lived in, there was a chute for rubbish. I remember when I was a little girl in Australia we lived in a flat for a while and we also had one of these.

They’re great because you don’t have to go downstairs in the cold to take out the rubbish, just step outside your front door and open the chute and your rubbish disappears in seconds.

rubbish chute
The rubbish chute

And here’s a more common sight for rubbish removal in Moscow. It’s 2 or 3 large bins, or skips, in a communal area in a little ‘house’ or ‘shed’. this is where you bring your rubbish bags. Then a truck comes along once a day and takes your rubbish away.

This one was full because it was New Year’s Day.

overflowing rubbish
An overflowing communal bin in Moscow

And sometimes you find the most unexpected things in the rubbish!

rubbish president
The ex-Russian Federation president, Medvedev, in the bin

And the bins are painted every spring!

painting the bins

As you may know, we spent 4 months in Bucharest in 2020. For approximately 3 of those months we stayed in one AirBnb which was an apartment in a residential area. It took us a while to find the bin.

Can you see it?

bucharest bin
Our Bucharest bin

Yes, it’s through the hole in the white door. The door’s locked, so if you accidentally throw away something you shouldn’t have, bad luck!

And these bins below were in a Russian town, on the outskirts, so it was almost like a village.

russian bins

Bins in Bulgaria

Finally, I’m going to show you some rubbish bins that I’ve come across in Bulgaria. I haven’t seen much of Bulgaria yet, so there may be other bins around. Here are some that caught my eye.

The very first photo in this post is of bins in the old town on Veliko Tarnovo. VT is where we stayed for the first months in Bulgaria, while we were preparing to buy a house.

It’s true that these household bins look a lot like the ones we had in Australia 40 and more years ago. Here’s some more from the old town in VT.

metal rubbish bins vt
The old metal bins
coloured bins vt
Some of them have been painted – so nice to see them in the street

But the most common bin in Veliko Tarnovo, and I think in Bulgarian villages, are these ones.

street bin vt

They’re communal bins, but not in a parking area or common area, but in the street. Depending on where your house or flat is located, you may have a bit of a walk down the street before you get to the bin.

There’s a little place marked out for the bins, often encroaching onto the footpath. But the bins aren’t always in their ‘correct’ place, as you can see below.

misplaced bin
Someone hasn’t put the bin back in its place
two bins
These two bins are back in their correct place

And lastly, I want to tell you how great it is to have a rubbish bin just outside your front gate. It’s really not far for us to take our rubbish out at our new village house. The rubbish bin is just across the road.

dobri dyal rubbish bin
Our Lada and the white wall of our house, and the rubbish bin just across the road

What about your rubbish bin situation – do you have a really efficient and close rubbish removal, or do you have to take a long walk to get rid of your waste? Tell me all your rubbish bin stories below!

~ Cheryl

Shared on Natalie the Explorer blog Coffee Share #3

Rescuing the Past

I’m not sure if I’ve actually rescued the past, or just delayed the inevitable demise of some photographic relics.  I think it’s the latter.

A few years ago while living in Moscow, I found myself wanting to buy all the old photos which I came across in flea markets and other places that sold second-hand things.  There were a lot of photos, even suitcases full of them sometimes.

children playing
Girls in a playground

It made me sad to think that people no longer wanted these old photos of their ancestors, family holidays, photos of their babies and children, and many other memories that should, in my opinion, stay with the family.  Instead they were for sale in second-hand markets.

How sad.

I’ve got a box of my own photos back in Australia, as well as some here with me in Bulgaria, and some I’ve left in Moscow with a friend because they couldn’t fit in my luggage when we had to leave Russia in a hurry back in March.  I hope one day that I can get all my photos back together in one place, and that my daughter will treasure them and not try to sell them in a flea market.

So, I bought some photos in Moscow, but I couldn’t buy them all because they were actually really expensive.  People were selling their old family photos, or someone else’s photos, for the same price, or actually a little bit higher, as it would cost to have them printed in a photo shop.  I just couldn’t pay that, and so with great reluctance I left a lot of them where they were.

serious girl
A very serious girl

But I did manage to buy some on a few different occasions, and I felt such joy looking through them when I got them home.  I wondered who these people were, and what their stories were, and where the photos were taken.

I wondered about their families, and I wondered why their photos were now in my possession.

family of 3
A family photo

Of course I can never know the answers to these questions.

The saddest part about this is that I had to leave them all behind when I left Moscow.  I just couldn’t take them with me, I had only one suitcase and I couldn’t even fit all my own photos in it. 

I feel like I abandoned them. 

But I did scan every single one of them, front and back (when there was something written). I hope that I will keep their memory alive by sharing some of them with you.  I’m really grateful for the technology we have to be able to scan photos and other precious mementos.  And I do look at these photos from time to time, just to keep them alive

So, here are some of my favourites. It was difficult to choose because most of them, if not all, are simply wonderful. 

I hope you like them.

woman on the beach
A day at the seaside
profile of a woman
Profile of a woman
men working outside
I don’t really know what this is – a garden?
grandma and grandson
Grandma and grandson
winter
Rugged up for winter fun
men
A get-together with the boys
girl in flowers
A girl playing in the flowers – 1984
beautiful woman
What style!
formal woman
A formal shot
happy child
Happy child – 1959
out walking women
Out walking – 1952
at lake ritza
At Lake Ritza 1957 – Озеро Рица
young boy
A gorgeous young boy – January 1954
grandma and baby
Lunch with grandma – 1959 (the baby was 1 year and 10 months old)
4 siblings
Four siblings

~ Cheryl

Featured Photo #8 – Snow

I never get tired of snow.  I lived in Australia for almost 40 years, without snow.  Being able to live in a snowy country was a childhood dream, a fantasy.  Of course, we have snow in Australia, in the mountains in the east of Australia.  We even have skiing and ski resorts.  But I’m from the west of Australia, and the cost of going to the east coast for skiing was always too high for me to even consider it.

Then I moved to Moscow!  I first came to Moscow in 2007 (you can read about why I came to Moscow in this post).  It was the middle of January, which is the middle of winter.  I knew immediately that I’d love living here in such a cold climate. 

Too cold or not?

Most people say that they could never live in a place as cold as Moscow.  And maybe they’re right.  But, it’s not so cold if you know how to dress properly.  You need to be rugged up nice and warmly before you go outside.  The most important parts are your head and your feet – there’s nothing worse than being outside with freezing feet!  So, if you get the right clothes on, you’ll be fine outside on the street.

And, of course, our flats are all centrally heated by the government, so we are very warm and toasty at home! 

And, we don’t spend a lot of time outside when it’s really cold.  However, you can find families with children in parks playing even when it’s minus 5 degrees outside.  And probably even colder.  But when it’s really cold, we go outside only when it’s necessary, for example to go to work or to the shops.  But it’s bearable most of the time.

Living with snow

The best part about living in such a cold place is, of course, the snow.  And every winter I take my camera out and try and get some good snow photos.  And while I’m not the world’s greatest photographer, I do love finding those special moments when the time’s perfect for a photo.  Like this one. Can you see the 2 people?

This photo was taken in the park, Tsaritsyno, which is a huge park in the south of Moscow.  It’s one of my favourite parks, and was one of the first parks I visited when I came to Moscow in 2007.  Every season here brings a different view and the park really changes according to what time of the year it is.  But my favourite season to visit Tsaritsyno is in winter, when we get the opportunity to take such beautiful photos as this one.   

And after 12 winters here already, and heading into my 13th, I’m not at all tired of grabbing my camera and going out to a park or just in the streets, to find interesting wintery scenes to photograph.  It’s not snowing in Moscow yet, but as soon as it starts, I’ll be outside with my camera looking for amazing winter scenes to capture, and maybe I’ll share them here for you, too!

~ Cheryl     

Featured Photo #7 – Horse Head

Sometimes when the weather’s nice, we take a walk around the neighbourhood.  There’s a huge park just down the road which is nice to walk in.  Or we just walk up to the shops, or around the neighbourhood to see what’s happening, and to see what’s changing (because in Moscow everything is changing rapidly – more about that phenomenon soon).

At the end of our street, there used to be a big green fence.  The green fence belonged to the railways. It’s not there anymore because it’s been replaced with a new fence painted with the corporate colours of the railway company. It blocks off all access to the train tracks.

But one day while out walking, we weren’t interested in what was behind the green fence.

We were interested in what was ON the fence.  This horse head mask.

Horse head on the fence

Questions came to mind –

  • Who put it there?
  • Why?
  • What did they use it for before they put it on the fence?
  • Where did they get it from?
horse head close up

I know we’ll never know the answers to these questions. 

But it did stir something in my memory – I’d seen this horse before.  That’s right, I know where he’d come from.

horse head in amsterdam

We saw him in Amsterdam in 2013.  He was in a public square, busking.  So, we know he’s a musician.  But 4 years later, in Moscow, he wasn’t busking.  He was just sitting on the fence. 

Where was he in the intervening 4 years?  And how did he get here from Holland?

I don’t know exactly how long he was on the fence for, but not long after he appeared, he disappeared.

More questions-

  • Where is he now?
  • How did he get down from the fence?
  • Is he still in Russia?

If you’ve seen this horse head somewhere, let us know in the comments below where and when, and we can try and track his movements.  Send a photo of the horse head to cheryl@borninacar.com and I’ll add it to this post.