Showing posts with label outside world. Show all posts
Showing posts with label outside world. Show all posts

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Trip to Prague, Koh-I-Noor shop hunt

koh i noor pencils prague, storefront

I had been to Prague and of course, I had to go hunting for Koh-I-Noor shops. 

As beautiful as Prague is, the weather was not the best, not even close. Around 1 - 3 degrees Celsius with constant rain. I wondered on the streets but because of the weather, and the limited time available, I only got to visit 2 of the shops. One of the shops I have been to the previous time I have been in Prague (link).
What I really like is Koh-I-Noor knows how to promote themselves and associate the stationary brand to Czech and to Prague. Going to a Koh-I-Noor shop in Prague is just like visiting a landmark, a church, a bridge. They are landmarks of Prague.

koh i noor hedgehog pencils
  The first Koh-I-Noor shop was in the old center. I don't think it is a Koh-I-Noor franchise shop as the shop was a mix of pencils and souvenirs. Also, it was kind of a tourist trap as everything inside seamed overprice to me. On Google maps you will find this shop under the name Koh-I-Noor Pencils.
 

The second shop was the one I have visited previously. A very large shop dedicated exclusively to the Koh-I-Noor products (Koh-I-Noor Hardmuth as). It is located in the vicinity of Prague Castle. This shop had a smaller selection of clutch and mechanical pencils and it was more oriented to the artists out there. But I still managed to find some very interesting products at good prices.
koh i noor hedgehogs
I really like the decor Koh-I-Noor uses in the shops. It has a feeling of traditional, classy and very friendly. Also, they address a very wide range of customers. From kids to artists or just to the average person.
koh i noor hedgehog

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Preview Koh-I-Noor hunt

These are the souvenirs that I brought back from my visit to Prague. This and a bag of chocolates that I forgot at the airport. The good part about the times we live in is, when someone spots an unattended bag in an airport, the security gets alerted imideatly.
So after forgetting my chocolate bag on a bench, I went through security, then back to see if I can find it where I left it. Of course, it wasn't where I left it so I went through security again. After I heard my name on the airport loudspeaker. The bag is waiting for me at the gate.
If it would have been beer instead of chocolate I don't think I would have been so lucky.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Nature trip

This was a short vacation that recently ended.
It was nice enough that i considered it was worth sharing some pictures, even though there are no pencils here :)
I actually had a small notebook and the Koh I Noor notebook with me, but I was mesmerized by the beauty of the surrounding to take a picture of that as well.

I usually take a pencil and a notebook with me in a zip lock bag. Not that would be necessary as lead doesn't wear off with water. I use the pencil and notebook for route preparation, and during the hike to take notes. I try to rely as little as possible on the phone/gps.

 The waterfall is created by the water coming out of a cave at the top of the cliff, which was part of the visit as well. I must say it was worth it.
But the most use on this trip was not seen by the Koh I Noor pencil or by my trusty Opinel. Besides my camera, of course, the most used item was my newly purchased whistle fox 40.

On the track to the cave and waterfall, around 2 km hike from the main road, we encountered a wild hog and besides clapping and talking loudly I used the whistle to make some extra noise. But no success, it didn't want to move from there. It's a bit of a sad story as we later found out when arrived at our destination that it was probably hit by the train during the night.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bic participates in Tour de France

 It was very nice to find out that BIC the well known stationary producer is part of the Tour de France since 1952
Then and now

Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Tour de France Opinel or two

After this special tour, and the stages in Savignon I just had to buy a new Opinel knife. On the last day of the Tour, I made a visit to Decathlon and got the t
raditional No7 Opinel with a Carbone blade.
First thoughts about the new Opinel are similar to the ones I had with the No8 I already own. Even though back then I didn't think I would buy a second one, here I am.
The first impression is a bit discouraging, it is hard to open the blade and rotate the locking ring. But now I know it's limitations and what is good for, and I am not as harsh with it. It is a 100 year design so it is normal to have some limitations. So with the confidence gathered from the previous Opinel, I started tinkering with it and broke it, as I didn't take notice that Opinel had changed the design of the locking ring. Now it only locks clockwise and the new ring has a slot in which it turns.

The nice part about the Carbone is that the blade came very sharp out of the package, while the stainless needed a lot of sharpening.
Even though the blade is shorter with only one centimeter the feel in hand is totally different. The knife is not only shorter but thinner. It is more suitable as an EDC knife and I like this size 7 a lot.
If you plan on doing food preparation I will still carry the number 8 as it is more versatile.

So I have 2 memories from this Tour, 1 damaged no 7 Opinel and a second no 7 Opinel that I didn't destroy yet. But for 7 $, or 6.3  is not a tragedy.


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Tour de France souveniers

The 100th tour just spent some time in the mountains and valleys of the region Savoie in France. A lot of things happened, even shortened stages due to meteo conditions, snow in July.
The entrance in the Savoie region happened with the climb on Col du Galibier, 2642 m. From the end of the 18th stage until the 20th stage Le Tour visits very beautiful places and hard climbs: Col de l'Iseran, Val Thorens.
Col du Galibier: Lenght 18 km/ height 2642 m/ gradient 7%/ total elevation gained 1245 m
Col de l'Iseran: Length 16 km/ height 2764 m/ gradient 5.9%/ total elevation gained 950 m
Val Thorens: Length 36,5 km/ height  2233 m/ gradient 4.9%/ total elevation gained 1906 m

So why not get a souvenir from Savoie, from the well-known knifemaker Opinel.
An engraved Opinel for 24$
or a distinctive shirt color Opinel (yellow, polka dot or green)

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Magic pencil Koh I Noor


This has been my view this last few days, during my ride home from work. To better understand some explanations are due. I live in a city that is surrounded by hills, and close to it, approx 30km there are small mountains. I would say it is a pretty nice place. But during winter it gets very depressing. Mostly because the day is short and it gets dark early. And second, when it is not dark outside everything is gray. The sky is covered by gray mushy clouds, the light is very flat, and the snow in the city gets gray fast. Not to mention the buildings that look like this all year round. It is unusual to see a beautiful clear sky, especially when you are trapped in an office all day long. But spring is coming and the day is growing in length.
Now when I go home from work I get to enjoy this type of scenery (somewhere in the black bottom part of the image is where I live).
And each time my brain connects it with the Koh - I - Noor Jumbo Special Coloured Magic Pencil. If I could paint or draw, this would definitely be my weapon of choice for such stunning scenery.
    jumbo special coloured MAGIC pencil 3405 fire
jumbo special coloured MAGIC pencil 3405 TROPICAL

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hamburg, Germany and Montblanc in a duty free shop

hamburg, brick buildings and graffiti

I just came back from Hamburg, Germany, after a very short trip. And I learned 2 new things.
First, I have to look for flights with more time between them or I should get in a better shape. It was a short and intense trip, as for my flight to Hamburg I had to change planes in Munich, and because the first one had a delay of over an hour I had to run for about 15 gates to get to my second flight just to realize that the gate number had changed and had to run back another 28 gates. I was completely out of breath. I can't even believe that a few years back I ran a full marathon.

mont blanc perfume

The second thing I learned is that Montblanc is also a perfume maker ?!? What ?!?
Maybe Paco Rabanne will start making inks... Not trying to be mean but I do not like this kind of style of business even though this seems to be the future for all brands.
Have someone produce whatever you want to sell, and you use the brand name to make people pay as much as possible for a generic product.
I just hope this is not like Armani watches (replace Armani with whatever clothing brand you would like), pricey pieces of quartz that you should pay around 30 $.

I can't say much about Hamburg as I did not get the chance to visit anything. But I saw a lot of construction sites, brick buildings, and graffiti. Oh, let's not forget about the bubble machine on a car.
hamburg, brick buildings and graffiti

hamburg construction site and graffiti

hamburg party


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Continental Typewriter at a flea market

No pencils or fountain pens for today, just a little part of the history of writing, or IT :)
Even though last weeks had unstable weather and today according to the forecast it was not different I chose to get up early in the morning and go to the local flea market, that takes place every Saturday. It is the first time I go, and I heard that the best is to go early in the morning. Just to demonstrate how relative things are, I chose to go at 9 o'clock as it is a Saturday, but the flea market opens up at 4 am.
Anyway, I started roaming around, looking here and there. In all this time I didn't even notice the shining sun and the fact that my head and arms are getting burned. Going through junk is mesmerizing and creates a weirdly satisfying feeling.
Between the kitsch, junk, CE (China Export) and other things I can not put a tag on, I saw a part of history, writing or IT. I do not know where to put it.

I think the category for it is IT, as the seller put this Continental Typewriter next to laptops.
I can remember that one of my grandmother's neighbor had a typewriter, and I wrote so Mambo Jambo about 25 years ago or so. At the moment I didn't know how to write, as I haven't started school, but I was fascinated by the fact you could see the letters move to make an imprint on the paper.
I did a quick search on the internet and the last Continental Typewriter was produced in 1954.

Maybe this is not your, "cup of tea"... No problem, there were still a lot of things to see and buy                       I took home a #22 spanner, a punch, and a tailor's ruler. Maybe next time I will find some old fountain pens or something related to writing that is worth checking out.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Spring is here


I do not know how many countries have this tradition but here, it is a custom to offer to the ladies on the 1st of March a small gift in the form of a "martisor" and or snowdrops. In some regions, it is a custom for men to receive them. Anyway, it's meaning is the rebirth of nature the end of winter. It is the white and red string and usually, it comes attached to some kind of figurine, something that shows that spring is here, like a flower or something that brings luck like a horseshoe. And is a custom for women to wear them during the month of March or at least in the first days of March.

Of course, you can find different motifs, flowers, plants, good luck symbols, traditional symbols, birds, insects (usually ladybugs, I haven't seen a dung beetle martisor yet), and colored pencils. Wait .. what?


This is the first year I saw such kind of symbol but maybe it will start a trend. I think the magic pencil from Koh-I-Noor would be a much nicer spring symbol.



Saturday, February 17, 2018

Koh-I-Noor in Prague


This is one of the many Koh-I-Noor stores in Prague, close to Charles bridge. It was closed, but luckily I managed the next day to catch it open. 
As the sign says Art Materials inside, so for the no art persons like me the selection was a bit limited. I could not find fountain pen ink unfortunately but I added to my collection a Koh-I-Noor 5219 blue clutch pencil.
A fun fact about this particular Koh-I-Noor store, it is right near the Romanian embassy and the Gingerbread museum
koh i noor store in Prague

The pencil looks nice and feels nice in the hand and the knurled grip feels a lot better than the Versatil or the thin barrel of the Koh I Noor Notebook pencil
The price for it was 75 CZK which is about 2.95 euro or 3.65 $

Not all the products were cheaper than what I can find in Romanian stores but this was about half the price.


A more in-depth review of the Koh-I-Noor 2 mm clutch pencil will follow.
Until then here is a little of the Prague's beauty.




Even though there are impressive architecture and imposing churches in Prague, the Czech people according to Wikipedia are not that religious.
34.5% non religious
44.7% undeclared
the biggest number of followers has the Catholic Church with a little over 10%
So there should be no surprise if you see a church converted into a hotel or a bar/restaurant.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Opinel No 8



For some time now I am looking for a hiking,  general purpose knife. Of course, first time I started searching for one my mind went directly to Crocodile Dundee -That is not a knife, this is a knife..

but using reason I managed to pick an Opinel no 8.
What I want from a hiking knife is to carry it safely (folding is a good starting point), to have a decent size blade (8 cm is good enough) for cutting food with not too much trouble, stainless steel blade because I will be using it to prepare food, a locking system so the blade doe not close on me.

I found in the Opinel all of the requirements above.
Of course, a folding knife is not as strong as a fixed blade, but I will not be alone with my knife in the jungle where I have to hunt to survive. So opting for a folding blade is more practical. A 30 cm blade would be great if I would hunt for bears or crocodiles. But for cutting the bread and buttering it, it makes more sense to use a smaller blade.
I found a lot of fans of the brand and a lot of reviews of the knife. A lot of them say you can not beat the knife at this price point. (I paid 10 dollars for a stainless steel 8 cm blade Opinel).
First, when I opened the package and got my hand on the knife I said, it's priced according to what it offers. The folding mechanism is encased in wood, and this is not a good thing in my opinion. The wood shrinks or expands and this affects the blade unfolding force needed. It can jump from hard to open it (going to break my nails and fingers) to if it's not locked the blade will just swing around.
It is an old design, farmers knife. In my opinion, the company should work a little on the design.
opinel blade #8 folder knife
Opinel No 8

The knife didn't come very sharp. So the first thing was to sharpen the blade to an acceptable level. Second thing was putting mineral oil at in the pivoting mechanism several times and braking it in. Several days of opening and closing.

opinel blade #8 folder knife
opinel blade #8 folder knife

At this point, i consider the knife has not too much not too little friction during blade opening/closing.

Another thing that I do not like is the finish of the fishtail handle. It is too rough on the hand, so I might just sand it down and maybe reshape the back of the handle.
But after a week of having this knife, I started to like it. And I like it for its simplicity the same reason I didn't like it at first. The wood handle, the simple locking system, the classic and beautiful design that survived over all these years.



Friday, March 20, 2015

Partial eclipse of the sun


Today was a partial eclipse of the sun. Approximately 55% percent of the sun was covered by the moon, on my side of the Earth.
To see it I used some dated technology, the eclipse glasses that I have since 1999 eclipse. Unfortunately then the sky was cloudy and I did not see it. It was a total eclipse in '99.
But good things happen to those who wait. Even if it's not a total eclipse, it's still the first eclipse I observe.

The eclipse seen through the glasses with an old compact Fuji.



Share your eclipse pictures.