Peek & Poke


Rijeka is home to quite a large computer museum (as these things go, and measured in number of computers, not floor space). You will find the expected Apple / Atari / Commodore / IBM PC and clones… but those don’t interest me so much. What is interesting is the cold war East Bloc stuff that we never got to see or experience in the West.

Unfortunately a lot of the exhibits are behind glass and don’t photograph well.

This is an Ivel Ultra, a Croatian Apple II compatible computer designed by Branimir Makanec and developed by Ivasim Elektronika (in Ivanic Grad close to Zagreb) around 1984. It has a Z-80 (for CP/M) onboard like Franklin did with the Ace 1200.

The Robik is a Soviet ZX Spectrum clone produced between 1989 and 1994 in the Ukraine.

Spica Ines: A decent keyboard for your ZX Spectrum. And a bare PCB would be easier to import as “washing machine parts” than the whole computer…

Much more interesting (and also an unavoidable self-portrait) is the Galaksija.

In 1983, Voja Antonić designed the Galaksija, using a Z-80 processor, some interesting hardware and some hectic software to render the screen directly from memory using interrupts and code that does nothing in a very specific way while using the Z-80 RAM refresh function to pipe the scan lines to the monitor.

The design was published in the October 1983 issue of Galaksija magazine (hence the name) and at least 8000 of these things were built. At least.

Several versions of the PCB has now been recreated, and there’s even a way to get graphics if you have enough memory.

Then there are the commercial “home” computers. The Galeb (“Seagull”, codename YU101) was an 8-bit computer developed by the PEL Varaždin company in the early 1980s. Only 250 were produced by the end of the summer of 1984, before being replaced by the Orao. It’s a 6502 machine “inspired by the Compukit UK101” but if this Ferguson Big Board “(C) Mikro Slovenija” is an indication, it might have been very similar indeed.

One of the Galeb prototypes.

The Orao (“Eagle”) replaced the Orao. Still 6502 based, it was developed by PEL Varaždin in 1984. It was used as a standard primary and secondary school computer from 1985 to 1991.

The Pecom 32  and Pecom 64 were 1802-based educational/home computers developed by Elektronska Industrija Niš of Serbia in 1985. Both had 32k RAM and 16k ROM, but the Pecom 64 supported colour while the Pecom 32 was B&W, as far as I can tell.

These used the standard 1802 (CDP1869 + CDP1870) VIS display system.

The GETI 3220 is an AY-3-8500-based pong game made by Gorenje, who is better known for their household appliances (our fridge in Globoka is a Gorenje).

They also have calculators.

Lots of calculators.

I have a Triumph/Adler 108T, that Triumph looks like an 81S.

I also have the exact same Tvornica Računskih Strojeva TRS612 calculator, although mine is missing a few pieces. Made in Zagreb in the seventies.

They also have TVs, and audio equipment, and cameras, and test equipment. And I have the exact same Philips PM2421 Nixie-tube multimeter (top center of pic).

They cram a lot into 300 square meters.

I knew there was a camera, but I never knew there was a printer for the Game Boy. You could take a picture, print it out (in glorious monochrome) — the electronic version of Polaroid.

A bit more modern but still historically significant — the badge for the Hackaday Conference in Belgrade, 2018.

The website mentions that they’re looking for bigger premises. I will have to go back someday.





We decided to go to Zagreb for the weekend, then take it from there (meaning that I’d booked accommodation in Zagreb earlier, but everything else would be based on the weather (yes, it was still raining. And a month later my brother experienced high thirties. And (since I’m blogging this retro-actively) three months later they had some of the worst floods ever), what we felt like and where we could find accommodation).

The place I booked is on Josipa Kozarca and it’s a little strange, but not in a bad way. Nice big bath, private little dungeon with a massage table… yea OK. Whatever floats your boat. It has a washing machine, and it’s close to the Britanski Trg market, where I could have bought all kinds of interesting things, but sanity prevailed.

We had lunch at the nearby Bistro & Pizzeria BAS, where the small Calzone looks like this (which is a good thing, since it was 7 Euro at the time, at R22/Euro). Recommended.

I have a mental image of how they serve the eggs and sausage… anyway, moving right along.

Saturday morning we went walkabout, to the Dolac market, up Opatovina ulica to the park of the same name…

My old enemy, stairs this is Mlinske stube, at the other end of which you will find Caffe Bar Domus, a great place to have a beer at 10:15 in the morning after having climbed all those stairs.

Here they figure that the dragon was more of a catfish, looks like.

Yea, it was raining a bit, lens got a few drops on it.


Enough of Zagreb. We’ll go there again. We decided to go to Zadar, via the Hrelic Sunday market which is just too huge for a picture.

Tanya had a very valid question — if they have all these beautiful markets (and they do), how come their food is mostly meat-on-a-stick or sausage-on-a-bun?

From Zadar we drove up the coast to Rijeka, where I went to the Peek & Poke computer museum and Tanya had a McDonalds burger. Different strokes.

Opatija’s Girl with Seagull.

Pula has the oldest and I think nicest colosseum in the world. It was built from 27 BC – 68 AD. They play soccer in it.

We stayed in a very nice apartment on Ulica Nikola Tesla, which is just on the other side of Crkva sv. Anton (St. Anthony’s).

Herman Potočnik a.k.a. H.P. Noordung was born in Pula, of Slovenian parents who moved to Maribor when he was about two years old. He conceptualised the first space station (before 1928 when his only book was published) and unfortunately died way too young at 36.

And then we drove back to Globoka, getting lunch at Atlantida in Koper — they have a daily two-course set menu, in this case Pumpkin Soup with Hazelnut and Moroccan Chicken with a salad, for €10.50. Tanya complained that the salad (that’s it, next to the camera) did not meet the sales brief.

I had a beer. Actually (checks invoice) I had two beers. At €3 each. But they are 500ml.

Ljubljana Invaders

I first spotted these invaders back in 2021. Apparently there were 20 installed in 2006 and a further 22 in 2020.

I found a few more but nowhere near all of them.

This one on Stari Trg.

Židovska steza.

Na Jami on my way to the Ljubljana Computer Museum.

So now I’m up to seven… out of 42… gotta go to Ljubljana again I guess.


Slovenia, 2023

We decided to take the train from Budapest to Ljubljana. Had fun finding the ticket office (can’t buy from the machine because International).

The ticket office it through that door. The one that looks like a radiation hazard.

The train trip takes all day, so pack food & drink and a book. We got to Ljubljana around 1700. It was raining. _sigh_

We didn’t feel like going far so we ended up at the wine bar next door, they’re either part of or affiliated with or VAR-ing the burger place next to them, so it was burgers and wine on the menu.

This is where we stayed in Ljubljana.

Right next to the “Erotic Shop”.

Quite a nice area, really.

No, seriously. Right next to the Dragon bridge, and despite the graffiti the place is clean (Europe in general is clean, Ljubljana very much so) and quiet and we had a river view.

(OK I’m joking about the river view. I mean, that is the river down there, technically, but…)

Same thing as in Budapest. Father went to Dachau, mother went to Auschwitz, kid died fighting. “Osvobojen” = “freed”, so amazingly both Evgen and Amalija survived the war. Or that’s how I read it.

Anyway. Not so many nice pictures of the scenery because the weather was kind of miserable.

We went up the funicular to the castle, climbed the staircase all the way to the top, then walked down the hill.

Yes, it was raining a bit.

We stopped at the Apotheka coctail bar for a beer and a hot chocolate. Excellent, recommended.

The next day the sun was out and we got a few better pictures.

We went to see the Plečnik library. For 5 euros per person, this is what you can see. The reading room, with NO BOOKS. Oh, and the staircase is also included as an attraction. NOT recommended.

Yea, we didn’t know either.

Anyway, the main point of Ljubljana was to go to the Friday market (which rained out) and to get a car. Ended up hiring a car from They’re a bit bait and switchy in that you can’t book a car through their website, and their special (20 Euro / day for the 25 Euro / day cheapie if you take it for two weeks or more) is only available if you book it. So I ended up with the 25 Euro / day option. Which was still the best price out there.

The weather forecast told me that this Monday was going to have the best weather of the whole week, so I made a beeline to Jeruzalem, specifically lunch at the Gostišče Taverna. Recommended.

And from Jeruzalem it’s only a short trip home (where “home” = our Vikend in Globoka).

The rest of the week was kind of meh, weather-wise. We went to Varaždin for lunch and Ptuj for second-hand clothes (lots of second-hand clothes) and for the rest stayed in, made fire, cooked, and drank. Which is probably no different from what we would have done had the sun been shining.

Then for the weekend we went to Zagreb, and from there to Zadar and Pula, but that’s for a different blog post.



Budapest (Part 4, still pic heavy)

This is the back end of the controversial recreation of the monument dedicated to the martyrs of the communist Red Terror in 1919, with the buildings of parliament in the background. There used to be a monument to Imre Nagy here that was relocated (more later).

Dohány Street Synagogue.

Budapest has these all over the place. So does Ljubljana. Memories of a terrible time.

(I have no idea who the guy with the chicken is)

The Great Market Hall / Nagy Vásárcsarnok.

So we went to Frici Papa for lunch, had one of each set plate. Good food at a decent price.

Újházi tyúkhúsleves – Hungarian chicken soup
Palócleves – Palóc soup
Csöben sült sonkás kelbimbó – Ham and brussels sprouts bake
Szénégetö spagetti –  Spaghetti carbonara
Szilvalekváros derelye – Plum jam curd pockets

Bamamo Budapest is one of the many local street artists.

On our last night in Budapest we went out to photograph the Houses of Parliament at night. I had pretty good results (and great fun) after overriding the automatic exposure settings on my 100D.

The next morning was dull. I took this picture using the exposure bracketing function, and used Lightroom to make an HDR image (this one you can click-to-embiggen).

We had some time before catching the train to Ljubljana, so we went hunting for more mini-szobor (specifically the russian-hat-grown-frog-legs).

Here’s Imre Nagy (He ruled Hungary for a couple of years, but he rubbed the Politburo up the wrong way and got himself executed for it) on his new site just off the Margit bridge. We looked for Lisa Simpson but I suspect she no longer lives here.

And that concludes Budapest 2023. Until next time (when we will be spending more time in District XIII, maybe even go to the Pinball Museum again).



Budapest (Part 3) A trip to the zoo

If you’re in Budapest, get a 72 hour travelcard. You can get on pretty much anything with wheels and travel for free. Metro, tram, railway, bus… the only exception is the 100E bus to the airport, and the children’s railway.

Take the Metro to Széll Kálmán tér, hunt some mini szobor if you want to, take the tram to Szent János Kórház (you need a copy of this map on your phone). Go left up the hill, turn right at the bridge, there’s a station with a gear track down the middle.

Because it’s steep.

This train runs to Széchenyi-hegy at the top. Turn left, walk past the park to Széchenyihegy Children’s Railway station.

We got there before ten, the service only starts at ten. So we walked to the next station, Normafa, where there is a coffee shop.

Except for the driver(s), the train line is run by school kids. Looks like one older and one younger kid in a team.

Note that they take cash (Forints) only, so make sure you have the right change. It was 1500 HUF per person when we did this.

I asked, sounds like each of them does this two days a month.

The line goes further, but you want to get off at Szépjuhászné. Then when you walk out of the station, turn left. There’s a path through the woods. We didn’t know this and turned right. There is no path towards the right…

Better yet, take the bus. It’s right there and you have a 72 hour pass, right? You want to go to Szanatórium utca (Vadaspark) which is like two three stops down the line. Then you have to walk all the way up Szanatórium utca (the jokes writes itself), turn right at the top, and take the “shortcut” through the woods. This gets you to the zoo.

… assuming you’re into this kind of thing.

And then you walk back and get on the bus and end up back at Széll Kálmán tér.

And if you get on the bus going the wrong way (downhill at this point is the wrong way) and it happens to be the number 22, there’s a Lidl at the end of the line so you can shop for supper then go back the other way.





Budapest (Part 2, pic heavy)

This is the new Museum of Ethnography and the Memorial to the 1956 Revolution.

The memorial was there before, they built the museum while leaving the monument in place.

We walked a bit of Andrassy ut.

Google Maps claims that this is the oldest tree in Budapest, but apparently not.


I would also be this crazy…

…if someone whipped me with a snake (what’s the backstory? Idunno).

The station at the start of the cog railway up to Széchenyi-hegy.


Budapest (Part 1, pic heavy)

Random stuff, in no particular order.

That’s where we stayed, on Fö utca. The Batthyány tér metro station is on the right hand side of the photograph.

The M3 metro line is the deepest of the lot, since it runs under the river (M1, the second oldest metro line in the world, runs just under Andrassi út).

Google Maps tells me that this was originally the tombstone of Lujza Blaha. That’s why the shepherd playing the flute is so sad, and that’s why the first line of Sándor Petőfi’s poem “SAD BRANCH OF MY LITTLE FLUTE” can be read on the side (“Kis furulyám szomorúfűz ága”).

When the Danube river flooded in 1938 Baron Wesselenyi saved lots of people using a boat he had floating around.

(Yea, the grafitti sucks)

This is the monument to Carl Lutz, who saved an estimated 60 thousand Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust.

“Whoever saves a life is considered to have saved an entire world”.

Statue to the anonymous dude who wrote La Gesta Hungarorum / The Deeds of the Hungarians.




Mini Statues of Budapest

Back in 2019, I noticed this little fellow up on the Budapest castle ramparts.

So this time around I did some research. Turns out this Kolodko dude hid little statues all over Budapest, so the search was on.

We stayed in Fö utca, close to the Batthyány tér metro station (Hungarian has 44 letters in their alphabet, I don’t always get it right), so the worm, tank and Rubik’s cube were all right on our doorstep. The russian soldier in the pantry was a short walk downriver (in the rain, which turned out not as bad as forecast).

Brexit teddy in Harmincad u. close to Deak Ferenc.

Not sure what this is supposed to be, maybe a warning? It’s in Dózsa György út next to the Museum of Ethnography.

Not technically a mini statue, the little princess lives on the Pest-side river bank close to Vigado tér.

The balloon dog is not far away from the little princess.

Rattatouille lives on the other side of the river, under the Erzébet bridge.

The dead squirrel lies behind Columbo and his dog on Szent István.

Mekk Elek on Széll Kálmán tér.

There’s a whole collection of dogs at a little park halfway between Széll Kálmán tér and Batthyány tér.

It started out as a Russian hat on a pillow, but a politician called Erik Fülöp took an axe to it, knocked it off the fence, and threw it in the river. Kolodko replaced the statue with an axe on a pillow (more on this later).

In the same park there is also a mini statue of Kermit the frog.

And the moon buggy is not far away, close to the Lajos Batthyányi Eternal Flame.

Tivadar Herzl was a Jewish Austrian-Hungarian journalist, writer and political activist who became known as the father of modern Zionism. His mini-statue lives close to the sinagogue on Dohány utca.

The racecar is rather large, for a mini-statue. It’s in front of the Pesti Magyar Színház (theater).

The story goes that some dude threw the New York Cafe’s key in the river to prevent said restaurant from ever closing. But of course the diver got it back.

King Franz Joseph chills out on Szabadság (Liberty) bridge (which used to be called Ferenc József híd).

Remember the Russian hat that got axed and tossed in the river? Here it is climbing back out, in front of the Houses of Parliament.

We looked hard but we could not find: the urinal, the russian warship and Lisa Simpson.

When it was time for me to fly back, I took the train from Ljutomer, and had to stay over in Budapest . So I took the chance to hunt a few more mini statues.

I stayed in a cheap flophouse close to the Eastern Budapest Station (Keleti) and this back-to-the-future Trabant lives there.

The ark is on Bethlen Gábor tér.

It was pissing down, real miserable — I took this photograph at around nine in the morning, in summer… blargh. This is Jewish war hero Hanna Szenes, at the park named after her.

And then, on my way to the airport on the M3 Metro line, I interrupted my trip to catch this fellow just around the corner from the Semmelweis Klinikák metro station. Why a meerkat, why here?


Always Fun with a 101!

Twenty years ago, Tanya and I had been together for a short while and it was a good time to go on holiday.

So we went to France.

Gads. We were so much younger then :-/

It was a bit of a whirlwind tour (Tanya will claim they all are) — fly into Paris, find a place to stay (place we supposedly had booked via a friend in France knew nothing). Take the underground (? can’t remember) around the back of Montmarte, check out the Sacré Coeur (270 steps), walk down via Pigalle and the Pompidou. Day 2, Louvre, walk up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe, Musée de l’Homme, the queue was too long at the Eiffel, by complete coincidence found the bust of Antoine de Saint-Exupery on Square Santiago du Chili on our way to the Rodin Museum, and by yet another complete coincidence ran into Alison April, a friend from Stellenbosch, at the D’Orsay. What else, o yes, Cluny, then check out the stained glass windows and the gargoyles at the Notre Dame (which was being refurbished, scaffolding all over the place). Supper somewhere in the Latin Quarter.

Did I mention we were younger then?

Day 3, train to Epernay (Moët) and from there to Strasbourg, where we hired a car.

And by complete coincidence (no, really) friends Pim and Thandie were at close to Strasbourg with their Land Rover 101 Forward Control (OK, the coincidence was the time and the place, I had planned the route to meet up with them there).

(Rest of the trip? Drove all the way down to Marseilles sampling wine all over the place, hung out at Domaine des Anges where a friend was the winemaker and my brother was helping in the cellar, and flew out of Marseilles in time to beat the kids back home at the end of the school holiday).