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Paul Kaye
Brussels, Belgium
I work as a translator but for ten years was a journalist specialising in environment policy. Now I exercise my journalistic habits with my own projects combining interests in travel, photography and history.
Interests: cycling, photography, languages, history, travel, climbing, running, live music, current affairs
Recent Activity
Strašne preplnený deň v práci dneška, až len teraz si nachádzam čas na Deň Mnohojazyčného Blogovania (ak sa tak naozaj píše po slovensky!). A toho dôvodu len niekoľko slov po slovensky... V tomto momente sedím vo vlaku do Orpingtonu, kde... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2014 at Curtainrider
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It's 25 years since the Berlin Wall fell, and five years since I completed this project to document the physical and mental remains along the old European divide. My bicycle ride along the Iron Curtain was one of the most... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at Curtainrider
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That was a much longer wait than I had planned. Many embarrassed apologies. When I wrote the previous post, on New Year's Day, I was disappointed and tired after having worked over the holiday period to try to complete my book by the start of 2013. I didn't manage it,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2013 at The Velvet Border
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Twenty years ago today Czechoslovakia ceased to exist and the new states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia took their place. Inspired by the milestone, last summer I cycled along the border between the Czech and Slovak Republics, to document how the divide looks today, on the ground and in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2013 at The Velvet Border
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Leaving the resort of Kasárne in the morning, I set myself up for a long day in the saddle by fixing a target to cycle along the White Carpathian mountain range (which forms the central portion of the Czech-Slovak borderland) and crossing into Slovakia to spend the night at Trenčín.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2013 at The Velvet Border
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Monument 'to Czechoslovak solidarity' in the Czech border town of Valašské Klobouky. The memorial shows the Czech Tomáš Masaryk and the Slovak Milan Rastislav Štefánik: principal architects, with the Czech Edvard Beneš, of Czechoslovakia. Erected in 1933, in the heady days of the 'First Republic', and rebuilt in 2006, long... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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Bathing lake, Karolinka, Czech Republic. When you're this far from the seaside, it's worth re-creating it closer to home. The giant slide was being used by a group of freestyle ski-jumpers practising their acrobatic tricks - in full winter gear. Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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The tiny resort of Kasárne is perched just on the Slovak side of the border, on a hillside overlooking the wooded crests and valleys of the Czech Republic. The name of the place gives a clue to its origin: kasárne means 'barracks' in Slovak and the settlement has a military... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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This is the Makov border crossing checkpoint, on the Slovak side, now disused and deserted apart from a bar and a bureau de change. The complex was built after 1993 and saw barely a decade of action before the Czechs and Slovaks committed to removing border controls when they joined... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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Indřich Jurečka is a Czech who has spent his life crossing the border, from his home in Karlovice to his business, a roadside inn located just across the dividing line, on Slovak territory. When the country split, Indřich's commute became a daily international journey. He and other border inhabitants received... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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Later in the day I was cycling through thick woodland on the Czech side of the border and came across this remote single-building settlement. The man was scraping the dry flesh off a sheep or goat skull, so concentrated on his task that he did not acknowledge my presence, or... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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Forestry tractors turn in a clearing that straddles the border as it runs through forest covering the side of Veľký Polom mountain. Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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Tetřev observation tower, Veľký Polom mountain. Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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The track leading along the shallow summit ridge of Veľký Polom mountain persuaded me that the off-road route along the border might not be the easiest. The track deteriorated shortly after this photo and I turned back to find a more road bike-friendly path. Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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I left the remains of the medieval fortress at Šance and headed up on a rough forest track towards the mountain hostel at the summit of the hill. It was the first major climb of the ride and made me realise how unfit I was. As darkness gathered I reached... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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Wandering around the Šance site, I met Karel Mucha walking his dog. A Czech who has spent his life in the border area, Karel says relations with Slovaks are better than before the split. 'The Slovaks used to think we were exploiting them,' he says. He uses a word to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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I left the pub at Mosty and headed southwards again, back up towards the hills, but first took a slight detour towards a site that would reveal the first big signs that the border between the Czechs and Slovaks is a very old one as well as a new one.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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Leaving the tri-point I rode the couple of kilometres uphill to the sleepy, isolated village of Hrčava, the second most easterly settlement in the Czech Republic and the last to get electricity (in 1955). From there I free-wheeled down a long and winding forest road shadowing the border to arrive... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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Situated between the Slovak village of Čierne, the Czech hamlet of Hrčava and the Polish settlement of Jaworzynka, in high pastoral land of meadows and woodland, is the 'three-country point' - the trojmedzie, trojmezí or trójstyk, depending on which country you approach it from. The land to the right of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2012 at The Velvet Border
It's time I got back on my bike and updated this blog. Back on my metaphorical bike, I mean: in previous posts I wrote about how this summer I spent a week cycling along the border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The aim was to survey the mental and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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Well: I made it to the end of my ride and caught the train from Kúty to Budapest, just. I didn't go over my handlebars into a roadside ditch anywhere: the reason this blog has been left fallow for 11 days is simply exhaustion and the knotty intractability of the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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This is a digression in time, location and subject matter: I mentioned in an earlier post that after this ride I will be going to Budapest for language course. I am learning Hungarian for my work as a translator, and to get myself in the mood for the place I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2012 at The Velvet Border
Well, my journey is about to come to an end, though it still feels as though it has hardly started. It's 7am and I'm sitting in my room in the Hotel San in the Slovak town of Holíč, a couple of kilometres away from Slovakia's far western border with the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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My first destination after leaving Čadca was the 'trojmedzie' - the remote point up in the hills where the territories of Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland meet, and therefore where the Czech-Slovak border begins (or ends). The local authorities have tried turning it into a tourist attraction and there... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2012 at The Velvet Border
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It's 48 hours since the last post in Čadca and after two hard days of riding I've realised I have to change my plans. I'm more than a third of the way through the time I have to do trip, but I'm well short of a third of the way... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2012 at The Velvet Border