Warsaw Barbican

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The Warsaw Barbican was created as the city gate in the 1500’s as part of a general repair of the city walls. It was designed by Jan Baptist, a Venetian. You can clearly see the Venetian style in the design. The irony is that the city walls became useless almost as soon as they were repaired. This was due to modern cannon which could blow straight through the walls.

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There’s a great Wikipedia article if you want to find out more.

Off the grid

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Bacterial filtering plant – step 1

I work at Old Mutual at Mutualpark in Cape Town. It is a massive campus of several buildings serving about 10 000 people. To provide water for that many people requires about 450 000l water per day; that amounts to about 45l per person total (this is total consumption including the restaurants, kitchens, aircon units etc). So I think it’s a remarkable achievement that they managed to get the entire campus off the water grid by building an onsite world-class water recycling plant.

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Storage tanks

The main source of recycling water is waste water from the campus – yes every time you flush or wash your hands the output is recycled into drinking water, and its supplemented with grey water from the city (which then also goes through the filtration system). No city drinking water is needed.

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Sand filtering – step 2

I was very lucky to go on a tour of the plant, and its impressive. It is capable of generating up to 800 000l water per day; that is almost double what is required on the campus. The water is super-clean, is tested everyday, and is compliant will the regular legal requirements (SANS 241 to be specific). It is the first privately developed waste water filtration plant in South Africa and can supply water to the campus without any clean municipal water required. None at all!

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Reverse osmosis – step 3

Note: I mentioned 3 steps but that is massively simplified; it is a complex multi-step filtration system they use.

So between the solar panels, waste recycling and now water recycling I think they are doing a good job with the environment. And it makes business sense. The water plant will only need a few years to pay for itself. This is what large companies should be doing.

Church of the Holy Apostles

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This church, which is found in the ancient Agora in Athens, dates to the 10th century. It is one of only 2 buildings from the Agora to survive intact.

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Some of the original wall paintings still survive, and almost nobody goes into it. So if you want a few cool and quiet minutes in the busy Athens it is the perfect spot to spend a few solitary minutes.

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Protecting Warsaw

The mermaid of Warsaw stands on the banks of the Vistula river, providing protection for the city. She has been on the city cost of arms at least since the 1300’s, but nobody really knows the full history, but the main story has it that she was swimming in the river, paused on the riverbank to rest and decided to stay..

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Here she is on Old Town Square; if you look carefully you can find her image all over the city.

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Legend has it that the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen is the Warsaw mermaid’s sister.

Read all about her.

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