Tuesday, 11 June 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #187 - PORTOFINO, ITALY

“Italy and the spring and the first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.” - Bertrand Russell 

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Portofino is an Italian fishing village and vacation resort famous for its picturesque harbour and historical association with celebrity and artistic visitors. It is a comune located in the Metropolitan City of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town is clustered around its small harbour, and is known for the colourfully painted buildings that line the shore.

According to Pliny the Elder, Portofino was founded by the Romans and named Portus Delphini, or Port of the Dolphin, because of the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian Gulf. The village is mentioned in a diploma from 986 by Adelaide of Italy, which assigned it to the nearby Abbey of San Fruttoso di Capodimonte.In 1171, together with the neighbouring Santa Margherita Ligure, it was included in Rapallo's commune jurisdiction. After 1229 it was part of the Republic of Genoa.

The town’s natural harbour supported a fleet of fishing boats, but was somewhat too cramped to provide more than a temporary safe haven for the growing merchant marine of the Republic of Genoa. In 1409 Portofino was sold to the Republic of Florence by Charles VI of France, but when the latter was ousted from Genoa the Florentines gave it back. In the 15th century it was a fief of families such as the Fieschi, Spinola, Adorno, and Doria.In 1815 it became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia and, from 1861, of the unified Kingdom of Italy.

In the late 19th century, first British, then other Northern European aristocratic tourists began to visit Portofino, which they reached by horse and cart from Santa Margherita Ligure. Aubrey Herbert and Elizabeth von Arnim were amongst the more famous English people to make the area fashionable. Eventually more expatriates built expensive vacation houses, and by 1950 tourism had supplanted fishing as the town's chief industry, and the waterfront was a continuous ring of restaurants and cafés.

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Tuesday, 4 June 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #186 - LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND

“It’s tough to find a place not to like in Switzerland.” - Michele Bachmann 

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Lucerne (Luzern) is a city in north-central Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of that country. Lucerne is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne and the capital of the district of the same name. With a population of about 76,200 people, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland, and a nexus of transportation, telecommunications, and government of this region. The city’s urban area consists of 17 cities and towns located in three different cantons with an overall population of about 250,000 people.

Due to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne (der Vierwaldstättersee), within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne has long been a destination for tourists. One of the city's famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century. This photo is from 1999, when we visited Switzerland and they are taken with my first digital camera, so the quality is not optimal - however, it does bring back happy memories.

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Tuesday, 28 May 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #185 - DAYLESFORD, AUSTRALIA

“People never sing, except in the bathroom. Birthing women also make their natural sounds next to running bath water. There is something about the power of water. People are drawn to water, spas, and sacred streams. Women in labour are drawn to water, too.” - Michel Odent 

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Daylesford is a spa town located in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, within the Shire of Hepburn, Victoria, Australia, approximately 115 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. First established in 1852 as a gold-mining town, today Daylesford has a population of 2,565 as of the 2011 census. As one of Australia’s few spa towns, Daylesford is a notable tourist destination. The town’s numerous spas, restaurants and galleries are popular alongside the many gardens and country-house-conversion styled bed and breakfasts.

The broader area around the town, including Hepburn Springs to the north, is known for its natural spring mineral spas and is the location of over 80 per cent of Australia's effervescent mineral water reserve. The Daylesford wine region is fast becoming known as Australia's best Pinot growing region, boasting continuous gold medals and 95 point plus wines. At 616 metres above sea level, it has a cooler, wetter climate than Melbourne. Summer (January–February) temperatures range from 10 to 37 °C, while July temperatures are cold, ranging from about 1–2 °C to 9 °C. Annual precipitation, occasionally falling as snow, averages about 870 mm but has ranged from 445 mm to over 1,350 mm per year. 

With 65 mineral springs, the Daylesford-Hepburn Springs region accounts for more than 80 per cent of Australia’s known mineral water springs. As a result, the region has a number of spa developments including Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, Mineral Spa at Peppers Springs Retreat and Salus Spa, Lake House. The town is also known for hosting a number of annual events, including the ChillOut Festival held during the Victorian Labour Day long weekend in March each year, the largest gay and lesbian festival in rural and regional Australia; the Harvest Week Festival; the Lavandula's Festivals; and the Hepburn Springs Swiss Italian Festival celebrating the town's Swiss-Italian heritage.

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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #184 - LAKELAND, UK

“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” - Henry David Thoreau 

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The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains (or fells) and its associations with the early 19th century writings of William Wordsworth and the other Lake Poets, Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin.

Covering an area of approximately 2,362 square kilometres, the region was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. It is located entirely within the county of Cumbria, and all the land in England higher than 910 m above sea level lies within the National Park, including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and longest bodies of water in England, respectively Wast Water and Windermere.

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Tuesday, 14 May 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #183 - CURAÇAO

“The Caribbean is not an idyll, not to its natives. They draw their working strength from it organically, like trees, like the sea almond or the spice laurel of the heights.” - Derek Walcott

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Curaçao (Papiamento: Kòrsou, pronounced [ˈkorsou]) is a Lesser Antilles island in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, about 65 km north of the Venezuelan coast. It is a constituent country (Dutch: land) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The country was formerly part of the Curaçao and Dependencies colony (1815–1954) and is now formally called the Country of Curaçao (Dutch: Land Curaçao; Papiamento: Pais Kòrsou); it includes the main island of Curaçao and the uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao").

Curaçao has a population over 160,000 in an area of 444 km2 and its capital is Willemstad. Before the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on 10 October 2010, Curaçao was administered as the “Island Territory of Curaçao” (Dutch: Eilandgebied Curaçao, Papiamento: Teritorio Insular di Kòrsou), one of five island territories of the former Netherlands Antilles.

Although Curaçao is autonomous, the Netherlands has interfered when necessary to ensure that parliamentary elections were held and to assist in finalising an accurate budget. In July 2017, Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath stated that he wants the island to take full responsibility, but asked for more cooperation and assistance from the Netherlands with suggestions for more innovative approaches to help Curaçao succeed, increasing the standard of living. The Dutch government reminded Curaçao that it has provided assistance with Oil Refinery negotiations with the Chinese on numerous occasions.

While tourism plays a major role in Curaçao's economy, it is less reliant on tourism than other Caribbean countries. Most tourists originate from the Netherlands, the eastern United States, South America and other Caribbean Islands . It is a leader in the Caribbean in cruise tourism growth with 610,186 cruise passengers in 2013, a 41.4% increase over the prior year. Hato International Airport received 1,772,501 passengers in 2013 and recently announced capital investments totaling US$48 million aimed at transforming the airport into a regional hub by 2018. In 2017 the tourism sector was expected grow at 1% in terms of the total tourist stay over and by 15% in total cruise visitors versus 2016.

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Tuesday, 7 May 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #182 - SAN MARINO

“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” ― Plutarch 

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San Marino (officially, the Republic of San Marino [Italian: Repubblica di San Marino]; also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino [Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino]), is an enclaved microstate surrounded by Italy, situated on the Italian Peninsula on the north-eastern side of the Apennine Mountains. Its size is just over 61 km2 and has an estimated population of about 32,000. Its capital is the City of San Marino and its largest city is Dogana. San Marino has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe.

San Marino claims to be the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world, as the continuation of the monastic community founded on 3 September 301, by stonecutter Marinus of Arba. Legend has it that Marinus left Rab, then the Roman colony of Arba, in 257 when the future emperor Diocletian issued a decree calling for the reconstruction of the city walls of Rimini, which had been destroyed by Liburnian pirates.

San Marino is governed by the Constitution of San Marino (Leges Statutae Republicae Sancti Marini), a series of six books written in Latin in the late 16th century, that dictate the country’s political system, among other matters. The country is considered to have the earliest written governing documents (constitution) still in effect. The country's economy mainly relies on finance, industry, services and tourism. Despite having an extremely small economy for a nation state, it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP (per capita), with a figure comparable to the most developed European regions. San Marino is considered to have a highly stable economy, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, no national debt and a budget surplus. It is the only country with more vehicles than people!

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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #181 - ATHENS, GREECE

“A great city, whose image dwells in the memory of man, is the type of some great idea. Rome represents conquest; Faith hovers over the towers of Jerusalem; and Athens embodies the pre-eminent quality of the antique world, Art.” - BenjaminDisraeli 

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Athens (Modern Greek: Αθήνα, Athína; Ancient Greek: Ἀθῆναι, Athēnai) is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years, and the earliest human presence around the 11th–7th millennium BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilisation and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent.

Today a cosmopolitan metropolis, modern Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece. In 2012, Athens was ranked the world’s 39th richest city by purchasing power and the 77th most expensive in a UBS study. Athens is recognised as a global city because of its geo-strategic location and its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, culture, education and tourism. It is one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe, with a large financial sector, and features the largest passenger port in Europe, and the third largest in the world. According to Eurostat in 2004, the Athens Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) was the 7th most populous LUZ in the European Union (the 5th most populous capital city of the EU), with a population of 4,013,368. Athens is also the southernmost capital on the European mainland.

The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilisation. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery. Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament (19th century) and the Athens Trilogy, consisting of the National Library of Greece, the Athens University and the Academy of Athens (seen above).

Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics. Athens is home to the National Archaeological Museum, featuring the world’s largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, as well as the new Acropolis Museum.

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Tuesday, 23 April 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #180 - MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

“I think Melbourne is by far and away the most interesting place in Australia, and I thought if I ever wrote a novel or crime novel of any kind, I had to set it here.” - Peter Temple 

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Melbourne is the state capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second-most populous city in Australia and Oceania. The name “Melbourne” covers an urban agglomeration spanning 9,992.5 km2, which comprises the broader metropolitan area, as well as being the common name for its city centre. The metropolis is located on the large natural bay of Port Phillip and expands into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon mountain ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. Melbourne consists of 31 municipalities. It has a population of 4,725,316 as of 2016, and its inhabitants are called Melburnians

Founded by free settlers from the British Crown colony of Van Diemen’s Land on 30 August 1835, in what was then the colony of New South Wales, it was incorporated as a Crown settlement in 1837. It was named “Melbourne” by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Richard Bourke, in honour of the British Prime Minister of the day, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne.

It was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria, to whom Lord Melbourne was close, in 1847, after which it became the capital of the newly founded colony of Victoria in 1851. During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, it was transformed into one of the world’s largest and wealthiest cities. After the federation of Australia in 1901, it served as the nation’s interim seat of government until 1927. Additionally, it was the host city of the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Melbourne rates highly in education, entertainment, health care, research and development, tourism and sport, making it the world’s most liveable city (for the seventh year in a row in 2017), according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. It is a leading financial centre in the Asia-Pacific region, and ranks among the top 15 cities in the world in the Global Financial Centres Index.

Referred to as Australia’s “cultural capital”, it is the birthplace of Australian impressionism, Australian rules football, the Australian film and television industries, and Australian contemporary dance. It is recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature and a major centre for street art, music and theatre. It is home to many of Australia’s largest and oldest cultural institutions such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria, the State Library of Victoria and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building.

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Tuesday, 16 April 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #179 - NÔTRE DAME DE PARIS

“I beg you take courage; the brave soul can mend even disaster.” - Catherine the Great 

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Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. It has an area of 105 square kilometres and a population of 2,229,621 in 2013 within its administrative limits The city is both a commune and department and forms the centre and headquarters of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an area of 12,012 square kilometres and a population in 2016 of 12,142,802, comprising roughly 18 percent of the population of France. By the 17th century, Paris was one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, and it retains that position still today. The Paris Region had a GDP of €624 billion (US $687 billion) in 2012, accounting for 30.0 percent of the GDP of France and ranking it as one of the wealthiest regions in Europe. 

Notre-Dame de Paris ("Our Lady of Paris"), also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and it is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world. The naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture. As the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris, Notre-Dame contains the cathedra of the Archbishop of Paris, currently Cardinal Michel Christian Alain Aupetit.

The cathedral treasury contains a reliquary, which houses some of Catholicism's most important relics, including the purported Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration in the radical phase of the French Revolution when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. An extensive restoration supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc began in 1845. A project of further restoration and maintenance began in 1991.

While undergoing renovation and restoration, the cathedral caught fire on 15 April 2019 and sustained significant damage, including the destruction of two-thirds of the roof and the spire. The world watched in disbelief as this cultural monument of humankind was devastated by flames. All cultured human beings mourned with the French for the loss of this basion of Western civilisation. French President Emmanuel Macron announced that Notre-Dame will be rebuilt, stating “It’s part of the fate, the destiny of France, and our common project over the coming years. And I am committed to it.” 

We stand united with Parisians and all civilised people around the world, sharing their loss of one of the great cultural monuments of the world, the Nôtre Dame of Paris. The cathedral will arise anew from its ashes and continue to symbolise culture and civilisation, faith and enlightenment, sensitivity and broad-mindedness. 

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Tuesday, 9 April 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #178 - SAN DIEGO, USA

“Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough. Thank you for the rain. And for the chance to wake up in three hours and go fishing: I thank you for that now, because I won’t feel so thankful then.” - Garrison Keillor

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San Diego (Spanish for “Saint James”) is a major city in California, in San Diego County, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, approximately 190 km south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico. With an estimated population of 1,394,928 as of July 1, 2015, San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest in California. It is part of the San Diego–Tijuana conurbation, the second-largest trans-border agglomeration between the US and a bordering country after Detroit–Windsor, with a population of 4,922,723 people.

San Diego is known as “the birthplace of California” and is known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbour, extensive beaches, long association with the United States Navy and recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology development centre. Historically home to the Kumeyaay people, San Diego was the first site visited by Europeans on what is now the West Coast of the United States. Upon landing in San Diego Bay in 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the entire area for Spain, forming the basis for the settlement of Alta California 200 years later.

The Presidio and Mission San Diego de Alcalá, founded in 1769, formed the first European settlement in what is now California. In 1821, San Diego became part of the newly-independent Mexico, which reformed as the First Mexican Republic two years later. In 1850, it became part of the United States following the Mexican–American War and the admission of California to the union. The city is the seat of San Diego County and is the economic centre of the region as well as the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area.

San Diego’s main economic engines are military and defence-related activities, tourism, international trade, and manufacturing. The presence of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), with the affiliated UCSD Medical Centre, has helped make the area a centre of research in biotechnology.

Downtown San Diego is located on San Diego Bay. Balboa Park encompasses several mesas and canyons to the northeast, surrounded by older, dense urban communities including Hillcrest and North Park. To the east and southeast lie City Heights, the College Area, and Southeast San Diego. To the north lies Mission Valley and Interstate 8. The communities north of the valley and freeway, and south of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, include Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Tierrasanta, and Navajo. Stretching north from Miramar are the northern suburbs of Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch, Rancho Peñasquitos, and Rancho Bernardo.

The far northeast portion of the city encompasses Lake Hodges and the San Pasqual Valley, which holds an agricultural preserve. Carmel Valley and Del Mar Heights occupy the northwest corner of the city. To their south are Torrey Pines State Reserve and the business centre of the Golden Triangle. Further south are the beach and coastal communities of La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and Ocean Beach. Point Loma occupies the peninsula across San Diego Bay from downtown. The communities of South San Diego, such as San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, are located next to the Mexico–United States border, and are physically separated from the rest of the city by the cities of National City and Chula Vista. A narrow strip of land at the bottom of San Diego Bay connects these southern neighbourhoods with the rest of the city.

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Tuesday, 2 April 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #177 - YARRA VALLEY, AUSTRALIA

“If you have two friends in your lifetime, you're lucky. If you have one good friend, you're more than lucky.” ― S.E. Hinton 

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Last week we had friends visiting us from interstate and while they were here we drove out to the northeast of Melbourne to the Yarra Valley. It is about 60 km from the City centre and is situated amongst low hills. The Yarra River flows through the valley to make its way to the City centre. Several picturesque small towns are found in this valley, amongst many vineyards and prime sheep and cattle country. Lilydale, Yea, Yarra Glen and Healesville are all thriving communities and prime tourist attractions.

Numerous wineries have made themselves famous in this location, some very old ones as well as many new. We drove to Yarra Glen, a small town full of charm on the banks of the Yarra and made our way to Domaine Chandon, a winery owned by the motherhouse of Môet et Chandon in France. This establishment produces sparkling wine that is as good as (or better, I say!) than the champagne produced by Môet in France. They have a restaurant and wine tasting room onsite where one may enjoy the local wine and food while viewing the vineyards outside and towards the horizon the lovely blue hills. Autumn colours dotted the landscape, and fortunately we had a glorious, fine, warm and mellow day.

We then proceeded to Yering Station Winery, one of my favourite wineries there and enjoyed the hospitality of their restaurant. Having had lunch washed down by some excellent Australian wine, we proceeded to Healesville, whose claim to fame is an Australian animal wildlife sanctuary. This is another tourist destination where one may see Australian animals in their natural habitat: Kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, echidnas, possums, platypuses, emus, cassowaries, pelicans, brolgas, eagles, ibises, cockatoos, rosellas, galahs, kookaburras and many more.

We enjoyed a cup of excellent coffee in an old-fashioned bakery and sampled some of the traditional sweets: Caramel slices, chocolate mousse slices, chocolate hedgehogs, coconut slices, apple and blueberry pies and chocolate éclairs. The day was concluded by a visit to a few shops selling old wares and antiques, and the drive back was pleasant with lots of music and laughter. Needless to say that the day was enjoyed very much by everyone…

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Tuesday, 26 March 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #176 - AUCKLAND, NZ

“The highest purpose of education is to unlearn what we once took for granted, to replace certainty with subtlety, prejudice with compassion, and destiny with possibility.” ― Neel Burton 

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Auckland is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. Auckland is the largest urban area in the country, with an urban population of around 1,628,900 (June 2018). It is located in the Auckland Region—the area governed by Auckland Council—which includes outlying rural areas and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, resulting in a total population of 1,695,900. A diverse and multicultural city, Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. The Māori-language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki-makau-rau, meaning “Tāmaki with a hundred lovers”, in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions

Auckland is classified as a Beta+ World City because of its importance in commerce, the arts, and education. The University of Auckland, established in 1883, is the largest university in New Zealand. Landmarks such as the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the Harbour Bridge, the Sky Tower, and many museums, parks, restaurants, and theatres are among the city’s significant tourist attractions. Auckland Airport handles around one million international passengers a month. Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, Auckland is ranked third on the 2016 Mercer Quality of Living Survey, making it one of the most liveable cities.

Whenever we visit Auckland we go to Albert Park and have a wander through the pathways and lawns, making our way up to the University of Auckland. This is New Zealand’s pre-eminent research-led University. Established in 1883, it has grown into an international centre of learning and academic excellence and is New Zealand’s largest university. Its mission is to be an internationally recognised, research-led university, known for the excellence of its teaching, research, and service to its local, national and international communities. It aims to be a vibrant and intellectually challenging place of learning, nurturing a community of scholars who share a passion for discovery, the advance of knowledge and human progress.

The signature building of the University is the Clock Tower, which is a wonderful Victorian confection in white, reminding one of a wedding cake bedecked in icing sugar filigree decorations. The campus is quite extensive and is an agglomeration of modern and Victorian buildings, beautiful parks, gardens, roads and pathways.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

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Tuesday, 19 March 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #175 - PONT-DU-GARD, FRANCE

“Nothing requires the architect's care more than the due proportions of buildings.” - Vitruvius 

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The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon River near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard in southern France. The Pont du Gard is the highest of all elevated Roman aqueducts, and, along with the Aqueduct of Segovia, one of the best preserved. It was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 because of its historical importance. The aqueduct bridge is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50-kilometre system built in the first century AD to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). Because of the uneven terrain between the two points, the mostly underground aqueduct followed a long, winding route that called for a bridge across the gorge of the Gardon River.

The bridge has three tiers of arches, stands 48.8 m high, and descends a mere 2.5 centimetres – a gradient of only 1 in 18,241 – while the whole aqueduct descends in height by only 17 m over its entire length, which is indicative of the great precision that Roman engineers were able to achieve, using simple technology. The aqueduct formerly carried an estimated 200,000 m3 of water a day to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. It may have been in use as late as the 6th century, with some parts used for significantly longer, but a lack of maintenance after the 4th century led to clogging by mineral deposits and debris that eventually choked off the flow of water.

After the Roman Empire collapsed and the aqueduct fell into disuse, the Pont du Gard remained largely intact, due to the importance of its secondary function, as a toll bridge. For centuries the local lords and bishops were responsible for its upkeep, in exchange for the right to levy tolls on travellers using it to cross the river, although some of its stones were looted and serious damage was inflicted on it in the 17th century.

It attracted increasing attention starting in the 18th century, and became an important tourist destination. It underwent a series of renovations between the 18th and 21st centuries, commissioned by the local authorities and the French state, that culminated in 2000 with the opening of a new visitor centre and the removal of traffic and buildings from the bridge and the area immediately around it. Today it is one of France's most popular tourist attractions, and has attracted the attention of a succession of literary and artistic visitors.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #174 - RONCHAMP, FRANCE

“Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward Heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.” - Walter Gropius 
Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

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Ronchamp is a commune in the Haute-Saône department in the region of Franche-Comté in eastern France. It is located between the Vosges and the Jura mountains. The famous church close to the town is informally known as “Ronchamp”, but formally it is the chapel of Our Lady of the Heights (Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp). It was completed in 1954 and is one of the finest examples of the architecture of Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier, and one of the most important examples of twentieth-century religious architecture. 

Notre Dame du Haut was thought of as a more extreme design of Le Corbusier’s late style. The chapel is a simple design with two entrances, a main altar, and three chapels beneath towers. Although the building is small, it is powerful and complex. The chapel is the latest of chapels at the site. The previous chapel was completely destroyed there during World War II. The previous building was a 4th century Christian chapel. But, at the time the new building was being constructed, Corbusier wasn’t exactly interested in “Machine Age” architecture. He felt his style was more primitive and sculptural, so he decided to build something more interesting.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

TRAVEL TUESDAY #173 - AEGEAN SEA

“Happy is the man who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean Sea.” ― Nikos Kazantzakis

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately. 
The Aegean Sea is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus. The Aegean Islands are within the sea and some bound it on its southern periphery, including Crete and Rhodes. The Aegean Region consists of nine provinces in southwestern Turkey, in part bordering on the Aegean Sea.

The sea was traditionally known as the Archipelagos (in Ancient Greek, Ἀρχιπέλαγος, meaning “chief sea”), but in English the meaning of Archipelago has changed to refer to the Aegean Islands and, generally, to any island group.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
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