Tuesday, 14 September 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 305 - HAMBURG, GERMANY

“In Hamburg, there are three major orchestras, an opera house, and one of the great concert-hall acoustics in Europe at the Laeiszhalle, in a town a fifth the size of London. And that's not unusual. In Germany, there are dozens of towns with two or three orchestras. The connection with music goes very, very deep.” - Jeffrey Tate

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Hamburg, officially Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg (Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg), is the second largest city in Germany and the eighth largest city in the European Union. It is the second smallest German state by area. Its population is over 1.7 million people, and the wider Hamburg Metropolitan Region covers more than 5.1 million inhabitants. The city is situated on the river Elbe. The official long name reflects its history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, as a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire, a city-state, and one of the 16 states of Germany. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a fully sovereign state. Prior to the constitutional changes in 1919, the civic republic was ruled by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten.
Though repeatedly destroyed by great fires, floods and military conflicts including WW2 bombing raids, the city managed to recover and emerge wealthier after each catastrophe. Hamburg is a transport hub, being the 2nd largest port in Europe by TEU's and the 3rd largest by cargo, and is an affluent city in Europe. It is a global service, media, logistics and industrial hub, with headquarters and facilities of Airbus, Blohm + Voss, Aurubis, Beiersdorf, Unilever and a range of innovative startups. The radio and television broadcaster NDR, Europe's largest printing and publishing firm Gruner + Jahr and the Spiegel company are pillars of the media industry in Hamburg.
Hamburg is an important financial centre for centuries, and is the seat of Germany's oldest stock exchange and the world's second oldest bank, Berenberg Bank. With the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the EU-LAC Foundation, the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning, many consular and diplomatic missions and various international conferences like Hamburg Summit: China meets Europe and the 2017 G20 Hamburg summit, the city is also a factor in world politics and international law.
The city is a fast-expanding tourist destination for both domestic and international visitors. It ranked 16th in the world for liveability in 2015. The ensemble Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in July 2015. Hamburg is a major European science, research and education hub with several universities and institutes.
It is also a centre of creative industries and major cultural venues, including the renowned Elbphilharmonie and Laeisz concert halls, various art venues, music producers and artists. It is regarded as a haven for newcomer artists, gave birth to movements like Hamburger Schule and paved the way for many music bands including The Beatles. Hamburg is also known for several theatres (incl. The English Theatre) and especially its variety of musical shows, with world premieres like Rocky. St. Pauli's Reeperbahn is among the best-known European entertainment districts.

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Tuesday, 7 September 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 304 - ST TROPEZ, FRANCE

"When the Good Lord begins to doubt the world, he remembers that he created Provence." - Frederic Mistral

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Saint-Tropez (Sant-Troupès in Provençal dialect) is a town, 100 kilometres west of Nice, in the Var department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeastern France. It is also the principal town in the canton of Saint-Tropez. Saint-Tropez is located on the French Riviera. It was a military stronghold and an unassuming fishing village until the beginning of the 20th century.
It was the first town on this coast to be liberated during World War II (as part of Operation Dragoon). After the war, it became an internationally known seaside resort, renowned principally because of the influx of artists of the French New Wave in cinema and the Yé-yé movement in music. It later became a resort for the European and American jet set and a goal for tourists in search of a little Provençal authenticity and an occasional celebrity sighting.
The inhabitants of Saint-Tropez are called Tropéziens, and the town is familiarly called St-Trop. The most famous people associated with include: The semi-legendary martyr who gave his name to the town, Saint Torpes of Pisa; Hasekura Tsunenaga, probably the first Japanese in Europe, who landed in Saint-Tropez in 1615; a hero of the American Revolutionary War, Admiral Pierre André de Suffren de Saint-Tropez.
The icon of modern Saint-Tropez, Brigitte Bardot, started the clothes-optional revolution and still lives in the Saint-Tropez area; Louis de Funès, who played the character of the gendarme (police officer) in the French comedy film series Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez and also helped establish the international image of Saint-Tropez as both a quiet town and a modern jet-set holiday target.

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Tuesday, 31 August 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 303 - TRIESTE ITALY

“The great cliché about Trieste is that it is melancholy: its quiet colors, its cultural indeterminacy, its literary legacies all lending themselves to a certain (to use Joyce’s famous pun) tristesse. But in my week there, I found less sadness than a bittersweet nostalgia for a half-imagined, half-remembered past.” - Tara Isabella Burton

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Trieste
is a city and a seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of Italian territory lying between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city. It is also located near Croatia some further 30 kilometres south. Trieste is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste and throughout history it has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of Latin, Slavic, and Germanic cultures. In 2009, it had a population of about 205,000 and it is the capital of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The metropolitan population of Trieste is 410,000, with the city comprising about 240,000 inhabitants. 

Trieste was one of the oldest parts of the Habsburg Monarchy, belonging to it from 1382 until 1918. In the 19th century the monarchy was one of the Great Powers of Europe and Trieste was its most important seaport. As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean region, Trieste became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest, and Prague). In the fin de siècle period at the end of the 19th century it emerged as an important hub for literature and music.

Trieste underwent an economic revival during the 1930s, and the city was an important spot in the struggle between the Eastern and Western blocs after the Second World War. Today, Trieste province is one of the richest in Italy, and it is a great centre for shipping (through the Port of Trieste), shipbuilding and financial services. Trieste is the most important port of Italy and was the 2020 European Capital of Science - ESOF.

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Tuesday, 24 August 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 302 - ABU SIMBEL, EGYPT

“And on the pedestal these words appear: 'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.” ― Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‘Ozymandias

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The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock temples at Abu Simbel (أبو سمبل in Arabic), a village in Nubia, southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan. They are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser, about 230 km southwest of Aswan (about 300 km by road). The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Nubian Monuments”, which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan).
The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. Their huge external rock relief figures have become iconic. The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to prevent their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.

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Tuesday, 17 August 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 301 - IBIZA, SPAIN

"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this" -  Henry David Thoreau

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Ibiza (Catalan: Eivissa) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Spain. It is 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the city of Valencia. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community of Spain. Its largest settlements are Ibiza Town (Catalan: Vila d'Eivissa, or simply Vila), Santa Eulària des Riu, and Sant Antoni de Portmany.

Its highest point, called Sa Talaiassa (or Sa Talaia), is 475 metres (1,558 feet) above sea level. Ibiza has become well known for its association with nightlife, electronic dance music that originated on the island, and for the summer club scene, all of which attract large numbers of tourists drawn to that type of holiday.

Several years before 2010, the island's government and the Spanish Tourist Office had been working to promote more family-oriented tourism, with the police closing down clubs that played music at late night hours, but by 2010 this policy was reversed. Around 2015 it was resumed. Ibiza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ibiza and the nearby island of Formentera to its south are called the Pine Islands, or "Pityuses".

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Tuesday, 10 August 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 300 - LEIDEN, HOLLAND

“By not going to school I learned that the world is a beautiful place and needs to be discovered.” - Rutger Hauer

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Leiden is a city and municipality in the Dutch province of South Holland. The municipality of Leiden has a population of 122,565, but the city forms one densely connected agglomeration with its suburbs Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten and Zoeterwoude with around 190,000 inhabitants. Leiden is located on the Old Rhine, at a distance of some 20 kilometres from The Hague to its south and some 40 km from Amsterdam to its north. The recreational area of the Kaag Lakes (Kagerplassen) lies just to the northeast of Leiden.
A university city since 1575, Leiden houses Leiden University, the oldest university of the Netherlands, and Leiden University Medical Centre. It is twinned with Oxford, the location of the United Kingdom's oldest university. Over 1994/95 I spent several months in the Netherlands engaged in various academic/research activities. I lived in Leiden for five weeks, which was a wonderful time for me. I spent a great deal of my spare time cycling around the city and environs visiting the grand old buildings, notable museums, beauty spots and historical sites.

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Tuesday, 3 August 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 299 - KIAMA, NSW

“At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun. “ – Sandy Gingras

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Kiama is a township 120 kilometres south of Sydney in the Illawarra, New South Wales, Australia in the Municipality of Kiama. At the 2011 census, Kiama had a population of 12,817 people. One of the main tourist attractions is the Kiama Blowhole. The seaside town features several popular surfing beaches, caravan parks and numerous alfresco cafes and restaurants. Its proximity to the south of Sydney makes it an attractive destination for a large number of day trippers.
The Kiama area includes many attractions, being situated on the coast south of the Minnamurra River, and to the west lie the foothills of Saddleback Mountain and the smaller less discernible peak of Mount Brandon. Also to the west is the town of Jamberoo with pasture-land in between, which contains many historic buildings and dry stone walls. Also of note is Seven Mile Beach to the south, a protected reserve. Kiama has several well-known surfing beaches, including Surf Beach, 'Mystics' and Boyds' Beach, as well as other more protected swimming beaches situated in coves between headlands such as Black Beach, Easts Beach and Kendalls Beach. Kiama Harbour forms one of several coves between headlands.
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Tuesday, 27 July 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 298 - MACAU, CHINA

“Gambling with cards or dice or stocks is all one thing. It's getting money without giving an equivalent for it.” - Henry Ward Beecher
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.
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Macau (Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China), is an autonomous territory on the western side of the Pearl River estuary in East Asia. Macau is bordered by the city of Zhuhai in Mainland China to the north and the Pearl River Delta to the east and south. Hong Kong lies about 64 kilometres to its east across the Delta. With a population of 650,900 living in an area of 30.5 km2, it is the most densely populated region in the world.
A former Portuguese colony, it was returned to Chinese sovereignty on 20 December 1999. Macau was administered by the Portuguese Empire and its inheritor states from the mid-16th century until late 1999, when it constituted the last remaining European colony in Asia. Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 1550s. In 1557, Macau was leased to Portugal from Ming China as a trading port. The Portuguese Empire administered the city under Chinese authority and sovereignty until 1887, when Macau became a colony through a mutual agreement between the two countries.
Sovereignty over Macau was transferred back to China on 20 December 1999. The Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau and Macau Basic Law stipulate that Macau operate with a high degree of autonomy until at least 2049, fifty years after the transfer.  Under the policy of “one country, two systems”, the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China is responsible for military defence and foreign affairs while Macau maintains its own legal system, public security force, monetary system, customs policy and immigration policy. Macau participates in international organisations and events that do not require members to possess national sovereignty.
Macau is a resort city in Southern China, known for its casinos and luxury hotels. Its gaming revenue has been the world’s largest since 2006, with the economy heavily dependent on gaming and tourism. According to The World Factbook, Macau has the fourth highest life expectancy in the world. Moreover, it has a very high Human Development Index, ranking 18th in the world as of 2014. Macau is among the world’s richest regions and its GDP per capita by purchasing power parity was higher than that of any country in the world, according to the World Bank.  It is widely known as the pre-eminent gambling (or gaming) capital of the world, greatly dwarfing other gambling centres/cities (2016 Gross Gaming Revenue, for Las Vegas was $11.1 billion, while for Macau was $28 billion).
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Tuesday, 20 July 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 297 - OXFORD, UK

“A University should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning.” - Benjamin Disraeli

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Oxford is a city in the South East region of England and the county town of Oxfordshire. With an estimated 2015 population of 168,270, it is the 52nd largest city in the United Kingdom, and one of the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse. The city is situated 92 km from London,111 km from Bristol, 105 km from both Southampton and Birmingham and 40 km from Reading.

The city is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Buildings in Oxford demonstrate notable examples of every English architectural period since the late Saxon period. Oxford is known as the “city of dreaming spires”, a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold. Oxford has a broad economic base. Its industries include motor manufacturing, education, publishing and a large number of information technology and science-based businesses, some being academic offshoots.

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Tuesday, 13 July 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 296 - HYDRA, GREECE

“For the wise is easy to go anywhere. Because the whole world is home for a good soul.” – Democritus

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Hydra (Greek: Ύδρα, pronounced [ˈiðra] in modern Greek) is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece, located in the Aegean Sea between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf. It is separated from the Peloponnese by a narrow strip of water. In ancient times, the island was known as Hydrea (Υδρέα, derived from the Greek word for “water”), a reference to the springs on the island.
The municipality of Hydra consists of the islands Hydra (area 49.6 km2), Dokos (pop. 18, area 13.5 km2), and a few uninhabited islets, total area 64.443 km2. The province of Hydra (Greek: Επαρχία Ύδρας) was one of the provinces of the Piraeus Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipality. It was abolished in 2006. There is one main town, known simply as “Hydra port” (pop. 1,900 in 2011).
It consists of a crescent-shaped harbour, around which is centred a strand of restaurants, shops, markets, and galleries that cater to tourists and locals (Hydriots). Steep stone streets lead up and outward from the harbour area. Most of the local residences, as well as the hostelries on the island, are located on these streets. Other small villages or hamlets on the island include Mandraki (pop. 11), Kamini, Vlychos (19), Palamidas, Episkopi, and Molos.
In the 1950s and 1960s Hydra was the adopted home of a community of artists, expatriates, that included celebrated Norwegian novelist Axel Jensen, Australian writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston, and Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. Cohen wrote several of his better-known songs on Hydra, including “Bird on the Wire” and “So Long, Marianne”, while living with Jensen’s ex-wife, Marianne Ihlen. This period was depicted in the 2019 documentary film “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love”, and Polly Samson’s 2020 novel “A Theatre for Dreamers”.

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Tuesday, 6 July 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 295 - BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

“Do you recall that night in June, Do you recall that night in June, Upon the Danube River; We listened to the ländler-tune, We watched the moonbeams quiver.” -  Charles Hamilton Aide

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Budapest is the capital and the largest city of Hungary, and one of the largest cities in the European Union. It is the country’s principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre, sometimes described as the primate city of Hungary. According to the census, in 2011 Budapest had 1.74 million inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2.1 million due to suburbanisation. The Budapest Metropolitan Area is home to 3.3 million people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres.
Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with the unification of Buda and Óbuda on the west bank, with Pest on the east bank on 17 November 1873. The history of Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Hungarians arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241–42. The re-established town became one of the centres of Renaissance humanist culture by the 15th century.
Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after its unification in 1873. It also became the second capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a great power that dissolved in 1918, following World War I. Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Republic of Councils in 1919, the Battle of Budapest in 1945, and the Revolution of 1956.
Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest’s extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes’ Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second-oldest metro line in the world. It has around 80 geothermal springs, the world’s largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building. The city attracts about 4.4 million tourists a year, making it the 25th most popular city in the world, and the 6th in Europe, according to Euromonitor. 
Considered a financial hub in Central Europe, the city ranked third on Mastercard’s Emerging Markets Index, and ranked as the most liveable Central or Eastern European city on EIU’s quality of life index. It is also ranked as “the world’s second best city” by Condé Nast Traveler, and “Europe's 7th most idyllic place to live” by Forbes. Eighteen universities are situated in Budapest, including the Central European University, Eötvös Loránd University and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

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Tuesday, 29 June 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 294 - PORT DOUGLAS, AUSTRALIA

“To escape and sit quietly on the beach – that’s my idea of paradise.” - Emilia Wickstead

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Port Douglas is a coastal town and locality in the Shire of Douglas, Queensland, approximately 70 km north of Cairns. In the 2016 census, Port Douglas had a population of 3,504 people. The town’s population can often double, however, with the influx of tourists during the peak tourism season from May to September. The town is named in honour of a former Premier of Queensland, John Douglas.

Port Douglas developed quickly based on the mining industry. Other parts of the area were established with timber cutting occurring in the area surrounding the Daintree River and with settlement starting to occur on lots around the Mossman River by 1880.

Previous names for the town included Terrigal, Island Point, Port Owen and Salisbury. The town is situated adjacent to two World Heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Port Douglas was No. 3 on Australian Traveller magazine’s list of 100 Best Towns in Australia.

Kitesurfing is popular at the southern end of Four Mile Beach (seen above), particularly during the winter months when trade winds blow from the South. Port Douglas is near the Great Barrier Reef and numerous companies run daily trips from the marina to the outer reef and the Low Isles for scuba diving and snorkelling. Port Douglas is also well known for its many restaurants, walks, golf courses, and five star resorts.

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Tuesday, 22 June 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 293 - GEORGETOWN, USA

“A people’s relationship to their heritage is the same as the relationship of a child to its mother.” - John Henrik Clarke

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Georgetown is the third oldest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina and the county seat of Georgetown County, in the Lowcountry. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 9,163. Located on Winyah Bay at the confluence of the Black, Great Pee Dee, Waccamaw, and Sampit rivers, Georgetown is the second largest seaport in South Carolina, handling over 960,000 tons of materials a year. Georgetown is also the birthplace of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s grandfather, Fraser Robinson. Many of Michelle Obama's relatives still reside in Georgetown.
The Georgetown Historic District contains more than fifty homes, public buildings and sites which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other sites on the National Register include Annandale Plantation, Arcadia Plantation, Battery White, Belle Isle Rice Mill Chimney, Beneventum Plantation House, Black River Plantation House, Brookgreen Gardens, Chicora Wood Plantation, Fairfield Rice Mill Chimney, Friendfield Plantation, Georgetown Light, Hobcaw Barony, Hopsewee, Keithfield Plantation, Mansfield Plantation, Milldam Rice Mill and Rice Barn, Minim Island Shell Midden (38GE46), Nightingale Hall Rice Mill Chimney, Old Market Building, Pee Dee River Rice Planters Historic District, Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church, Joseph H. Rainey House, Rural Hall Plantation House, Weehaw Rice Mill Chimney, Wicklow Hall Plantation, and Winyah Indigo School.
Heritage tourism has become a booming business in Georgetown. In addition, many retirees have chosen to settle in this area of beaches, plantations redeveloped as residential communities, and pleasant climate. We had a very pleasant visit in this part of the world and once again we found the people here friendly and courteous to visitors.

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 292 - JAMA MOSQUE, DELHI

“From the beginning men used God to justify the unjustifiable.” ― Salman Rushdie

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The Masjid-i Jahān-Numā (the 'World-reflecting Mosque'), commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi, is one of the largest mosques in India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656 at a cost of one million rupees, and was inaugurated by an imam from Bukhara, present-day Uzbekistan.
The mosque was completed in 1656 AD with three great gates, four towers and two 40 m high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble. The courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 persons. There are three domes on the terrace which are surrounded by the two minarets. On the floor, a total of 899 black borders are marked for worshippers. The architectural plan of Badshahi Masjid, built by Shah Jahan's son Aurangzeb at Lahore, Pakistan, is similar to the Jama Masjid.
It is unfortunate that the mosque has been the site of two attacks, one in 2006 and another in 2010. During the first, two explosions occurred in the mosque, injuring thirteen people. In the second, two Taiwanese students were injured as two gunmen opened fire upon them.
Places of worship and culture should be places of peace and good will, irrespective of creed or religious denomination. It is an indictment of our “civilised” society that such hateful crimes are not only still common, but on the increase, as nationalistic frenzy and religious extremism proliferate.

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Tuesday, 8 June 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 291 - PARLIAMENT BUILDING, MELBOURNE

“Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness” - Frank Gehry

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Parliament House in Melbourne, Australia, located at Spring Street in East Melbourne at the edge of the Melbourne city centre, has been the seat of the Parliament of Victoria, Australia, since 1855 (except for the years 1901 to 1927, when it was occupied by the Parliament of Australia).
In 1851, even before the colony of Victoria acquired full parliamentary self-government, Governor Charles La Trobe instructed the colonial surveyor, Robert Hoddle, to select a site for the colony’s new parliament to meet. Hoddle selected a site on the eastern hill at the top of Bourke Street, which at that time, when few buildings were more than two storeys high, commanded a view of the whole city.
A competition was held for a design for the building, and John Knight’s design won the first prize of £500, but was not used. The government architect, Charles Pasley, subsequently came up with a design of his own. Subsequent observers have suggested that he borrowed heavily from Leeds Town Hall, which even today is widely considered to be among the finest civic buildings in the world. The design was later modified by an architect in his office, Peter Kerr. Construction of the project was managed by John Knight who was also on Casley’s staff.
The story of Parliament House is one of staged construction and architectural ambition thwarted. Work on this began in 1856 and progressed until 1929. A 20 storey dome that would sit on top of the Vestibule was to be the crowning glory. There had been problems with the quality of the stone used on the building. Although tests in 1882 eventually approved the stone, they delayed work. Now confronted by altered economic conditions, the Minister for Works, Alfred Deakin, cancelled the contract for the Dome which has never been built...
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Tuesday, 1 June 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 290 - MT BROMO, INDONESIA

“The paradox of volcanoes was that they were symbols of destruction but also life. Once the lava slows and cools, it solidifies and then breaks down over time to become soil – rich, fertile soil.” ― Matt Haig

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Mount Bromo (Indonesian and Javanese: Gunung Bromo) is an active somma volcano and part of the Tengger mountains, in East Java, Indonesia. At 2,329 meters (7,641 feet) it is not the highest peak of the massif, but the most famous. The area is one of the most visited tourist destinations in East Java, and the volcano is included in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.

The name Bromo comes from the Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. Mount Bromo is located in the middle of a plain called “Sea of Sand” (Javanese: Segara Wedi or Indonesian: Lautan Pasir), a nature reserve that has been protected since 1919. A typical way to visit Mount Bromo is from the nearby mountain village of Cemoro Lawang. From there it is possible to walk to the volcano in about 45 minutes, but it is also possible to take an organized jeep tour, including stops at the viewpoint of Mount Penanjakan (2,770 m or 9,088 ft) (Indonesian: Gunung Penanjakan).

The sights on Mount Penanjakan can also be reached on foot in about two hours. Depending on the level of volcanic activity, the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Disaster Mitigation sometimes issues a warning not to visit Mount Bromo.

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Tuesday, 25 May 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 289 - LISBON, PORTUGAL

“Oh salty sea, how much of your salt is tears from Portugal?” – Fernando Pessoa

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Lisbon (Portuguese: Lisboa) is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with a population of 552,700 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km². Its urban area extends beyond the city's administrative limits with a population of around 2.7 million people, being the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union. About 2.8 million people live in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (which represents approximately 27% of the country's population). It is continental Europe's westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast.

Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus. The westernmost area of its metro area is the westernmost point of Continental Europe. Lisbon is recognised as a global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education and tourism. It is one of the major economic centres on the continent, with a growing financial sector and one of the largest container ports on Europe's Atlantic coast.

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by the Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural centre of Portugal.

Unlike most capital cities, Lisbon's status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted or confirmed officially – by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal.

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