Tuesday, 25 January 2022

TRAVEL TUESDAY 324 - THE OLGAS

“Those who lose dreaming are lost.” – Australian Aboriginal Proverb

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Kata Tjuta, sometimes written Tjuṯa (Kata Joota), and also known as Mount Olga (or colloquially as The Olgas), are a group of large domed rock formations or bornhardts located about 365 km southwest of Alice Springs, in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia. Uluru (Ayers' Rock), 25 km to the east, and Kata Tjuta / Mount Olga form the two major landmarks within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The 36 domes that make up Kata Tjuta / Mount Olga cover an area of 21.68 km2, are composed of conglomerate, a sedimentary rock consisting of cobbles and boulders of varying rock types including granite and basalt, cemented by a matrix of sandstone. The highest point, Mount Olga, is 1,066 m above sea level, or approximately 546 m  above the surrounding plain (198 m higher than Uluru).

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Tuesday, 18 January 2022

TRAVEL TUESDAY 323 - HEIDELBERG

“Wer rastet, der rostet. Literal translation: “He who rests grows rusty.” - German Proverb

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Heidelberg is a city situated on the River Neckar in south-west Germany. The fifth-largest town in the State of Baden-Württemberg after Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Mannheim and Freiburg im Breisgau, Heidelberg is part of the densely populated Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region. In 2011, over 149,000 people lived in the city. A former residence of the Electorate of the Palatinate, Heidelberg is the location of Heidelberg University, well known far beyond Germany's borders.

Heidelberg is a popular tourist destination due to its romantic and picturesque cityscape, including Heidelberg Castle and the baroque style Old Town. The "old town" (German: Altstadt), on the south bank of the Neckar, is long and narrow. It is dominated by the ruins of Heidelberg Castle, 80 metres above the Neckar on the steep wooded slopes of the Königstuhl (King's chair or throne) hill. The Main Street (Hauptstrasse), a mile-long pedestrian street, running the length of the old town. 

The old stone bridge was erected 1786–1788. A medieval bridge gate is on the side of the old town, and was originally part of the town wall. Baroque tower helmets were added as part of the erection of the stone bridge in 1788. The Church of the Holy Spirit (Heiliggeistkirche), a late Gothic church in the marketplace of the old town. The Karls‘ gate (Karlstor) is a triumphal arch in honour of the Prince Elector Karl Theodor, located at Heidelberg's east side. It was built 1775–1781 and designed by Nicolas de Pigage.

The house Zum Ritter Sankt Georg (Knight St. George) is one of the few buildings to survive the War of Succession. Standing across from the Church of the Holy Spirit, it was built in the style of the late Renaissance. It is named after the sculpture at the top. The Marstall (Stables), a 16th-century building on the Neckar that has served several purposes through its history. It is now a cafeteria for the university. The castle is a mix of styles from Gothic to Renaissance. Prince Elector Ruprecht III (1398–1410) erected the first building in the inner courtyard as a royal residence. The building was divided into a ground floor made of stone and framework upper levels.

Another royal building is located opposite the Ruprecht Building: the Fountain Hall. Prince Elector Philipp (1476–1508) is said to have arranged the transfer of the hall's columns from a decayed palace of Charlemagne from Ingelheim to Heidelberg. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Prince Electors added two palace buildings and turned the fortress into a castle. The two dominant buildings at the eastern and northern side of the courtyard were erected during the rule of Ottheinrich (1556–1559) and Friedrich IV (1583–1610). Under Friedrich V (1613–1619), the main building of the west side was erected, the so-called "English Building".

The castle and its garden were destroyed several times during the Thirty Years' War and the Palatine War of Succession. As Prince Elector Karl Theodor tried to restore the castle, lightning struck in 1764, and ended all attempts at rebuilding. Later on, the castle was misused as a quarry; stones from the castle were taken to build new houses in Heidelberg. This was stopped in 1800 by Count Charles de Graimberg, who then began the process of preserving the castle.

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Tuesday, 11 January 2022

TRAVEL TUESDAY #322 - BURY ST EDMUNDS, ENGLAND

“In England, we have such good manners that if someone says something impolite, the police will get involved.” -  Russell Brand

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Bury St Edmunds,  commonly referred to as Bury, is a historic market town and civil parish in the in St Edmundsbury district, in the county of Suffolk, England. Bury St Edmunds Abbey is near the town centre. Bury is the seat of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich of the Church of England, with the episcopal see at St Edmundsbury Cathedral. The town, originally called Beodericsworth, was built on a grid pattern by Abbot Baldwin around 1080. It is known for brewing and malting (Greene King brewery) and for a British Sugar processing factory, where Silver Spoon sugar is produced. The town is the cultural and retail centre for West Suffolk and tourism is a major part of the economy.

St James' parish church became St Edmundsbury Cathedral when the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich was formed in 1914. The cathedral was extended with an eastern end in the 1960s. A new Gothic revival cathedral tower was built as part of a Millennium project running from 2000 to 2005. The opening for the tower took place in July 2005, and included a brass band concert and fireworks. Parts of the cathedral remain uncompleted, including the cloisters and some areas remain inaccessible to the public due to building work. The tower makes St Edmundsbury the only recently completed Anglican cathedral in the UK and was constructed using original fabrication techniques by six masons who placed the machine pre-cut stone individually as they arrived.

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Tuesday, 4 January 2022

TRAVEL TUESDAY #321 - VOLGA

“Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” - Winston Churchill

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The Volga (Russian: Во́лга) is the longest river in Europe. It is also Europe's largest river in terms of discharge and watershed, with a length of 3,692 km. The river flows through central Russia and into the Caspian Sea, and is widely regarded as the national river of Russia.

Eleven of the twenty largest cities of Russia, including the capital, Moscow, are located in the Volga's watershed. Some of the largest reservoirs in the world can be found along the Volga. The river has a symbolic meaning in Russian culture and is often referred to as Волга-матушка Volga-Matushka (Mother Volga) in Russian literature and folklore.

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Tuesday, 28 December 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY #320 - OTHONOI GREECE

“The light of Greece opened my eyes, penetrated my pores, expanded my whole being.” – Henry Miller

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Othonoi (Greek: Οθωνοί, Italian: Fanò) is an island and a former community of the Ionian Islands, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality of Corfu, of which it is a municipal unit. It is the westernmost point of Greece, located northwest of Corfu. Population 392 (2011). It is the biggest of the Diapontia Islands. In the 19th century the island used to be the capital of the Diapontia Islands municipality, which also included nearby islands of Ereikoussa, Mathraki islets and rocks of Diakopo, Diaplo, Karavi, Kastrino, Leipso, Ostrako, Plaka, Plateia and Tracheia. Othoni is about 47 nautical miles from Santa Maria di Leuca cape, Italy. 

According to a legend, in the ancient times it was the island of nymph Calypso who lived in a large cave. Odysseus fell in love and remained like a prisoner there for seven years. Homer called thιs island Ogygia. In the Odyssey one that there was a strong scent of cypress on this island. Othonoi is a place with many groves of these trees and on a hot day one may smell their resin. Odysseus left Ogygia by raft, which sank at Scheria on the island of Corfu. This is an extra element that justifies the legend of Othonoi being Ogygia, because of the short distance that separates the two islands.

Most beaches on the island are accessible by boat, including Ammos, Molos, Kamini, Kanoula, Kontoskes, Rogi, Fyki, Xilosermi, and Aspri Ammos (photo). It is a well-known island for underwater photography because of the peculiar geomorphology of the seabed and the many caves. Othoni was frequently visited by the French naturalist Jacques Cousteau and his exploratory vessel ‘Calypso’.

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Tuesday, 21 December 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY #319 - SEASON'S GREETINGS

“For it is in giving that we receive.” - Francis of Assisi

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This Christmas, travel for most people around the world is not on the agenda. COVID and its Omicron variant have ruined not only many holiday and vacation plans, but also many family gatherings. Many people this Christmas will spend Christmas alone or, if they are lucky, with their partners or their immediate family.
More so then, this year it is a time for giving. The greatest gift I have ever received came from a person who had nothing material to give me, however they gave of themselves freely and what they gave was worth more than anything of monetary value. I thanked them for this gift, and the reply was: “I thank you for being a so receptive, so welcoming, and I thank you for taking what I give with pleasure.”
These days when we try to think of others and do something for them, remember that you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to buy gifts for everyone. Give something of yourself. Give your time, a kind word, do something unexpected and surprise people. A phone call, a card, a letter, a thoughtful hamper left on someone’s door. Donate your time to people who need it most. An elderly neighbour, a sick person in hospital or confined at home, a relative who hasn’t heard from you on the phone for ages. 

Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, Peace and Love!

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Tuesday, 14 December 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY #318 - TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA

“All we need, really, is a change from a near frigid to a tropical attitude of mind.” - Marjory Stoneman Douglas

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Townsville is a city on the north-eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. It is in the dry tropics region of Queensland, adjacent to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef. Townsville is Australia's largest urban centre north of the Sunshine Coast, with a 2015 population estimate of 180,333. Considered the unofficial capital of North Queensland by locals, Townsville hosts a significant number of governmental, community and major business administrative offices for the northern half of the state.

Popular attractions include "The Strand", a long tropical beach and garden strip; Riverway, a riverfront parkland attraction located on the banks of Ross River; Reef HQ, a large tropical aquarium holding many of the Great Barrier Reef's native flora and fauna; the Museum of Tropical Queensland, built around a display of relics from the sunken British warship HMS Pandora; Castle Hill, the most prominent landmark of the area and a popular fitness destination; The Townsville Sports Reserve; and Magnetic Island, a large neighbouring island, the vast majority of which is national park.

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Tuesday, 7 December 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY #317 - DUBLIN, IRELAND

“When I die Dublin will be written in my heart.” - James Joyce

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Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath) is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Dublin is in the province of Leinster on Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey. The city has an urban area population of 1,345,402. The population of the Greater Dublin Area, as of 2016, was 1,904,806 people.

Founded as a Viking settlement, the Kingdom of Dublin became Ireland's principal city following the Norman invasion. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century and was briefly the second largest city in the British Empire before the Acts of Union in 1800. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State, later renamed Ireland.

Dublin is administered by a City Council. The city is listed by the Globalisation and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) as a global city, with a ranking of “Alpha-“, which places it amongst the top thirty cities in the world. It is a historical and contemporary centre for education, the arts, administration, economy and industry.

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Tuesday, 30 November 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY #316 - SANTA CRUZ

“Happiness is actually found in simple things, such as taking my nephew around the island by bicycle or seeing the stars at night. We go to coffee shops or see airplanes land at the airport.” - Andrea Hirata

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Santa Cruz de Tenerife (commonly abbreviated as Santa Cruz) is a major city, capital of the island of Tenerife, Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and capital (jointly with Las Palmas) of the Canary Islands. Santa Cruz has a population of 206,593 (2013) within its administrative limits. The urban zone of Santa Cruz extends beyond the city limits with a population of 507,306 and 538,000 within urban area. It is the second largest city in the Canary Islands and the main city on the island of Tenerife, with nearly half of the island's population living in or around it.

Santa Cruz is located in the northeast quadrant of Tenerife, 210 kilometres off the northwestern coast of Africa within the Atlantic Ocean. The distance to the nearest point of mainland Spain is 1,300 kilometres. Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927, Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands, until 1927 when a decree ordered that the capital of the Canary Islands be shared, as it remains at present. The port is of great importance and is the communications hub between Europe, Africa and Americas, with cruise ships arriving from many nations. 

The city is the focus for domestic and inter-island communications in the Canary Islands. The main landmarks of the city include the Auditorio de Tenerife (Auditorium of Tenerife), the Santa Cruz Towers (Torres de Santa Cruz) and the Iglesia de la Concepción. Santa Cruz de Tenerife hosts the first headquarters of the Center UNESCO in the Canary Islands. In recent years the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has seen the construction of a significant number of modern structures and the city's skyline is the sixth in height across the country, behind Madrid, Benidorm, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao. In 2012, the British newspaper 'The Guardian' included Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the list of the five best places in the world to live. The 82% of the municipal territory of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is considered a natural area, this is due in large part to the presence of the Anaga Rural Park.

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Tuesday, 23 November 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY #315 - HAMPTON COURT

“He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the borough of Richmond upon Thames, London, England, 11.7 miles (18.8 kilometres) south west and upstream of central London on the River Thames. Building of the palace began in 1515 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII. In 1529, as Wolsey fell from favour, the King seized the palace for himself and later enlarged it. Along with St James's Palace, it is one of only two surviving palaces out of the many owned by King Henry VIII.

In the following century, King William III's massive rebuilding and expansion project, which destroyed much of the Tudor palace, was intended to rival Versailles. Work ceased in 1694, leaving the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles, domestic Tudor and Baroque. While the palace's styles are an accident of fate, a unity exists due to the use of pink bricks and a symmetrical, if vague, balancing of successive low wings. King George II was the last monarch to reside in the palace.

Today, the palace is open to the public and is a major tourist attraction, easily reached by train from Waterloo station in central London and served by Hampton Court railway station in East Molesey, in Transport for London's Zone 6. In addition, London Buses routes 111, 216, 411 and R68 stop outside the palace gates. The structure and grounds are cared for by an independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces, which receives no funding from the Government or the Crown.

In addition the palace continues to display a large number of works of art from the Royal Collection. Apart from the Palace itself and its gardens, other points of interest for visitors include the celebrated maze, the historic real tennis court (see below), and the huge grape vine, the largest in the world as of 2005. The palace's Home Park is the site of the annual Hampton Court Palace Festival and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

It’s said that when Catherine Howard (c. 1523 – 13 February 1542 and Queen of England from 1540 until 1541, as the fifth wife of Henry VIII) was arrested at Hampton Court Palace, she broke free from the guards and ran to the doors of the Chapel Royal, where she believed Henry was at prayer. She screamed to the King for mercy, to no avail. Today the story goes that her famous ghost can still be seen running along what is now known as the 'Haunted Gallery' at the palace. Some visitors have reported feeling a chill, or 'strange sensations' when passing along the corridor!

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Tuesday, 16 November 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY #314 - ASSISI, ITALY

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." -  Francis of Assisi

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Assisi is a town and comune of Italy in the Province of Perugia in the Umbria region, on the western flank of Monte Subasio. It is generally regarded as the birthplace of the Latin poet Propertius, born around 50–45 BC. It is the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208, and St. Clare (Chiara d'Offreducci), the founder of the Poor Sisters, which later became the Order of Poor Clares after her death. The 19th-century Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was also born in Assisi.

The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi (St. Francis). The Franciscan monastery, il Sacro Convento, and the lower and upper church (Italian: Basilica inferiore and Basilica superiore) of St Francis were begun immediately after his canonisation in 1228, and completed in 1253. The lower church has frescoes by the late-medieval artists Cimabue and Giotto; the upper church houses frescoes of scenes in the life of St. Francis previously ascribed to Giotto, but now thought to be by artists of the circle of Pietro Cavallini from Rome. The Basilica was badly damaged by a 5.5 earthquake on 26 September 1997, during which part of the vault collapsed, killing four people inside the church and carrying with it a fresco by Cimabue. The edifice was closed for two years for restoration.

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Tuesday, 9 November 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 313 - PISA, ITALY

“Travelling is the ruin of all happiness! There's no looking at a building after seeing Italy.” - Frances Burney

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The Square of Miracles (Italian: Piazza dei Miracoli), formally known as Cathedral Square (Italian: Piazza del Duomo), is a wide walled area located in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy, recognised as an important centre of of European medieval art and one of the finest architectural complexes in the world. Considered a sacred area by its owner, the Catholic Church, the square is dominated by four great religious edifices: The Pisa Cathedral, the Pisa Baptistry, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Camposanto Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery). Partly paved and partly grassed, the Piazza dei Miracoli is also the site of the Ospedale Nuovo di Santo Spirito (New Hospital of the Holy Spirit), which houses the Sinopias Museum (Italian: Museo delle Sinopie), and the Cathedral Museum (Italian: Museo dell'Opera del Duomo).

The name Piazza dei Miracoli was created by the Italian writer and poet Gabriele d'Annunzio who, in his novel "Forse che sì forse che no" (1910), described the square as the "Prato dei Miracoli" or the "meadow of miracles". The square is sometimes called the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles). In 1987 the whole square was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italian: Torre pendente di Pisa) or simply the Tower of Pisa (Torre di Pisa) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its unintended tilt to one side. It is situated behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa's Cathedral Square, after the Cathedral and the Baptistry.

The tower's tilt began during construction, caused by an inadequate foundation on ground too soft on one side to properly support the structure’s weight. The tilt increased in the decades before the structure was completed, and gradually increased until the structure was stabilised (and the tilt partially corrected) by efforts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The height of the tower is 55.86 metres from the ground on the low side and 56.67 metres on the high side. The width of the walls at the base is 2.44 m. Its weight is estimated at 14,500 metric tons. The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. Prior to restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but the tower now leans at about 3.99 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is displaced horizontally 3.9 metres from where it would be if the structure were perfectly vertical.

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Tuesday, 2 November 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 312 - HALKIDIKI, GREECE

“Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.” - Socrates

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Chalcidice or Chalkidiki or Halkidiki (Greek: Χαλκιδική), is a peninsula and regional unit of Greece, part of the Region of Central Macedonia in Northern Greece. The autonomous Mount Athos region constitutes the easternmost part of the peninsula, but not of the regional unit. The capital of Halkidiki
is the main town of Polygyros, located in the centre of the peninsula. Halkidiki today is a popular summer tourist destination. Aristotle was born here in 384 B.C.

Halkidiki has been a popular summer tourist destination since the late 1950s when people from Thessaloniki started spending their summer holidays in the coastal villages. At the beginning tourists rented rooms in the houses of locals. By the 1960s, tourists from Austria and Germany started to visit Halkidiki more frequently. Since the start of the big tourist boom in the 1970s, the whole region has been heavily developed for tourism, coupling modern hotel and entertainment. facilities with great natural beauty, clean sea and beaches and numerous historical and cultural attractions.

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Tuesday, 26 October 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 311 - HEIDELBERG, GERMANY

“There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university, a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see.” - John Masefield

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Heidelberg is a university town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the river Neckar in south-west Germany. In the 2016 census, its population was 159,914, of which roughly a quarter consisted of students. Located about 78 km south of Frankfurt, Heidelberg is the fifth-largest city in Baden-Württemberg. Heidelberg is part of the densely populated Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region.
Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is Germany's oldest and one of Europe's most reputable universities. Heidelberg is a scientific hub in Germany and home to several internationally renowned research facilities adjacent to its university, including the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and four Max Planck Institutes. The city has also been a hub for the arts, especially literature, throughout the centuries, and it was designated a “City of Literature” by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Heidelberg was a seat of government of the former Electorate of the Palatinate and is a popular tourist destination due to its romantic cityscape, including Heidelberg Castle, the Philosophers' Walk, and the Baroque old town.

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Tuesday, 19 October 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 310 - COLMAR, FRANCE

“Germany has solemnly recognised and guaranteed France her frontiers as determined after the Saar plebiscite ... We thereby finally renounced all claims to Alsace-Lorraine, a land for which we have fought two great wars.: - Adolf Hitler

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Colmar (German between 1871–1918 and 1940–1945: Kolmar) is the third-largest commune of the Alsace region in north-eastern France. It is the seat of the prefecture of the Haut-Rhin department and the arrondissement of Colmar-Ribeauvillé. The town is situated on the Alsatian Wine Route and considers itself to be the “capital of Alsatian wine” (capitale des vins d’Alsace).

The city is renowned for its well -preserved old town, its numerous architectural landmarks and its museums, among which is the Unterlinden Museum with the Isenheim Altarpiece. Colmar’s secular and religious architectural landmarks reflect eight centuries of Germanic and French architecture and the adaptation of their respective stylistic language to the local customs and building materials (pink and yellow Vosges sandstone, timber framing).

Colmar is an affluent city whose primary economic strength lies in the flourishing tourist industry. Every year since 1947, Colmar is host to what is now considered as the biggest annual commercial event as well as the largest festival in Alsace, the Foire aux vins d’Alsace (Alsatian wine fair). Since 1980, Colmar is home to an international summer festival of classical music Festival de Colmar (also known as Festival international de musique classique de Colmar). In its first version (1980 to 1989), it was placed under the artistic direction of the German conductor Karl Münchinger. Since 1989, it is helmed by the Russian violinist and conductor Vladimir Spivakov.

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Tuesday, 12 October 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 309 - COROMANDEL NZ

“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” - Jules Renard

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The Coromandel Peninsula on the North Island of New Zealand extends 85 kilometres north from the western end of the Bay of Plenty, forming a natural barrier to protect the Hauraki Gulf and the Firth of Thames in the west from the Pacific Ocean to the east. At its broadest point, it is 40 kilometres wide.
Almost the entire population lies on the narrow strips along the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty coasts. In fine weather the peninsula is clearly visible from Auckland, the country's biggest city, which lies on the far shore of the Hauraki Gulf, 55 kilometres to the west. The peninsula is part of the local government areas of Thames-Coromandel District and the Waikato Region.
The pristine coastline along the Coromandel Peninsula was used to great effect in the 2008 film “The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian”, and made this location widely known internationally. Notwithstanding this, the area has always attracted many tourists because of its natural beauty.

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Tuesday, 5 October 2021

TRAVEL TUESDAY 308 - ATOMIUM BRUSSELS

“Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.” - R. Buckminster Fuller

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The Atomium is a landmark building in Brussels, originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair (Expo 58). It is located on the Heysel Plateau, where the exhibition took place. It is now a museum. Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m tall.
Its nine 18 m diameter stainless steel-clad spheres are connected, so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes of 3 m diameter connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre. They enclose stairs, escalators and a lift (in the central, vertical tube) to allow access to the five habitable spheres, which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere includes a restaurant which has a panoramic view of Brussels.
In 2013, CNN named it Europe's most bizarre building. In the 1950s, faith in scientific progress was great, and a structure depicting atoms was chosen to embody this. The Atomium depicts nine iron atoms in the shape of the body-centred cubic unit cell of an iron crystal, magnified 165 billion times.
Though the Atomium depicts an iron unit cell, the balls were originally clad with aluminium. Following the 2004–2007 renovations, however, the aluminium was replaced with stainless steel, which is primarily iron. Likewise, while the subject of Atomium was chosen to depict the enthusiasm of the Atomic Age, iron is not and cannot be used as fuel in nuclear reactions.

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