- Panama Diving - Coral Lodge - San Blas Islands, on the Mexican Gulf. The photos encapsules the dream many of us have of a truly Carribean vacation, sun, sea, and beautiful coral sand.
- Peru wonders. Machu Picchu, El Boqueron del Padre Abad / Cordillera Azul, Montane Rainforest and out-of-the-way places. Images of breathtaking nature, close ups of wild orchides, and remains from the ancient Inca culture.
- Oslo - Norway. Pictures from my city during springtime.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Very few experiences blend together as when you catch the facades of Maison Kammerzell and the mighty cathedral of Strasbourg within the frame of the same photo. I have during my weekend in the Alsatian capital returned to sit outside every day to enjoy a glass of wine in magnificent surroundings. The image catch what Strasbourg is all about, history and ancient traditions.
Maison Kammerzell is close to 600 years old. It was built already in 1427 and is today one of, or probably the best preserved building from the Middle Ages in the city.
This weekends visit to Strasbourg was my third. As I visited the city my first time in 1979 Maison Kammerzell was one of the sights I remember the best, and it is, besides the cathedral itself, my favourite piece of architecture in Strasbourg.
The house is not unique architecturally. There are many half timbered house scattered over the city centre. What is unique, besides its age, is the ornaments, carvings, and paintings.
Today the building house a restaurant serving traditional Alsatian dishes and if you would like to wake up to a spectacular view you may even rent a room here.
Personally I think I know a tourist trap when I see one. We had a suspicion that the restaurant might serve overpriced mediocre food. I would certainly hope that this was not the case.
We decided to try our culinary luck somewhere else, but we ended here every evening during my stay drinking a "demi" of good red wine with the ancient house in our back and the ornate facade of the cathedral in front of us. I strongly recommend those visiting Strasbourg to do the same. If you try the kitchen, let me know.
See the Maison Kammerzell official website
Thursday, July 10, 2008
The oldest origins of Lyon is supposed to go back to 47 BC, when the Romans built a settlement on the Fourvière hill. This is not completely true. It has been settlements in what is Lyon today back to Neolithic times and when the Romans arrived there were an older Gallic town located on the slope of the Croix Rousse Hill on the rivers Saônes east bank.
On the Fourvière hill you find one of the two main sites in Lyon dating back to the Roman era. The other is the Amphitheater of the Three Gauls (Amphithéâtre des Trois Gaules). This arena has a sinister history connected to it. The name of the arena points to ancient Lyon's role as capital of the Three Gauls (the Roman Regions Lugdunensis, Belgica, and Aquitania).
The Amphithéâtre des Trois Gaules was the centerpiece of Condate when built in 19 BC. Condate was a Gallic town that went back centuries before the Romans arrived. It is hard to get an impression of the size of the arena. In fact at the time of construction it had room for 20,000 spectators.
Various accounts have members of Gallic tribes meeting here in the earliest example of a parliamentary system. Based on that information, France's 2,000th anniversary was celebrated in Lyon in 1989.
It was at this amphitheater that the first Christian martyrs in Lyon were thrown to the lions in 177 AD. The most famous martyr to suffer here was St. Blandine. According to tradition, Blandine was thrown into the amphitheatre with the lions, but they refused to eat her. The lions were replaced by a bull, which also refused to harm her. Finally, Roman soldiers took matters into their own hands and killed her with their swords.
There are three plaques commemorating the arena. Here is the French text. I am afraid that I have failed to write a good translation, but it tells the story of the arena, the martyrdom of 177 and a visit by the Pope John Paul 2nd.
L’AMPHITHEATRE DES TROIS GAULES EST EDIFIE EN L’AN 10 PAR CAIUS JULIUS RUFUS PRETRE DE ROME ET D’AUGUSTE CETTE ARENE FUT ILLUSTREE EN JUIN ET AOUT 177 PAR LES MARTYRES DES CHRETIENS DON’T ESCLAVE BLANDINE QUI PERIT APRES AVOIR SOUTENU LE COURAGE DE SES FRERES.
ACUIELLI PAR LES RESPONSABLES DES EGLISES ET LE PEUPLE CHRETIEN DE LYON EN CE LIEU OU PERIRENT EN 177 LES MARTYRES DE VIENNE ET DE LYON JEAN PAUL II LE 4 OCTOBRE 1986 LA FETE DE ST FRANCOIS D’ASSISE APRES UBE INTENSE PIERE CECUMENT QUE LA LANCE AU MONDE UN APPEL A LA TREVE DES ARMES ET LA CONSTRUCTION DE LA PAIX
A PROXIMITE DE CE LIEU IL YA 2000 ANS LE 1ER AOUT DE L’AN 12 AVANT J.C. NERO CLAUDIUS DRUSES BEAU-FILS DE L’EMPEREUR INAUGURA L’AUTEL FEDERAL DEDIE ROME ET A AUGUSTE PAR 60 NATIONS DES TROIS GAULES DON’T LES DELEGUES CONSTITUERENT LE PREMIER PARLEMENT NATIONAL.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Already then we wrote:
- “If you are a vegetarian, more than half of the menu at Risotteria is for you. The restaurant also specializes in gluten free food. All of the pizzas and panini are available as gluten free.”
Now Risotteria has launched a new line of gluten free products that you may get delivered to your own door. The range of products include Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Carrot Cake and Brownie mixes, Cake flour, Bread crumbs, croutons – all gluten free for you to enjoy in your cooking.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Holmens Kirke is located on the side of Holmens Kanal in central Copenhagen, close to the Stock Exchange and Christiansborg Castle. It has escaped the major fires that has ravaged Copenhagen through the centuries and here you may experience one of the most original 17th century church interiors in the city.
Building on this site goes back to 1562-1563 when Christian IVs father and predecessor Fredrik II constructed a anchor forge here. As this modest building was visible from the Royal Palace the forge was hidden behind a fake Italian gable facing the royal residence.
Christian IV started construction of new quarters for the navy at Bremerholmen, and as the population increased quickly, a church for the sailors was badly needed. The king decided to convert the old forge into a church. The tower was built separated from the small church.
As the population increased further the church soon became too small. It was extended in 1641 into a cross shaped structure supervised by Leonard Blasius. It is said that the church was modeled after Glücksborg castle, the ancestral home of the royal family in Schleswig Holstein.
A large mausoleum was added to the church in 1705, in a hope that burials of influential people would give the church extra financial contribution. Here you find graves of many famous Danes, including the famous Danish officer, Baron Niels Juel and the Danish-Norwegian admiral and war hero Petter Wessel Tordenskjold.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Christian IV became king in 1588, only 11 years old and ruled Denmark and Norway for 60 years. He was an energetic king, enjoying the good life with women, good food and drink. Besides the earthly pleasures he left important architectural monuments to posterity. As he built his Country Residence outside Copenhagen, he worked on other buildings in the city centre as well.
As builders were completing Rosenborg castle after Hans van Steenwinckels design, he was working to make Copenhagen into an important commercial centre. He ordered the design from Lorentz van Steenwinckel, the brother of Hans.
They were sons of the Belgian born Hans van Steenwinckel that had arrived in Denmark in 1578 and had been in charge of important building works in the Danish capital. He built the towers on Helligaandskirken, Nicolajkirken, and Blåtårn on Copenhagen Castle.
Lorentz van Steenwinckel died before the building started, and it was his brother that was in charge of the construction of the Exchange. It is a magnificent building. One very interesting detail is its central tower, with a pointed spire formed by four dragons twisting their tails into a spiral.
Here you see a commemorative plaque that has the following text
”Christian IV, den almægtige konge af Danmark og Norge, de Venders og Gothers, Fædrelandets udmærkede fader, den lykkelige forvalter af statens ejendom har følgende store kongers berømmelige eksempel og i alvorlig iver for at forøge sine lande med rige handelssteder – grundlagt den danske børs, som her du ser – ikke til Merkurs og Lavernas hemmelige kunster, men først og fremmest til Guds ære, dernæst til indbringende brug for køber og sælger.”
And here is an unauthorized translation:
“Christian IV, King Almighty of Denmark and Norway, (and) the Wends and Goths, the excellent father of the Fatherland, the happy steward of state property has the following powerful kings example and in serious eagerness to increase his countries with wealthy points of trade - founded the Danish exchange, as seen here – not to the secret arts of Mercurius or Laverna, but first and foremost to honour God, thereafter for profitable use for buyer and vendor.”
Today Copenhagen may be proud to have the oldest exchange in Europe as it started its business already in 1629. If you want to admire this magnificent sigh, it is located by Christiansborg Castle, home of Folketinget, the Danish Parliament in the centre of the Danish capital and its spire is visible from all over the city.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
January 28th Enjoy Food & Travel summed up the best hotel experiences in 2007. The number 1 accommodation was awarded to Melville House, located in Melville, a quiet quaint suburb of Johannesburg in South Africa. This guesthouse is run by the famous journalist Heidi Holland, which took very good care of us during our stay.
Read more on Heidi Holland and her book on the Penguin South Africa website
See her read from her book "Dinner with Mugabe".
Read more on the Melville House experience here
See the five best hotels 2007 here
Restaurants in Melville and Johannesburg:
- Gramadoelas: BBBBB (4, 91 points) Address: Bree Street, Newtown, Johannesburg
- Mezza Luna: BBBBB- (4, 75 points) Address: 9a, 7th street, Melville, Johannesburg
- Soi: BBBBB- (4, 65 points) Address: Corner of 7th Street& 3rd Avenue, Melville, Johannesburg
- Nambitha: (Unrated) Address: 6877 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West, Soweto
- The Orange Acorn: (Unrated) Address: 7th Avenue, Melville Johannesburg